On this page you will find the most recent Directive to be mailed to the Mass Observers. You can download past copies of Mass Observation Project Directives here.
Autumn 2018 Directive
Part 1: Protests
For this Directive, we are interested in your thoughts, opinions and experiences of protests.
To start we would like you to please write down the first five words that come to mind when you think of the word ‘Protest’.
Protest and Memory
What is the first protest you have a memory of? This might be one you attended or followed through the news. How did you hear about this? What do you remember about it? We would be interested in knowing how you felt about the protest and how it was reported. What emotions do you remember feeling about the event?
Have you ever attended a protest (or protests)? If yes, what was this experience like? Could you please describe in detail what happened at the event. Do you remember how you heard about the event? How did you get to the protest? Who did you go with? What was the atmosphere like?
How old where you? Did you interact with people older or younger than yourself during this protest? We would like to hear about these interactions? Who were they? Did you know them before the protest and/or keep in touch after the protest?
If you have never attended a protest we would still be very interested to hear if there was ever a time when you would have liked to attend a particular protest? If so, what prevented you from going? For what reasons have you never protested? For example, the public sharing of your beliefs, the opportunity has never arisen or because you feel there maybe violence.
We are also interested in the coverage of protests. Did you check the news or any social media after any protests you attended or would have liked to attend? We would like to know your response to any reports. Was there anything interesting? Did you feel the reports were accurate?
Could you describe any images you have around the subject of protest. Is this related to a particular issue, event, place or time in history. It may be more than one protest.
Do you have any mementoes from protests? If so, please describe them or include a photograph/sketch. Why have you kept them? Have you ever showed them to anyone else?
Have you shared images or recordings of the demonstration with others since? Have your memories of this protest changed over time?
How do you think that police should engage with protesters who are being deliberately disruptive? Do you feel that conflict between police and protesters highlights or overshadows the cause of protests?
Do you see yourself attending any protests in the future? If so, for what cause? Are there any barriers that you feel might prevent you from participating?
Part 2: The future of consumption
This Directive is about how you imagine the consumption of goods and services in the future—for yourself, for younger generations and for society as a whole. By ‘consumption’ we don’t just mean shopping, though that’s an important part of it, but consumption as part of everyday life – whether the food we eat, the clothes we wear, or our leisure activities, as well as services such as utilities, media or childcare. We are interested in what you imagine may change, or stay the same, about what and how we consume, in the future.
Consumption and everyday life in the future
How do you imagine consumption in everyday life in 50 years’ time? If you think back in your own life, or to that of your parents and grandparents, what and how we consume has changed enormously. Looking forward, will there be similarly big changes? Over the last 50 years our expectations of normal consumption have changed considerably – will expectations change as much again?
Will everyday things like the food we eat, the clothes we wear, or our leisure activities be very different, or much the same? Will the ways in which we shop or are provided with goods and services be different? Will things we take to be necessities—and luxuries—be the same in the future? Will we travel more or less, than we do today?
What about in 100 years?
What are your expectations for your own consumption in the future? Will this change with retirement? What about pensions or debts? Will you have enough money for the necessities, or for luxuries? Will the things you consume—such as food, clothes, consumer goods, utilities, transport—be different from today? Please share any reflections.
If you have already retired, do you think future generations of retired people will have the same standard of living as you have today?
Do you imagine our society will see rising standards of living for future generations, such as those we saw since the end of the Second World War? Do you envisage that, when they are older, today’s younger generations will have the same levels of disposable income as the current generation?
Will the way they spend their money change? What about housing and travel?
Do you think there are, or will be, inequalities between the generations?
Do you think Brexit will affect the provision of goods and services? Are there specific areas, such as food, that you think will be affected, for better or worse? We welcome personal concerns or wider reflections about the impact on society in general.
Part 3: Diary day: Sunday 11th November 2018
This November commemorates the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War. Please keep a diary on Remembrance Sunday. Write about what you do, who you meet and talk to, where you go and what you see. Also, where possible, include observations of those wearing poppies, is this the majority of people or just a few or minority? As always, we are interested in your thoughts and opinions on this day.
We set a similar task in Autumn 2014. Do you remember how you spent Remembrance Sunday four years ago? It doesn’t matter if you responded to the 2014 Directive.
As we are now at the end of the Centenary, could you reflect on your experiences of war commemoration over the past four years? Has the Centenary changed your knowledge of, or feelings about, the First World War?'
JS/KP Summer Directive/No. 113