Mass observation

Thibaut Devulder

Our friend Colin Haynes, who worked with us on the Sneinton Trail project, has just introduced me to the Mass Observation movement.

Initiated in 1937 by anthropologist Tom Harrisson, poet Charles Madge and film-maker Humphrey Jennings, this project aimed to record the daly life of Britain through diaries or open-ended questionnaires filled in by hundreds of untrained volunteers. Recording everything, from everyday conversations to wall graffiti and jokes heard in public occasions, they created strangely detailed and offbeat snapshots of British society.