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.
Summer 2019 Directive
Part 1: Personal Identity
For this Directive we are interested in how you identify yourself
We would like you to start by sharing five words on your identity. Please do not feel that these words need to be similar to the type of words you see on identity monitoring forms. We are interested in how you see yourself.
There are nine Protected Characteristic’s in the 2010 Equality Act. These are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation
We are interested to hear about identity across your lifetime. What labels have been imposed on you, and what have you embraced? Have you felt the need to hide parts of your identity and if so, for what reason?
What has your identity meant for your family, friends, employment and community? Have you experienced feelings of belonging, isolation or discrimination related to your identity?
Sharing of Information
How do you feel about sharing such information about your identity generally? Have you ever declined in sharing such information to an organisation or service provider?
Have you ever experienced a positive or negative outcome from sharing this information with an orgaisation?
This is a hypothetical scenario, but typical of the types of enquiries we receive at the Archive:
Kirsty and Jessica receive an enquiry from an academic researcher who wishes to use material from the Mass Observation Project. Their research is not for a commercial purpose instead, it will contribute to the understanding of a topic.
In order to compare Directive responses to other research findings, such as data from the Office of National Statistics, the researcher need to know about how the MOP writers define their ethnicity and sexuality. Kirsty and Jessica are unable to help, because the Mass Observation Project does not collect this type of data.
How would you feel about sharing information relating to your identity? In particular, information relating to the nine Protected Characteristic’s in the 2010 Equality Act: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation
If you had been asked this information when you joined the Project, would it have put you off being a Mass Observer?
Part 2: Sex education
This Directive is concerned with your experiences and opinions of formal sex education. For this Directive, formal sex education refers to what you or a family member may have been taught in school or an education setting about sex. This could include your own experiences of a specific curriculum or ‘special’ lesson by a teacher, school nurse, married couple or any other ‘expert’.
While we are primarily interested in recording experiences of formal sex education, do elaborate if you have more experiences of informal sex education.
What are the first five words that come to mind when you think of sex education?
Your early experiences
Can you remember your own sex education in school? Perhaps you recall a particular teacher, school nurse or visiting speaker? Perhaps you learnt more about sex from your fellow pupils or friends? Can you recall what and how they taught you about sex and sexuality? How was this experience?
What part, if any, did formal sex education play in your own sexual development?
Do you remember any particular health campaigns?
Have you ever had the responsibility of providing sex education, perhaps as a parent, family member, teacher or youth worker? Please tell us what this experience was like. Why did you feel it was your responsibility to teach or facilitate sex education or were you asked to?
In your opinion who has the responsibility to educate children about sex and sexuality in society today? In formal sex education what role should the government play?
Media and protest
In March 2019, the press reported on a parent protest at Parkfield Primary School in Birmingham. This involved children being removed from school for the day and missing lessons designed to educate students about LGBT+ identities. Please share any thoughts on this protest.
Do you remember any other incidents of sex education being reported in the press? Or any scandals relating to sex education in schools?
Should parents have the right to remove their child from sex education? Please explain your views.
Current sex education
At what age should sex education be taught in schools? Should sex education be co-educational or divide boys and girls? Please say if you think that sex education should not be provided in schools.
In your opinion, what is the most important aspect when it comes to educating children about sex?
What should the content of sex and sexuality education include? For example, family planning, reproduction and birth? What are your thoughts on covering sexual pleasure, values and Sexually Transmitted Diseases?
Are facts about the body (such as sexual health, reproduction and contraception) more, less or equally as important to sex education as emotions and relationships?
Do you think sex education has changed over time, and if so, in what way?
Part 3: Milk
Soya, almond, oat... Whether for health issues, animal welfare or the future of the planet, alternatives to dairy milk seem to be increasingly popular. Here at The Keep, where the Mass Observation Archive is based, we have noticed a reduction in the amount of cow’s milk the staff get through on breaks in the tearoom. Is this a trend? Are we approaching the end of dairy milk?
Please share your thoughts and reflect on the following questions:
• What, if any, milk do you regularly buy? Please say what you use it for (hot drinks, breakfast, cooking)
• Has the amount of cow’s milk you use changed over the years? Was there a time when you used, more or less milk?
• Are there any political, social, or health incentives, which affect the type of milk you buy or where you buy it? (e.g. concerns over single-use plastics, supporting farming communities, following a vegan diet.)
• Do you have milk delivered to your doorstep? Is this outdated? Please share any memories of having milk delivered to your doorstep.
JS/KP Summer Directive/No. 115