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The task titled "Mass Observation Archive and Project" was inspired by the Mass Observation Project founded in 1937 by three young men, who aimed to create an 'anthropology of ourselves' by recruiting a team of observers and a panel of volunteer writers to study the everyday lives of ordinary people in Britain. This original work continued until the early 1950s. In 1970, the Archive came to the University of Sussex and was opened up as a public resource for historical research. For more on the Project and Archive.

For my take on the project/archive (see link below for full task sheet), students were required to spend a day or two documenting, using whatever methods they chose, all that they observed and experienced over that time period. In keeping with the original Mass Observation Project, they were to function as BOTH investigator/reporter and autobiographer. Submission were housed on Blackboard and this became the archival data students drew upon while composing their final projects.

The piece featured here is a multi-part rhetorical event--one that, according to the composer, was situated or contextualized as "a Baltimore student film festival with an accompanying tour." On the day final projects were due, the student turned in a DVD containing her film titled "The Last Weekend," a flyer for the film festival, two brochures, a notepad (this was for people who took the tours featured in the brochures), and her statement of goals and choices for the project. While the film was the centerpiece of the project (and a particular source of accomplishment, as the student didn't have experience with creating films before), composing multiple texts for the project allowed her to use more archival data in more purposeful ways than creating the film alone would have allowed.

Given the richness and complexity of this multi-part rhetorical event, it may prove helpful to read the students' statement of goals and choices before viewing the film, flyer, brochures, and notepad text. A link to the "Mass Observation" task sheet also appears below.

Click here to read the student's statment of goals and choices

Click here to view the film titled "The Last Weekend"

Click here to view image of the festival flyer

Click here to view food brochure

Click here to view entertainment brochure

Click here to view notepad text

Click here to read the "Mass Observation" task sheet