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Mass Observation Day aims to raise awareness of M.E. sufferers across the UK

The annual call for day diaries by the Mass Observation Archive will take on a special significance this year, as it seeks to raise awareness of a debilitating neurological condition documented by previous participants.

Every year the Mass Observation project calls for people from across the UK to record everything they do from waking up to going to sleep at night, repeating a process first completed on the day of George VI’s Coronation in 1937.

The resulting diaries provide a glimpse into the everyday lives of people across Britain, and have become an invaluable resource for those researching countless aspects of the era.

This year the Archive- part of the University of Sussex's Special Collections at The Keep - is working in partnership with Action for M.E. to record people’s experience of living with the chronic neurological condition myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.) on 12 May, as part of M.E. Awareness Month.

The Archive preserves the papers of the original Mass Observation movement and current Mass Observation Project and makes them publicly available.

They will be stored in the Archive at The Keep and be used by a wide range of people for research, teaching and learning. This includes academics and students, schools, writers, producers, artists, community and special interest groups and the general public.

Kirsty Pattrick, Mass Observation Project Officer, said:

“Reading through the diaries from 2017, we noticed how the subject of health was a thread running through many of the submissions; whether their own health or the health of loved ones, and how their day impacted their health.

As a number of diaries mentioned M.E specifically and the Mass Observation Day on 12 May falls within M.E. Awareness Month, it felt like the perfect opportunity to use our archive to raise awareness of such a debilitating condition.”

Clare Ogden, Head of Communications and Engagement at Action for M.E said of the partnership:

"M.E. is a complex condition, and affects everyone differently - but its impact is felt in every part of a person's life, affecting their ability to live, to work, to learn, to plan for the future. Every day we hear from children, families and adults affected by M.E. about the stigma and isolation of living with a condition that is still misunderstood - and even disbelieved - by many.

“We hope that taking part in this project offers sufferers the chance to show the world the reality of living with M.E., and increase understanding of this chronic neurological condition, and its impact."

As well as written diaries, the Mass Observation Archive is also accepting diaries via text message this year; the number to message is 07537404300.

Participants can also join in on Twitter using the hashtag #12May18

For further details on the Mass Observation Project and how to take part, please visit the Mass Observation Archive web page.

By: Patrick Reed
Last updated: Thursday, 10 May 2018