“There are whole books still to be written about this collective mental shift. But Lucy Robinson, one of the historians involved in the Observing the 1980s project, hints at one reason when she points out that this was the last decade before the web. The Google search gave us a way in which we could skate over the surface of cultural and political life, slickly knowing a little about a lot of things. Perhaps it also gave people an internal edit button as they feared guileless or undeveloped ideas could be shot down quickly by internet flaming. Nowadays, an unusual book choice for a teen magazine might be ridiculed in an avalanche of Twitter retweets. We like to give decades a uniform character as they retreat into history, safely burying the past by turning it into retro kitsch. The Observing the 1980s project is valuable because it does not treat the decade like this, as a story we already know the ending to. Instead, it becomes an era of still-to-be-decided tensions and possibilities – one in which people sincerely believed David Steel might be prime minister ("my pin-up!" says one Mass Observer), that Margaret Thatcher might lose an election, or that the neoliberal economic revolution might still be reversed. How I miss that sense of earnestness – and I mean that without a trace of irony.
Collaboration in, Collaboration out: Information Architecture
Collaboration in, Collaboration out: Types of evidence Infographic by David GuestInfographic by Brandon Perree
Collaboration in, Collaboration out: Selection One of the Trustees of the MOA in the 1980s was a contact of the late Tom Harrisson’s, James Fulton, who had connections with the Foreign Office. Fulton was also a friend of a research and Parliamentary lobbyist, Heather Randall, who worked at the London Office of the European Economic Community. Ms Randall commissioned the EEC Special and wrote up her analysis in Randall, H: Looking at Europe: pointers to some British attitudes in Europe 83 (4) pp 22-23, 1983. Because of the format of the directive as questions, this directive elicited more yes/no style short replies than most other directives. Only a few take a narrative form. Nevertheless, the replies are useful for evidence about Britain’s early relationship with Europe and the hopes and fears of specific kinds of people at that time. Key words: European Economic Community (Common Market); food; family budgets; employment Key themes: (1) Thatcher & Thatcherism; (2) Britain and the World; (6) Community, nation, race; (7) Family Values, the Home;
Samantha Fennessy – ‘In going through and selecting ephemera for the Observing the Eighties project it provided a great opportunity to have the time to understand aspects about events and themes from the period from a different angle. I have recently been researching on the impact of AIDS in the 1980s and so this was a unique resource which enabled me to look at materials that would have been otherwise unavailable to me. In particular looking at the guidelines and regulations for journalists on representing homosexuality in the media was perfect for my research. It was also really enjoyable to be able to talk about the sources with Jill and Lucy and interesting to see how a discussion about one topic can lead onto so many others. All in all, the workshop brought about some fantastic and unique material for which if I haven’t participated in this project I wouldn’t have been able to look through. That is why the Observing the Eighties project is a wonderful resource for both students and researchers alike!’
Collaboration in, Collaboration out: The Archive
Lecture 1. Introductions Thatcher and Thatcherism Seminar 1. Historical Approaches to Thatcherism Lecture 2. Britain and the world Lecture 3. The Falklands War Seminar 2. Falklands War Nation and nationalism, representations – Sources: Memoir and literary representation Lecture 4. Northern Ireland Lecture 5. The Unions Seminar 3. Unemployment - and the miners’ strike Sources: news and documentary footage Lecture 6. Workplace experience and unemployment. Lecture 7. Immigration, ethnicity, riots Seminar 4 Rebellion, Activism and Identity Rave, Clause 28 and the Poll tax Sources : press, Lecture 8. Family Values and Tory Sleaze Lecture 9. Youth and cultures of resistance. Seminar 5 The end of the lines? Blair and New Labour Sources: Manifestos and political media Lecture 10. Labour Challenge, Thatcher’s Exit Lecture 11 Overview Seminar 6/Skills workshops Sources : Material and Popular Culture Lecture 12 Methodologies.