After a year of working at breakneck speed, I feel I can finally come up for air and update this blog.
2010 was unofficially the year of the diary, and those of you who know me, know that I am a big fan of diaries. I used diaries as a primary data source for my PhD research. I have kept a diary, on and off, since childhood, and the type, and content of my diaries has varied over the years. I find them fascinating, as they offer an incredibly valuable entry point into the mindset of a person at a particular point in time and under particular circumstances.
Last year, The Wellcome Gallery held a fantastic exhibition: The Identity Project. One of the best parts of this exhibition (in my biased opinion) was Irving Finkel’s (of the British Museum) collection of diaries from everyday people. His analysis of the usefulness of diaries was particularly important, and something that the research community is particularly blind to.
The diary ‘allows us to hold and develop thought’ (think of Housewife 49) as well as acting as a ‘confessional’ or to ‘manipulate the public’ (clips from the diary room of Big Brother were shown as an example, although recent memoirs also come to mind).
It’s a shame that more academics don’t give it the credibility it deserves.