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Phone: +44 (0)1273 337515

Email: moa@sussex.ac.uk

Current Directive (Autumn 2021)

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.

Part 1: Kindness

This Directive is being issued to coincide with World Kindness Day (13th November). You can find out more about Kindfest, a virtual festival of kindness at www.teamkind.org.uk. In recognition of this event, we are asking you to share your thoughts and experiences of kindness.

Before you start…

We would like you to write down the first 10 words that come to mind when you think of the word kindness.

Can you describe what kindness looks and feels like? How important is kindness in your life?

It’s a big topic, so below are some questions designed to help you organise your thoughts. We welcome any additional comments or stories that come to mind.

Receiving and giving kindness

What is the kindest thing anyone ever did for you? Who was kind to you? What did they do? What impact did it have on your life? How did it make you feel, then and now?

What’s a kind thing you’ve done that you feel especially proud about? Who were you being kind to? How did the person react? And how did you feel?

Have you ever thought about doing something kind, but then decided not to? What stopped you? What do you think might make the difference in terms of enabling you to be kind?

Places of kindness

Can you take us on a tour of the places you’ve been where you’ve felt the most kindness in your life? You might be thinking of somewhere in your own home or someone else’s home, places in your local community, places that you’ve visited etc. – anywhere that you associate with kindness. What made/makes it a kind place?

People and kindness

Do you think some people are just more kind than other people? Who is the kindest person you know? Why would you describe them as kind? And what do you think made them so kind? Are there many people like that? What do you think gets in the way of people being kind?

Please start each part of your Directive reply on a new sheet of paper with your MO number, gender identity, age, marital status, the town or village where you live and your occupation or former occupation.

Remember not to identify yourself or other people inadvertently within your reply. It is best to use initials instead of real names.

Kindness today

We would like to know what you think about today’s society in general, compared to what you remember from earlier in your lifetime. Does kindness today look different to how kindness looked in the past? And do you think overall levels of kindness have changed over time? If you think there have been changes, why do you think that happened?

Future kindness

And last of all, if we wanted society to be kinder in the future, what’s the single most important thing you’d want to happen?

Part 2: UK Trade Deals

There has been much news coverage of the UK signing new trade deals. Trade includes food and live animals, fuel, crude materials, beverages, and tobacco. These deals provide incomes and access to products we can’t produce efficiently in the UK and for lower prices. The UK’s most recent deals have been with Japan, the EU and Australia

Around 6½ million jobs are linked to exporting. However, imports threaten some industries and jobs and can require us to accept products produced by different methods and to different standards than we use in the UK.

Values and standards

We are interested to hear your thoughts about what values and standards should be considered in trade deals. Here are some questions for you to conside

  • How do you feel about the ethical, financial and/or environmental impacts of a trade deal
  • Do you have any thoughts on how new trade deals could improve standards for the environment, food, and animal welfare?
  • How far do you think trade deals should be just about improving the economy and how far should they consider other issues such as health? Is there anything – for example, sectors or goods – that you think should be excluded from a trade deal?

You and your locality

  • Is it important to you, how and where goods are produced and manufactured? Do you research where and how the goods you buy are produced? Does this influence on what and where you shop?
  • Do you have any concerns about the food production standards of goods produced outside the UK?
  • Please start each part of your Directive reply on a new sheet of paper with your MO number, gender identity, age, marital status, the town or village where you live and your occupation or former occupation.
  • Remember not to identify yourself or other people inadvertently within your reply. It is best to use initials instead of real names.
  • What do you think the UK’s new trade deals could do for the community where you live? How could the deals improve life for you and your family? Have you been personally affected by any trade deals? If so, please share your experiences.

Part 3: UK Events

One of our aims is to capture contemporary events in the UK. We will be asking you about COP26 as one of the next Directive themes, so please hold your thoughts and opinions on this for now.
In the third part of the Directive, we have made a list of events you might wish to write about:

  • COVID-19: boosters, restrictions, returning to work and “normality”
  • Rising energy bills and energy companies going “bust”
  • The centenary of the red poppy. A show of support for the Armed Forces community since 1921
  • The murder of Conservative MP Sir David Amess
  • The conduct of MP Owen Paterson and Government U-turn
  • The lawsuit involving HRH Prince Andrew, The Duke of York.

Please take some time to comment on any of these subjects, or on any other items from the news, which you feel we should be covering at this time.
We want to hear your opinions, along with details about conversations you have had, or stories and experiences and reactions to reports in the press.

 JS/KP Summer 2021 Directive/No. 123