Project Details


Re-imagining the Diary reflects on the past, present and future of diary-writing and its relation to what we now refer to as “well-being”, particularly how the diary as a form can be used to promote it. Using our different disciplinary backgrounds and engaging in a series of external collaborations, this interdisciplinary project asks several key questions:

• Why have people written diaries, now and in the past?
• Can private diary writing help promote well-being?
• What dissuades or encourages people from keeping a diary?
• What strategies can be adopted to help “busy” people write diaries? Are
there ethical and legal considerations which stop professional people writing
• Is it time to ‘reimagine’ the diary for the contemporary era, where people
publicly share life-stories on social media? Are there aspects of social media
that could be used to inform a new twenty-first century diary?

We want to explore the different reasons people give for keeping diaries and the impediments that sometimes prevent diary-writing, particularly amongst professional people who often say they do not have time. Our project will be informed by past diary-writers, using the diary collections held in two archives at the UoB to inform our research and to inspire present-day diary-writers. Furthermore, we want to investigate what encourages/dissuades diary-writing in professions that have high inter-personal interaction or retention issues (e.g. teaching), so our project will involve a group of such professionals keeping a diary and reflecting on the process. It also seeks to interrogate different diary forms, working with creative media company Stand + Stare and using their “Sound Journal” to explore an alternative to the written diary format and working with them to design a toolkit for teachers. In turn, we will help Stand + Stare to redevelop their journal provision, inviting them to focus groups and sharing our perspectives on diaries and wellbeing. Overall, we hope to use this seedcorn funding to undertake a pilot project exploring diary writing and well-being, focusing on teachers. Currently, the teaching profession is experiencing a retention and recruitment crisis. Workload (and its links to health) is the main factor (NFER’s ‘Engaging Teachers’ report, 2016, 14). The aim is to use the pilot study to develop a working hypothesis, before moving on to work with higher risk groups in future, e.g. NHS.
Effective start/end date9/01/1930/06/19

Structured keywords

  • SoE Centre for Knowledge, Culture, and Society
  • SoE Language Literacies and Education Network


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