The Project

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Our Mission

To document changes in the lives and language of Michiganders, while fostering an inclusive community and a sense of connection in a time where neither are easy to experience. We aim to provide a place for diarists to confidentially share their true selves, while also contributing their stories to a larger historical archive of life during and after the pandemic.

Our Values


To provide participants with a space to share their stories where they can be open and authentic and be heard for who they are.  


To incorporate a code of professionalism in our work that assures diarists, scholars and the public of the high ethical and scholarly standards that we adhere to. 


To encourage students to further their professional development skills through research, project management and engagement with the community state-wide. 

Research Longevity

To recognize the historical value of this project by continuing to develop as a research opportunity for Michiganders by Michiganders.

Our Vision

We are committed to providing people who live in Michigan with an active platform to express valuable insights into life during and after the pandemic. These insights are made more valuable by ensuring a diverse community of diarists. The audio diaries we collect will also contribute to new knowledge about how language changes. We believe that MI Diaries will foster a continuous opportunity for researchers of multiple disciplines to develop professional skills and continue an ongoing archive of Michigan speech.

About the Project

We are looking for Michiganders aged 3+ who are interested in submitting periodic oral history recordings. The MI Diaries project originally aimed to document life in Michigan during the Covid-19 lockdown and immediately afterwards, as we moved back into normal life. However, the response from Michiganders was so positive that we have continued to collect audio diaries ever since. We are interested in all aspects of how life is changing or stays the same for Michiganders, from their daily routines to their language. 

We appreciate everyone who is interested in sharing their stories. Participants who contribute at least 15 minutes of audio diary within a week are eligible to receive a $5 thank-you (as an Amazon gift card that will be emailed to you). 

To hear stories from previous weeks, you can check out our public archive. To get to know the researchers working on this project, check out our team. To sign up to be a diarist, join the project here. You can also read a full copy of our consent form. 

The MI Diaries project is run by the Sociolinguistics Lab at Michigan State University. It is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Michigan State University. It has been featured in local and national news outlets, including the New York Times and Bloomberg News.

How Can I Help?

We are so glad you are interested in helping the project! We are only collecting stories from people currently living in Michigan. Whether you were born and raised here or you recently moved here, we would love to have you join the project! 

If you don’t live in Michigan, you can still help us out by sharing this project with your friends and family who do live in Michigan. Word of mouth recommendations are the best way to help us recruit more diarists. You can follow and share our accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter/X. 

If you are a student who is interested in joining the project as a team member, we invite you to come to our remote meetings. You do not have to be an MSU student to join. We also have space for youth interns – if you are a high schooler or middle schooler interested in becoming a youth intern for the project, you and a parent or guardian should contact MI Diaries together. 

You can also help the project out financially, by donating to the MI Diaries fund at Michigan State! Your donation helps fund our incredible team of undergraduate and graduate student researchers, and most importantly helps us send participants thank-you gift cards. 

Name Change

We changed our name! We used to be called MI COVID Diaries because the project began during the spring 2020 Covid-19 lockdowns. But we realized that our name doesn’t reflect the broad range of Michiganders’ daily experiences that we hear about each week. Now we’re just MI Diaries. We think MI Diaries is more in keeping with our mission to document life during and after the pandemic. So you’ll see MI Diaries in all of our communications and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.