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20 SEPTEMBER 2013

The Mass Observation Archive: a UK social history writing project

"The Mass Observation Project (MOP) is a unique UK–based writing project which has been running since 1981. ... [it] differs from other similar social investigations because of its historical link to the original Mass Observation and because of its focus is on voluntary, self–motivated participation. It revives the early Mass Observation notion that everyone can participate in creating their own history or social science. The Mass Observers do not constitute a statistically representative sample of the population but can be seen as reporters or 'citizen journalists' who provide a window on their worlds.

The material is solicited in response to 'directives' or open–ended questions sent to them by post or email three times a year. The directives contain two or three broad themes which cover both very personal issues and wider political and social issues and events.

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1937198120th century21st century • Charles Madge • citizen journalismconfessioncultural heritagediagramdiary • directives • drawingseventseveryday lifehistorical archiveshistorical chronicles • Humphrey Jennings • letterslistlongitudinal studymapMass Observation Project (MOP)material culture • memoir • open-ended questionsopinion • ordinary people • personal experiencephotographsplacespolitical issuesposterity • press cutting • qualitative researchresearch resourcesself knowledge • self-identity • self-revelationsocial historysocial issuessocial researchstatistically representative samplestoriessubjectivitytheir storiesthematic patterns • Tom Harrisson • UK • University of Sussex • voluntary participationwriting project

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
03 DECEMBER 2012

Turner Prize 2012 winner: Elizabeth Price

"Elizabeth Price describes her films as moving 'from something that looks like a PowerPoint lecture, to something that looks like an infomercial to something that feels like a cinematic melodrama'. For the Turner Prize exhibition, Price is presenting her video installation THE WOOLWORTHS CHOIR OF 1979 2012. Comprising three parts, the video brings together distinct bodies of material into a dissonant assembly; photographs of church architecture, internet clips of pop performances and news footage of a notorious fire in a Woolworths furniture department in 1979. The film weaves together existing archives of text, image and sound to create video installations that drift between social history and fantasy."

(Tate, UK)

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19792012archive footagechurch architecture • cinematic melodram • dissonant assembly • Elizabeth Price • exhibition • existing archives • fantasyfilmfilmsfire • furniture department • infomercial • internet clips • news footagenotoriousphotographs • pop performances • PowerPoint lecturesocial historysound archive • text archive • The Woolworths Choir of 1979 • Turner Prizevideo artvideo artistvideo installation • Woolworths

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
16 JULY 2012

Archives New Zealand, Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga

"Archives New Zealand, Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga is the official guardian of New Zealand's public archives. We gather, store and protect an extremely wide range of material. Our holdings include the originals of the Treaty of Waitangi, government documents, maps, paintings, photographs and film."

(The Aotearoa New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs Te Tari Taiwhenua)

Fig.1 "Toehold on a Harbour (1966)", Colour, 10 minutes, 35mm, 972 ft., DV file of Beta SP of telecini of 35mm film. W3606/c/25.
Fig.2 "Introducing New Zealand (1955)", W3471/kk/619 DV file of Beta SP telecini of 35mm film.
Fig.3 "Four Cities (1951) (AAPG W3471/3398)", Silent colour travelogue film around the major cities of New Zealand, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. The major sites and scenes of the cities are shown. 2K scan of 16mm reversal print.

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2005Aotearoa New Zealandarchival materialarchive • Archives New Zealand • AucklandAustralasiaChristchurchconservation • contemporary recordkeeping • cultural artefactscultural collecting organisationscultural heritageDepartment of Internal AffairsDunedinfilmgovernment agencies • government documents • guardian • historical collectionhistorical significanceholdings • kept permanently • long-term value • mapsnational archivenational cultural heritage onlinenational heritagenewsreelpaintingsphotographs • Pictorial Parade • preservation • public archives • Public Records Act 2005 • records • repositorysocial history • Te Rua Mahara o te Kawanatanga • travelogueTreaty of Waitangitrolleybus • Weekly Review • Wellington

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
30 JUNE 2012

Tabitha Soren: in-between narratives capturing stories in flux

"Sometimes it's simply looking at a particular behavior in a new way that evokes a range of emotions. Photographer Tabitha Soren has created a series of photographs, Running, that stir up feelings of panic, tension, curiosity, and concern. Tabitha's photographs have power in their simplicity, and it's as if one edge of her photograph is the past and one is the future, creating an in–between narrative that captures a story in flux. As viewers, we are caught in a pivotal moment of cinematic tension, requiring us to imagine what came before and what comes after each image. The photographs become a series of short stories that seem to shout 'get me the hell out of here.'"

(Aline Smithson, 23 May 2012, Lenscratch)

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a story in flux • arresting imagesarresting time • cinematic photography • cinematic tensionconcerncuriosityemotionfeelings of panicget me the hell out of here • in flux • in media resin-betweenin-between narratives • influx • lookingnarrative photographynarrative scenespanicphotographerphotographspivotal momentrunningseries • series of photographs • series of short storiesslice of frozen timeslicedstasis • stir up feelings of panic • story • Tabitha Soren • tensionvisual spectaclewhat came beforewhat comes afterwoman photographerworld of the story

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
17 JUNE 2012

NeverSeconds blogger Martha Payne school dinner photo ban lifted

"A controversial ban preventing a nine–year–old girl from photographing her school meals has been lifted following a storm of protest on the internet. Martha Payne, from Argyll, has now recorded more than three million hits on her NeverSeconds blog. Argyll and Bute Council said press coverage of the blog had led catering staff to fear for their jobs. But council leader Roddy McCuish later told the BBC he had instructed senior officials to lift the ban immediately. The schoolgirl's father, David Payne, who helped her set up the blog, welcomed the decision. Martha began publishing photographs of her Lochgilphead Primary School lunches on 30 April. Martha Payne's father, David: ''It (the ban) was disappointing''. She gave each meal a 'food–o–meter' and health rating, and counted the number of mouthfuls it took her to eat it."

(BBC News, 15 June 2012)

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2012 • Argyll • Argyll and Bute Council • banblogblogger • cafeteria • censorshipcharitycity council • controversial ban • daily school lunches • David Payne • eat • food • food charity • food-o-meter • girl • headteacher • health • health rating • health-o-meter • Lochgilphead Primary School • lunch • lunches • Martha Payne • Marys Meals • meal • mouthfuls • NeverSeconds • nutrition • nutritious diet • photographing • photographspre-prepared meal • press coverage • primary schoolprotest • publishing photographs • rating • Roddy McCuish • school lunch • school meals • school pupil • schoolgirl • Scotlandwritingwriting projectyoung girl

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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