Observing the 1980s – New FREE Historical Open Access Resource


A fantastic and unique resource is currently being launched which will keep you all fascinated for hours and hours. Comprised of written submissions of every day peoples lives via the Mass-Observation Archive, oral interviews from the British Library Oral History Collection and ephemera from the University of Sussex Library. If you want to know what people thought of Thatcher, AIDS, feminism, war, sexuality, politics, the family, community you name it its there.


PLEASE SHARE this resource – It is wonderful to be able to access such materials without institutional boundaries and restrictions, but it will only be truly useful if people know about it!

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Subscribe to their Youtube Chanel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Observingthe1980s

Subscribe to their Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/observing80s

Dr Lucy Robinson introducing the ‘Observing the ’80s’ project based upon documents held at the Mass Observation archive.

From the Blog:

Observing the 1980s brings together, for the first time, ‘voices’ from both the Mass Observation Collections and the British Library Oral History Collections. This material offers a unique and inspiring insight into the lives and opinions of British people from all social classes and regions during the 1980s.

The value of digitising these collections and disseminating them as open educational resources is that currently no established historiography of the 1980s exists. The decade is largely represented as polarised and the work that does exist is similarly divided into oppositional camps. By bringing together these resources, students and academics will be able to make and illustrate connections across and between these polarised approaches. Additionally, a key benefit for educators at all levels is in the raw nature of the information and its potential use across subject areas such as politics, sociology, oral history, cultural and media studies, linguistics, gender studies, narrative and memory studies, migration studies, folklore studies, anthropology and contemporary history.

We have selected 23 men and women of different ages, from different social backgrounds who write for Mass Observation, and chosen extracts from their writing over the whole decade. Similarly, we have selected 26 interviews from the British Library Oral History Collections to provide complementary audio extracts and to ensure a broad coverage of key themes.


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