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The Mass Observation 80th Anniversary Conference

July 10, 2017 - July 11, 2017
University of Sussex

University of Sussex BN1 9SL
United Kingdom

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In 1937, a letter signed by Tom Harrisson (anthropologist), Humphrey Jennings (film maker) and Charles Madge (poet and journalist) was published in the pages of the New Statesman. It invited volunteers, from all walks of life, to participate in a new research project, which would be "anthropology at home . . . a science of ourselves". This letter announced the founding of Mass Observation which, over the last 80 years, has developed a unique interdisciplinary people-centred approach to social research.  

From its rapid rise to the status of national institution in the Popular-Front culture of the late 1930s, it has passed through a number of incarnations. These include (but are not limited to): observing the everyday in late 1930s Bolton on a shoestring budget; amassing a collection of diaries by over 500 home front civilians ; collecting ‘home intelligence’ for the Ministry of Information for a short period during the early 1940s; working as a commercial market-research company during the 1950s/1960s; becoming an archive at the University of Sussex in the 1970s (now at The Keep) and being relaunched in the 1980s as the Mass Observation Project, a longitudinal life writing project, which captures the experiences, thoughts and opinions of ‘everyday’ people in 21st century Britain.

This conference seeks to reflect all aspects of Mass Observation and beyond. Call for papers to follow

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July 3, 2017, 9:00am BST

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