The Mass Observation Archive is now a registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation
- Published: Tuesday, 06 November 2018 15:39
Continuity and Change in Voluntary Action: Patterns, trends and Understandings
Rose Lindsey and John Mohan with Elizabeth Mecalfe and Sarah Bulloch
There are great expectations of voluntary action in contemporary Britain but there is limited in-depth insight into the level, distribution and understanding of what constitutes voluntary activity. Drawing on extensive survey data and written accounts of citizen engagement, this book charts change and continuity in voluntary activity since 1981.
How voluntary action has been defined and measured is considered alongside individuals’ accounts of their participation and engagement in volunteering over their life-courses. Addressing fundamental questions such as whether the public are cynical about or receptive to calls for greater voluntary action, the book considers whether respective government expectations of volunteering can really be fulfilled. Is Britain really a “shared society”, or a “big society”, and what is the scope for expansion of voluntary effort?
This pioneering study combines rich, qualitative material from the Mass Observation Archive between 1981 and 2012, and data from many longitudinal and cross-sectional social surveys.
Have you used Mass Observation data for research? Or collected qualitative data as part of a research project?
SAGE Publishing are looking to commission a series of data-sets by researchers that will illustrate how different methods could be applied to narrative data.
If you are interested in finding out further information see the SAGE website.
Permission would be required from our Literary Agents on behalf of the Mass Observation Trustees if you choose to use Mass Observation material as fees may apply.
The Mass Observation Archive is 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 the 12th May. More details about taking part in the 12th May project can be found here. We are also accepting diaries via text message. The number is 07537404300
New publication! - Our History of the 20th Century: As Told in Diaries, Journals and Letters.
Compiled by Travis Elborough
What better way to understand Britain during the twentieth century than through the eyes of those who experienced it at first hand? Travis Elborough's compilation offers brilliantly candid and intimate insights not only into the headline-grabbing events but also the domestic and personal moments of those who lived through it.
The book draws on over one hundred diarists. They include the great and the good - from Beatrice Webb to Tony Benn, from A. C. Benson to Alan Bennett, from Virginia Ironside to Hanif Kureishi - as well as many less-well-known individuals such as Gladys Langford and Kathleen Tipper, whose writings for the Mass Observation Project offer brilliant glimpses into what the man or woman on the street really made of the stuff of history at the time.
From the Easter Rising to the arrival of email, from the Boer War to New Labour, here are responses to the death of Princess Diana, the resignation of Margaret Thatcher, the Moon landing, the Beatles and much more.
Travis Elborough has co-edited two previous anthologies of diaries, A London Year and A Traveller's Year. A freelance writer, author and cultural commentator for nearly two decades, his other books include The Long-Player Goodbye, a hymn to vinyl records; Wish You Were Here, a survey of the British beside the seaside and most recently A Walk in the Park: The Life and Times of a People's Institution.
New podcasts from the Mass Observation 80th Anniversary Conference are now available in the podcasts section of the website: http://www.massobs.org.uk/podcasts The conference was held on 10th-11 July 2017 at the University of Sussex.
The featured podcasts are our three keynotes - Matt Cook, Joe Moran and Lucy Noakes - and also Dorothy Sheridan and Lucy Noakes in conversation.
The Mass Observation 80th Anniversary Conference was held on 10th-11th July at the University of Sussex. Here is how it was recorded on Twitter
As well as our normal 12th May project, we asked the Twitter community to get involved using the hashtag #12May17. Below are some of the results.
Celebrating 80 years of the Mass Observation movement
10th-11th July 2017
The Mass Observation 80th Anniversary Conference was held on 10th-11th July 2017 at the University of Sussex. Our keynotes and closing panel comprised:
The conference programme can be found here
Professor Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex opened the conference.
Dorothy Sheridan (Trustee, Mass Observation Archive) and Lucy Noakes (University of Brighton) in conversation
The conference was sponsored by
A Londoner in Lancashire 1941-1943: The Diary of Annie Beatrice Holness (edited by Patricia and Robert Malcolmson, published by the Record Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, 2016)
Annie Beatrice Holness, a middle-aged London civil servant, was evacuated with her office to the seaside town of Morecambe in 1940. A year later she began writing for Mass Observation. Her observant and thoughtful diary recorded everyday life in all its diversity – her billet, her country walks, her dreary job, her usually gratifying leisure activities (night classes, music and theatre, her allotment garden), the congestion and sights and sounds of wartime Morecambe, such as WAAFs training and throngs of holiday visitors on the promenade. Annie also disclosed her feelings about the setbacks and advances of the war and her attitudes to such issues as social reform, farming practices, religious belief, and the rights of women, especially in the workplace – though reticent on many matters, she was decidedly a feminist. Her perspectives often shifted, as war forced her and others to change. Feeling – as she often lamented – an ‘exile’ in Morecambe, she returned to London in 1945, but two years later chose to come back to Morecambe and settle there permanently. This edition focuses on the years when her diary was at its richest, between 1941 and 1943.
Patricia Malcolmson and Robert Malcolmson are historians who have written books and articles on English social history since the eighteenth century. In recent years they have edited for publication numerous twentieth-century diaries, most of them held in the Mass Observation Archive at the University of Sussex. These include Nella Last’s Peace (2008), Nella Last in the 1950s (2010), The Diaries of Nella Last: Writing in War and Peace (2012), Kathleen Hey, The View from the Corner Shop: The Diary of a Yorkshire Shop Assistant in Wartime (2016), and several scholarly editions for various record societies (London, Bedfordshire, Dorset, and Surrey). Their latest authored books are Women at the Ready: The Remarkable Story of the Women’s Voluntary Services on the Home Front (2013) and Wartime Cumbria 1939-1945: A Social History (forthcoming), and Patricia’s Me and My Hair: A Social History (2012).
With increasingly accessible camera technology, crowd-sourced public media projects are abound like never before. Mass Photography: Collective Histories of Everyday Life assesses the potential of these popular ‘moment-in-time’ projects by examining their current day prevalence and their historical predecessors. The central focus is the 55,000 photographs submitted to One Day for Life (held by the MOA) in 1987, which aimed, in its own time, to be ‘the biggest photographic event the world had ever seen’. Through case studies like this, Mass Photography examines the particular cultural role that amateur photography offers.