Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Mass Observation Project

As I want my project to be about studying & recording people, my lecturer told me about The Mass Observation Project:

"The Mass Observation Project (MOP) is a unique UK-based writing project which has been running since 1981. It exists to:

  • Provide a structured programme within which “ordinary” people can write directly about their lives in the knowledge that what they send in will be archived for posterity and used for social research
  • Create a resource of qualitative longitudinal social data with an emphasis on subjectivity and self representation which will contribute to our understanding of everyday life in the late 20th and early 21st century.

The MOP differs from other similar social investigations because of its historical link to the original Mass Observation and because of its focus is on voluntary, self-motivated participation. It revives the early Mass Observation notion that everyone can participate in creating their own history or social science. The Mass Observers do not constitute a statistically representative sample of the population but can be seen as reporters or “citizen journalists” who provide a window on their worlds.

The material is solicited in response to “Directives” or open-ended questions sent to them by post or email three times a year. The Directives contain two or three broad themes which cover both very personal issues and wider political and social issues and events. Over 4,000 people have taken part to date, many of them corresponding over several years.

The collection comprises in-depth accounts (both opinion and experience) of everyday life: stories, memoirs, lists, letters, diagrams, drawings, maps, diaries, photographs, press cuttings, confessions, reports on people, places and events, across a wide variety of topics."

This seems to be the perfect outlet for my product - a tool for the studying of society. I just need to alter my rationale to fit in with this type of activity...

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