In 2010, Scott Walker was elected governor of Wisconsin with a mandate to improve its economy and restore fiscal responsibility. With the state facing a $3.6 billion budget deficit, he proposed a series of reforms to limit the collective bargaining power of public employee unions, which was costing taxpayers billions in pension and health care costs. The reaction was swift and severe. Angry protesters gathered outside the capitol, teacher unions accused him of sabotaging education, and the media descended on Wisconsin to make it a national controversy.
"The Governor had been challenged!"
In 1936 anthropologist Tom Harrison, poet and journalist Charles Madge and documentary filmmaker Humphrey Jennings set up the Mass Observation Project. The idea was simple: ordinary people would record, in diary form, the events of their everyday lives. An estimated one million pages eventually found their way to the archive - and it soon became clear this was more than anyone could digest. Today, the diaries are stored at the University of Sussex, where, remarkably, most remain unread.