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Keep a one-day diary for Mass Observation on 12 May

On 12 May the Mass Observation Archive - part of the University of Sussex's Special Collections at The Keep - will be repeating its annual call for day diaries, capturing the everyday lives of people across the UK.

In 1937 Mass Observation called for people from all parts of the UK to record everything they did from when they woke up in the morning to when they went to sleep at night on 12 May. This was the day of George VI’s Coronation. The resulting diaries provide a wonderful glimpse into the everyday lives of people across Britain, and have become an invaluable resource for those researching countless aspects of the era.

Now you can add your diary from 12 May to the 1937 documents:

  • Write as much as you can about what you do, what you talk about, what you eat and drink, what you buy or sell, what you are working on, the places you visit, the people you meet, the things you read, see and hear around you, how you are feeling and, of course, what you yourself think
  • Include a brief self portrait: your age, where you live, your relationship status, your present job or occupation if you are working, and any other information that you think is important to record.
  • If 12 May was a typical day for you, please say so. If not, please say why it wasn’t. Any reflections on the day and on how you felt while keeping the diary are welcome.

For full details on how to take part, see the Mass Observation Archive web pages.

12 May 2018 is likely to be quite an ordinary day, but for those researching, the ‘ordinary’ can often provide extraordinary results. The written diaries will be used alongside the 1937 documents.

They will be stored in the Archive at The Keep and will 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.

You can also take part on Twitter. Tweet your day using the hashtag #12May18

The Mass Observation Archive is also working in partnership with Action for M.E. during M.E. Awareness Month to record people’s experience of living with the chronic neurological condition myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.) on 12 May. The Mass Observation Archive is also accepting diaries via text message; the number is 07537404300.

The Archive preserves the papers of the original Mass Observation movement and current Mass Observation Project and makes them publicly available, as part of the University of Sussex's Special Collections at The Keep.

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Posted on behalf of: Special Collecations
Last updated: Thursday, 3 May 2018

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