Day 53 - Document your experience of Covid-19 and record your way into British history archives

In 2012, with the brilliant theatre company Inspector Sands, I made a show about the beginnings of Mass Observation movement, and the movement has fascinated me ever since.

Since the 1930s, ordinary people have written to Mass Observation about their experiences of key events including the Munich Crisis, Blitz, rationing, Coronation of Queen Elizabeth, Falkland’s War, September 11th 2001, and Brexit. There is a current renewed call-out for Mass Observers.

Here they tell you how you can help to create a record of the pandemic (click here or read below):

Keep a journal of your experience of the Covid-19 pandemic 

Please get in touch, if you would like to submit a regular diary but not join the Mass Observation Project Panel. We ask you to take a look at this document which explains some points that you may want to consider before sending your diaries or reflections to the Archive. Please send your diary to us when you have finished writing, rather than in regular instalments. Please also consider keeping a diary on 12th May.

Writing by community groups, schools or other groups. 

We would really welcome contributions from school children and wider community groups. This could be a journal, drawings or writing in any style to record your experience. You could also take part in our 12th May Diary Project

You can send in your contribution individually or as a group. Please see our guidance notes which explain some points you may wish to consider before sending in your contribution to the Archive.

12th May Diary Project ‘10th Anniversary’

The Mass Observation Archive is conducting its annual diary writing day on the 12th May 2020. This is the 10th anniversary of the modern project. We anticipate that this 12th May will be unlike those captured over the last 10 years and welcome contributions from people of all ages across the UK. Whether or not the UK is in lockdown, please consider keeping a diary. For more details visit our 12th May page.

Go to the website of the Mass Observation for all further details.

Format of documents

We welcome physical and electronic responses to all the opportunities listed above. A list of formats that we can accept can be seen in our guidance notes. We ask that you retain any physical records until after the lockdown period.

Don't forget to include the following statement:

I donate my COVID-19 reflections to the Mass Observation Archive. I consent to it being made publicly available as part of the Archive and assign my copyright in this work to the Mass Observation Archive Trustees so that it can be reproduced in full or in part on websites, in publications and in broadcasts as approved by the Mass Observation Trustees. I agree to the Mass Observation Archive assuming the role of Data Controller and the Archive will be responsible for the collection and processing of personal data and ensuring that such data complies with the DPA.

More information about this statement can be found here.

Visiting the Archive and contacting a member of the MO team.

Following Government advice and to ensure the safety of staff, volunteers and visitors, The Keep, where the physical Mass Observation Archive is based, will be closed from Monday 23 March 2020.

All events, tours, and workshops during this time will be postponed. The Keep hopes to reschedule them in the future, but if you would like a refund, please contact them.

We will still be responding to email enquiries, but please be aware there might be a delay to our usual response times. We will be posting updates on our Twitter page.

You can contact us on

Details about accessing selected parts of the Mass Observation Archive online can be found on our webpage about accesses online material.

Photograph below: Giulia Innocenti in 'Mass Observation' by Inspector Sands performed at the Almeida Theatre in 2011:

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