mass observation day is this saturday

IF you are in the UK you can join in. IF you are not, you might still be interested in knowing what might be a MASS OBSERVATION DAY.

well, it’s not neighbours snooping on one another in the style of east germany after the war, is what it’s not. what it is is a really interesting project, started in 1937, to record and archive everyday life from the p.o.v. of those that live it.

what i have to do, if i am well enough to join in! (i wasn’t last time round) is to make a document of my day and say if it is a typical day or not, and include a brief description of my life.

the current home of the archive has begun to document everyday life through a call for submissions;

“Seventy five years ago, in its founding year, 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 12th 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.

The Mass Observation Archive repeated this call in 2010 and 2011 by asking for electronic diaries written on 12th May. These diaries are stored in the Archive alongside the 1937 documents. May 12th 2012 is likely to be quite an ordinary day, as was 2011, but for those researching, the ‘ordinary’ can often provide extraordinary results.  Therefore, we would be very grateful if you could document your May 12th 2012 for the future.”

you can read more and join in here.

there was a film made called housewife 49 based on the submissions of an ordinary english woman which charts her everyday life during WW2. it’s as close to a truthful document as you’ll likely see.

‘housewife 49’ is played by victoria wood.

it’s not brilliant quality on youtube, but you can actually watch the whole thing in nine parts if you are prepared to deal with the fuzzy picture. sound quality’s not too bad, though.


7 thoughts on “mass observation day is this saturday

  1. They did this in Berlin several years ago, except it was a film documentary about regular people (and a handful of celebrities) over the course of 24 hours in the life of the city.

    They edited it all together and showed it in real time…so if you turned it on at 6 am, you saw what normal people had been doing on that day at 6 am. The mundane and the sublime all mixed together.

    It was delightful.

    Can’t wait to see what you and your Londoners come up with. I’m expecting both mundane and sublime in abundance.

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