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11th April 2017: Recording Leisure Lives: Men’s Women’s and Children’s Leisure in 20th Century Britain. Conference at The University of Bolton

Recording Leisure Lives 2017

The Centre for Worktown Studies and University Centre at Blackburn College invite you to the ninth annual Recording Leisure Lives conference on April 11th 2017.

Keynote speakers include Professor Melanie Tebbutt, (Manchester Metropolitan University), author of Making Youth: A History of Youth in Modern Britain and Dr. Fiona Skillen, (Glasgow Caledonian University), author of 'Women and Sport in Interwar Britain'.

The conference sub-themes include: Gender; Age; Youth and Youth Cultures, Clubs and Associations; Children's Leisure and Play; Education for Leisure; Families and Communities; Consumption and Identity. There is also an open stream on any aspect of leisure in 20th Century Britain.

Please submit paper proposals (20 minutes) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 27th January, 2017 Cost: £40 (Full) (inc. lunch and refreshments) £25 (Students and non-waged)

For more information, including how to book, visit The Centre for Worktown Studies website

12th May Diary Day


This year the Mass Observation Archive will be repeating its annual call for day diaries, capturing the everyday lives of people across the UK. The written diaries will be stored in the Archive at The Keep and be used by a wide range of people for research, teaching and learning. This includes academics and students, schools, writers, producers, artists, community and special interest groups and the general public.

In 1937 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.

May 12th 2017 is likely to be quite an ordinary day, but for those researching, the ‘ordinary’ can often provide extraordinary results.  The diaries will be held and used alongside the 1937 documents. We would be very grateful if you could document your May 12th for the future.

Please write as much as you can about what you do, who you meet, what you talk about, what you eat and drink, what you buy or sell, what you are working on, the places you visit, the people you meet, the things you read, see and hear around you, how you are feeling and of course what you yourself think.

Further information on taking part is available here:

Save the Date and Call for Papers: 10th & 11th July 2017: Mass Observation 80th Anniversary Conference

The Mass Observation 80th Anniversary ConferenceMass Observation 80th Anniversary Logo

Celebrating 80 years of the Mass Observation movement

10th-11th July 2017

Jubilee building, University of Sussex

Confirmed Speakers:

Matt Cook (Birkbeck)

James Hinton (Professor Emeritus Warwick University)

Joe Moran (Liverpool John Moores)

Lucy Noakes (University of Brighton)

Lucy Robinson (University of Sussex)

Dorothy Sheridan (University of Sussex and current Trustee of the Mass Observation Archive)


Standard delegate rate: £100
Student delegate rate: £60 

Call for Papers:

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. The conference organisers invite submissions from across the disciplines and proposals from those at all stages of their career, including postgraduates, doctoral students and early career researchers. 

We welcome proposals for individual 20 minute papers, as well as submissions of panels with chairs

Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Everyday life
  • Life writing
  • MO and the Second World War
  • Anthropology and Mass Observation
  • Representation of identity in MO
  • Surrealism
  • Documentary movement
  • The Mass Observation founders
  • Methodology
  • Community engagement
  • 20th and 21st century Britain
  • The Mass Observation Project 
  • Mass Observation in the digital world
  • Mass Observation and beyond


Proposals (300 words max) and brief biographies should be submitted to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Monday 16th January 2017.

Download the Call for Papers as a PDF