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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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TAGS

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
21 JULY 2012

The Parsons' Masters in Design Studies Programme

"Design studies (like design) is a multifarious enterprise. A branch of the humanities, it comprises a wide range of critical perspectives on the meanings and values embodied in objects and places. It examines the forces that design exerts in, and on, the world – forces design sets in motion but does not control. Parsons' Masters in Design Studies program places particular emphasis on four points: the role of the designer and the design studio in redefining the scope of practice in the 21st century; design as an iteration of aesthetic and intellectual histories that continue to inform the present; the social, political and environmental behaviors and consequences of designing objects, places, situations, and systems today; design as the projection of different futures.

Above all, the MA Design Studies program focuses on the development of articulate, critical voices that can speak to these issues. Students will be prepared to write for the academic context, the design community, and the larger public realm. Working in close proximity to MFA studio programs at Parsons, they also have the opportunity to integrate film, video, and other media into their work."

(Susan Yelavich)

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TAGS

21st centuryaestheticsart and design school • branch of humanities • critical perspectivescritical theory • critical voices • critiquecurriculumdesign community • design consequences • design coursedesign futuresdesign responsibilitydesign studiesdesign studiodesigning objectsdifferent futures • environmental behaviours • history of ideas • intellectual histories • MA • MA Design Studies • masters degree • Masters in Design Studies • multifarious enterprise • objects and places • Parsons The New School for Designplacespolitical behaviourrole of the designerscope of practicesocial behavioursocial changestudio programme • Susan Yelavich • visual culture

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
08 OCTOBER 2003

In-Transit: The Devil's Mode

"The character, Mr. Paxton in Anthony Burgess' novel The Devil's Mode has thrown away his passport after entering the nowhere of departure lounges and planes, filled his pockets with air tickets and is determined to spend the rest of his life in the nowhere and comfortable emptiness of planes and airports is, of course, a rather unusual personage –(Burgess, 1989).'God almighty,' I said. What he showed me was a large yellow plastic folder crammed with air tickets. He said, riffling through them: 'Going everywhere. Rio de Janeiro, Valparaiso, wherever that is, Mozambique, Sydney, Christchurch, Honolulu, Moscow. 'If there's one place where you'll need a visa, it's certainly Moscow,' I said. 'But, damn it, how do you propose to go anywhere without a passport?' There's going and going,' he said. 'When I get to one place then I start off right away for another. Well, in some cases not right away. There's a fair amount of waiting in some of the places. But they have what they call transit lounges. Get a wash and a brush–up. Perhaps a bath. Throw a dirty shirt away and buy a new one. Ditto for socks and underpants. No trouble, really. 'In effect,' I said, astonished, 'you'll be travelling without arriving. 'You could put it that way.' –(Burgess, 1989: 141).Burgess' character provides a clear demonstration of the cultural emptiness entailed in this peculiar expression of modernity. An uprooted man who had lost everything that connected him to the thick, rich meaning–contexts of ordinary life (he was retired, a widower, and his children had left home), he was intent on ending his days in the nowhere of air travel."

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TAGS

1989 • cultural emptiness • in transitin-between zonein-limboliminal spacemeaning-contextsnowherepassportplaceless placeplacelessnessplaces • The Devils Mode • threshold space • transit lounge • travelling without arriving • visa
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