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International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Send us your diary for the 3rd December 2017.


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Sunday 3rd December 2017



Would you like to keep a one day diary for Mass Observation on International Day of Persons with Disabilties?

As part of International Day of Persons with Disabilities the Mass Observation Archive is inviting people to get involved and keep a day diary on the 3rd December 2017.

The Mass Observation Archive has been recording everyday life in Britain since 1937 and we have collected material relating to a variety of topics and people’s experiences. We continue to do this today through our panel of writers and our May 12th Diary Day when members of the public can contribute their day diary to the archive.

This year we have decided to run an additional diary day on the 3rd December as part of our Beyond Boxes project. Funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, this two-year access and engagement project is working in partnership to address barriers, whether they be attitudinal, educational, social or physical, that people may experience when trying to access archive collections.

We would like to encourage people to record their day on 3rd December and send it into the Mass Observation Archive, which is housed at The Keep in Falmer, where it will be kept and used by researchers, students and members of the public. All diary entries are anonymised so the diarist’s identity will not be made public, nor will any of their personal details.

Please record as much as you can about what you do, who you meet, what you talk about, the places you visit, and of course what you are feeling and thinking that day.

How to take part;

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

Diaries can be submitted in hard copy and posted to the MOA at The Keep, or in electronic form as email attachments (as word documents preferably) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you would like to record your diary in an alternative format please do contact us for further details. There are templates and guidelines below, which you are welcome to use.

Please refrain from including your real name, contact details, or the personal details of the people mentioned in your diary. Please remember that these diaries will be read and used for research and teaching, so don’t include anything that may identify you or others.

You should include a brief self portrait: your age, where you live, your relationship status, your present job or occupation if you are working and any other information that you think is important to record.

If the 3rd December was a typical day for you please say so. If not, please say why it wasn’t. Any reflections on the day and on how you felt while keeping the diary are welcome.

So that we can add your diary to the rest of the Archive for the future, please include the statement below at the end of your diary. If you don’t attach this statement, we won’t be able to keep your diary or make it part of the Archive.

“I donate my 3rd December diary to the Mass Observation Archive. I consent to it being made publicly available as part of the Archive and assign my copyright in the diary to the Mass Observation Archive Trustees so that it can be reproduced in full or in part on websites, in publications and in broadcasts as approved by the Mass Observation Trustees. I agree to the Mass Observation Archive assuming the role of Data Controller and the Archive will be responsible for the collection and processing of personal data and ensuring that such data complies with the DPA.”

If you wish to send us your diary by post please send it to The Mass Observation Archive, The Keep, Wollards Way, Falmer BN1 9BP. Diaries can be sent as email attachments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Schools and Community Groups

We also welcome diaries from school children, community groups, or other organisations. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss how your group can take part and download our 3rd December Diary template and guidelines below. If you are submitting diaries on behalf of a school, community group or other organisation please complete and submit the agreement form within the Guidelines for schools and groups along with your diaries. 

Templates for Diary Day can be downloaded here, or you are welcome to use your own format. Please remember to include the statement above about donating your diary to MOA.

Diary Day Template & Guidelines   

Diary Day Template Word Version

Guidelines for Schools and Groups Word Version

Tea with Nella Last - 21st November 2017


Tea with Nella Last

Join us at The Keep for a special hands-on event exploring the diaries of Nella Last. Nella was a housewife, aged 49, from Barrow-in-Furness, who responded to the Mass Observation team’s call for members of the public to keep detailed diaries during the Second World War. This opportunity gave Nella, and many women like her, the chance to provide a social commentary of her life. She described how the wartime conditions affected her role in society and her relationships with her husband and sons, and her diaries were later made into a film, Housewife 49, written by and starring Victoria Wood.

£7.50 per person including tea and biscuits. Advance booking and payment essential as numbers are limited. Please call 01273 482349 to reserve your place.

For further information about visiting The Keep:


Nella Last

12th May 2018: keep a one-day diary for Mass Observation


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 2018 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:

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