Mass Observation has been collecting data on everyday life in Britain since 1937. Its vast archive contains diaries, subjective accounts of observations including overheards and ephemera, as well as a vast collection of responses to in depth surveys from over 6000 respondents from all over the UK. This talk will discuss the ethics and validity of using such everyday insights as a sociological and historical resource as well as examining the role of contemporary social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook to mass observe today’s world for tomorrow’s history.
Fiona Courage is Special Collections Manager and Curator of the Mass Observation Archive at the University of Sussex. She has worked with Mass Observation for over ten years, providing care and accessibility for anyone who wishes to use its Archive. She has presented and published papers and articles on Mass Observation and has been involved in the design and implementation of various educational, artistic and academic projects which utilise or are inspired by Mass Observation and its Archive of everyday life in Britain.