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National Mass Observation Day needs your diaries

May 08, 2018

Action for M.E. is working with a national project that collects the diaries of UK citizens to capture the experiences, thoughts and opinions of everyday people in the 21st century to record the lives of people with M.E. – and we need your 12 May diary!

The Mass Observation project has been holding a Mass Observation Archive diary day for more than 80 years, where anyone in the UK can submit a single day’s diary. That day is 12 May – which is, of course, also M.E. Awareness Day – and so this year the Mass Observation archive is working with Action for M.E. to pay special attention to people affected by the condition.

The result will be a special M.E. collection within the Archive, available for research, teaching and learning by and for academics, students, schools, writers, producers, artists, community groups and the general public.

You can take part by writing a single day’s diary for Saturday 12 May, and submitting this to the Mass Observation Archive, via Action for M.E. All are welcome to take part, whatever your age, and including carers, friends and family.

How to take part

If you are unable to write very much, you can share a mini-diary (even just a few words are very welcome) on Saturday 12 May by text, on 07537 404300, or on Twitter, using the hashtag #12May18

If you can write a paragraph or more, write about what you do, say, eat, drink, buy, sell, work on, visit, read, feel and think on Saturday 12 May. Please say if it’s a typical day for you or not. Any reflections on the act of writing your diary are welcome. You can write your diary on paper, or online. Please send your diary by email (as a word document attachment) to by post to Mass Observation Diary Day, Action for M.E., 42 Temple Street, Keynsham BS31 1EH.

What you need to include

For submissions by post or email, please include your age, location, relationship status, occupation, and any other essential (but not personally identifying) information that you think it’s important to record. Please DO NOT include your full name, contact details, or the personal details of anyone you mention. Please remember that these diaries will be read and used for research and teaching, so don’t include anything that may identify you or others.

So that your diary can be added to the Archive, please include the following statement with your submission (if you don’t include this statement, the Mass Observation Archive won’t be able to keep your diary or make it part of the Archive): 

“I donate my 12th May diary to the Mass Observation Archive. I consent to it being made publicly available as part of the Archive and assign my copyright in the diary to the Mass Observation Archive Trustees so that it can be reproduced in full or in part on websites, in publications and in broadcasts as approved by the Mass Observation Trustees. I agree to the Mass Observation Archive assuming the role of Data Controller and the Archive will be responsible for the collection and processing of personal data and ensuring that such data complies with the Data Protection Act.”

There is no deadline for taking part, but it would be enormously helpful to receive your diaries by the end of June 2018. Action for M.E. will store them securely and ensure all are delivered safely and confidentially to the Mass Observation Archive at the University of Sussex.