University of Sussex Special Collections and Mass Observation Archive Blog

Showcasing our archives, collections, activities and projects

What is happiness? Some upcoming events…



Although we are currently very busy preparing to open in our new home at The Keep we are still finding the time and energy to organise some events and get out and about. Hopefully you will be able to pay us a visit at one of the Mass Observation Archive’s upcoming events…

On the 25th October 2013 we will be at the TEDxBrighton Ideas Lab  with an exhibition about Mass Observation and our current activities. The theme of this year’s TEDxBrighton is “Legacy & Heritage: What was, what is, what will be and what could have been”, so it is quite apt that we will be there. We are planning to showcase some of the research that Mass Observation did in Bolton in 1937 around happiness. We are hoping to gather some updated data at the Ideas Lab through Twitter using the hashtag #HappyMOA. We will be retweeting throughout the day, so be sure to follow us.    

In November we are hosting a series of events as part of the ESRC’s Festival of Social Science. The festival aims to highlights social science in society and support events that are engaging for everyone. The focus for our programme is, again, Mass Observation and happiness.  The events are free and open to everyone. The details are:

What is Happiness? Investigating the everyday with Mass Observation

Monday 4th November (9.30am – 13.30pm) and repeated on Tuesday 5th November (9.30am – 13.30pm) at the Latest Music Bar, Brighton

Investigate the Everyday: Creative Writing and the Mass Observation Archive

Explore the relevance of social science research through the theme of happiness and discover how ordinary British peoples beliefs of the 1930s and 1990s can inspire your own creative writing.

In this practical workshop with Poet Evlynn Sharp and staff from the Mass Observation Archive you will be introduced to tools and values of research. You will also find ways of creating writing that can be helpful in everyday life and work, supporting self-reflection and powerful self-expression

The workshop is open to all.

Wednesday 6th November (2.30 – 4.30pm)

I love being in the garden’ Happy encounters in everyday life’ Public talk given by Mark Bhatti (University of Brighton) at the Latest Music Bar, Brighton

Thursday 7th November (2.30 – 4.30pm) 
‘The Meanings of Happiness in Mass Observation’s Bolton’ Public talk given by Claire Langhamer (University of Sussex) at the Latest Music Bar, Brighton

Friday 8th November (Doors open at 7.00pm) 
Panel discussion on “What is happiness?” chaired by Lucy Robinson (University of Sussex) with Annebella Pollen (University of Brighton), Ben Jones (UEA), and Emily Robinson (University of Sussex) at the Quadrant pub. Brighton

 Advance booking for the ‘What is Happiness?’ is required. Please email: or call 1273 337515 to request a place.

The events will be documented on this blog by our blogger in residence and you can join in the discussion on Twitter by using the hashtag #HappyMOA

Hope to see you there!

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