University of Sussex Special Collections and Mass Observation Archive Blog

Showcasing our archives, collections, activities and projects

Happiness and The Keep Family Open Day



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What makes you happy?

This is what the Mass Observation Project staff asked people on Saturday 1st February at The Keep’s first Family Open Day.

Over 300 people came through the doors, to hear talks about the collections, take part in tours of the building, get involved in activities and generally have a taste of what is on offer at this new, state of the art facility.

In 1938 Mass Observation asked the people of Bolton ‘What is happiness?’ we recently re-visited this question for the Festival of Social Science and as it proved so popular, we used it to generate interest on the open day, about the archive and our current work.

People of all ages were encouraged to view responses from the original study and then contribute to our ‘What makes you happy?’ wall. Both young and old participated from toddlers drawing their hamster, to older people reflecting on the joy of having grandchildren and parents taking part alongside their children in creative activities bringing families together. As ever, this proved to be thought provoking, fun and inspiring. We wanted to share with you some of the responses.

At the end of the day, what made us happy?

Meeting new people and introducing them to MO and sharing glimpses of what makes them happy. Oh, and collapsing on the sofa at home afterwards!

Kirsty Pattrick, Mass Observation Project Officer and Suzanne Rose, Mass Observation Education and Outreach Officer

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