|Writing for the Mass-Observation Project|
|Joining The Mass-Observation Project|
a person first contacts the archive expressing an interest in the project,
the archive will respond by sending a standard introductory letter
and a booklet entitled "How To Take Part". The information in the booklet
is designed to answer the kind of questions most commonly asked by potential
correspondents. The introductory letter explains that in order to join
the project, the archive needs to receive what is called a 'self portrait'.
This is usually a piece of descriptive writing which seeks to sketch a
profile of the individual. The correspondent is also asked to donate
a recent photograph of themselves (optional).
When the archive receives the 'self portrait', the correspondent is placed on the project's mailing list and are sent a biographical information form to fill in and a copyright consent form. The consent form prompts the correspondent to think about attaching special conditions of access to their contributions if desired.
|At this stage the correspondent is also allocated a personal number to write under (in place of their name). In fact, the archive constantly reminds its correspondents not to give details of any names, places or scenarios in their replies that could easily give away their identity or the identity of others mentioned in the course of their writing. The archive works hard to ensure that the anonymity of the correspondent is preserved at all times.|
"The aim [of the project] is to create a documentary record of everyday life in Britain as it is experienced and reported, not by the media or by professional commentators, but by ordinary people in their own words and images"
"It has always been a central aim of the Project to encourage people to write in a way that they enjoy and which they feel suits them best"