The Mass Observation project

S19(Britain By Mass-Observation)

S19(Britain By Mass-Observation) (Photo credit: danielweiresq)

Back in January I posted ‘My List of New things to Try 2012‘ and one of the things I included on my list was joining Massobs – The Mass Observation Project.

I wanted to join because it is a writing project, with specific topics to write about and I thought that due to my love of writing I would enjoy participating and have something different to write about. So I applied to become a participant, and was accepted.

The Mass Observation Project is a social research project that started back in 1937 to study the every day lives of ordinary people in Britain. Volunteers from around the country receive regular ‘directives‘ asking them to write about specific topics for the archives. The writings are then stored anonymously but made available to researchers wishing to study particular fields. Any personal information is not made available for 50 years, so your privacy is protected.

The Mass Observation Archive specialises in material about everyday life in Britain. It contains papers generated by the original Mass Observation social research organisation (1937 to early 1950s), and newer material collected continuously since 1981. The Archive is in the care of the University of Sussex and is housed in the Library in Special Collections. source: Massobs 

So, now we have our Spring Directive and I am setting to work on writing about these topics, I will publish my responses on my blog as well because we are allowed to use our own writing elsewhere too.

The Spring Directive contains 3 topics to write about.

1. The Big Society

2. Photos, Music and Memory

3. Dream Diary

Each directive comes with a series of questions to help you think about how you will answer the topic, but you can basically write whatever you like.

Given that I have been having trouble with motivation to write over the past few weeks I am hoping that using this to focus on and structure my writing will help get me back on track and prompt some interesting posts for my blog as well being my contribution to the project.

I think it is nice that my writing will be preserved and utilised by researchers to study life in Britain.

If you are interested in becoming a mass observer then check out the current recruitment criteria to see if you would fit the requirements. I’m sure you would find it interesting to take part!

Well, I know this post is shorter than most of what I write but I just wanted to tell you about the project before I get to work on my first piece of writing for it. So, I’m off to get on with that now and will share it with you soon!

Are you taking part in any projects this year?


15 comments on “The Mass Observation project

  1. What a brilliant idea. Thanks for this!
    About writers’ block – Had dinner with a social worker friend last night. I was talking about how impressed I am by people like BPD sufferers ‘overcoming pain, adversity, or working around it, etc’ – and she said in a very authoritarian tone, ‘they have no empathy’. I thought, I’ll bet Sharon Howard would have something to say about that…..

    • Haha, ohh yes indeed I would have a lot to say about that! First off I would point her to my post on that very subject – the way I see it Borderlines have too much empathy rather than too little. The only time we would appear not to have empathy is with regard to people we are devaluising during a splitting phase, as we can appear very cold and callous towards these people… but otherwise he fact that we ‘feel’ too much and have highly sensitive emotions makes us much more empathic than the ordinary person. Take your friend’s attitude towards people with BPD – that in itself is a demonstration of a lack of empathy, bet she would not see herself as lacking empathy though!?

    • Thanks August, The dream diary is a great idea – if only I could remember my dreams when I wake up! I think mine might be very brief at this rate! lol

  2. that’s interesting sharon, i wish i had time to participate but i have so few motivated hours i need to devote them all to my own writing projects. i look forward to reading your pieces for the mass obs. lynda x

  3. Great idea. Well done again Sharon for taking on challenges in life and keeping yourself busy and productive!

  4. Pingback: Dream Diary | Day in the life of a Busy Gal…

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