About the project

What is it that makes us happy – people, things, experiences?

What is a happy life in 2010? And how do we balance personal contentment with our relationships and responsibilities to the wider community and the world around us.

During the course of the year we’re going to be asking people to answer the question “Are you happy?” with their comments, ideas and stories, via video, webcam, stills –  to foster a conversation about what really matters to us today. We’ll bring the responses together to create a composite picture online.

The “Are You Happy?” Project is an experiment in collaborative online documentary. It’s inspired by “Chronicle of a Summer”, a film made by Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin exactly 50 years ago, which began when people on the streets of Paris were asked “Are you happy?” That project said a lot about French society at the time – living with the legacy of Second World War and German Occupation, divided over the independence movement in Algeria, on the cusp of the social changes of the 60s.

On the 50th anniversary of that film we want to find out how people answer that question now, in the global environment of the web today.

The “Are You Happy” Project is an aspect of the CollabDocs Research project.


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