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Phone: +44 (0)1273 337515

Email: moa@sussex.ac.uk

Call for Papers

 

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)

 

Fees:

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

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