This site was produced in 2016, during the initial phase of the Everyday Life in Middletown Project, under the auspices of the Virginia Ball Center for Creative Inquiry. It assembles the material gathered by the EDLM team during the spring of 2016, including day diaries compiled by our volunteer informants, contemporary and historic photographs, analysis of data from the study, and more.
For an extensive look at the Everyday Life in Middletown seminar, click here.
EDLM is a multi-media examination of ordinary life in Muncie, Indiana, sponsored by the Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry and the Center for Middletown Studies at Ball State University.
Beginning in January, 2016, our team delved deep into theory about everyday life, including the writings of Sigmund Freud, Michel de Certeau, Ben Highmore, among others.
From February through March, we ran our Mass Observation-inspired study with the help of 15Â Muncie citizens, who kept day diaries, answered questionnaires, and sat for interviews.
Members of the EDLM team offer various insights into specific aspects of everyday life. There are a total of 18 insights. In keeping with our sense that studying the everyday requires a wide array of lenses and approaches, we have exercised considerable freedom in choosing a form and a voice for these essays, ranging from graphics and comic strips to creative writing. Some draw on the work of theorists; many engage with the testimony of our informants. All strive to offer a fresh look at one or more everyday phenomena that we usually take for granted.
Making Ends Meet: An Interview
Informant 6 is a retiree living in an apartment building on the Southside, where sheâ€™s known as â€œthe mayorâ€ for organizing meals, trips to the food pantries, and social events. In an interview with the EDLM team, she talks about growing up in the factory age; making ends meet during labor strikes and lay-offs; food stamps; womenâ€™s rights and economic freedom; and what she likes about living on the Southside.
Read more here.
Meet the student members of our team, and read a short report of something each of us discovered in the course of keeping a detailed day diary six times during the semester. The results are sometimes banal, sometimes eccentric, sometimes delightfully odd—like everyday life itself. To meet our professor, Dr. Patrick Collier, click here. To read short bios of our 15 informants, click here.
“I pay more attention not only to my everyday activities, but also to moments of non-being.”– Vivien Pong ’17
“I discovered that numbers and patterns influence the way I perceive my surroundings.”– Casey Smith ’18
“During the course of this study, I’ve found that I think the most often in everyday time.”– Ryan Shank ’18
“I really like to write ‘bless her/him’ when people are kind.”– Janie Fulling ’17
“My writing made me realize how unaware I was of things in my life.”– Henry Stumler ’17
“I’ve learned how unaware I was of my surroundings.”– Aaron Brehm ’17
“It is weird that we go about living our day without a thought as to why we do the things we do.”– Saxony Wynecoop ’16
“I use my extra time inÂ passive leisure, such as watching cartoons and hanging out with my cats.”– Sam Baumgart ’16
“I am constantly focused on what is going to happen next.Â I have a hard time living in the present.”– Kathryn Mirabella ’19
“On a typical day I hold longer conversations with my cats than I do with people and Sudoku is my only form of escapism.”– Emily Griffis ’16
“I found an interest in documenting absurd images;Â a hot sauce label picturing a man whose facial hair was made of peppers.”– Cooper Cox ’16
“I found myself wondering who my audience was, writing about the past, Â escaping my everyday through laughter and sports…”– Alex Gilland ’17
“I tend to describe the food Iâ€™m eating, describing the emotional, psychological, and sometimes physical impact it all has on me.”– T.J. Tekulve ’17
“I write about my empathetic moments, to-do lists and briefly touch on internal discussion and/or conflict.”– Meagan Brant ’16
“I caught myself feeling worried for the man who couldnâ€™t cross Bethel and for the other patients at my doctorâ€™s office.”– Maren Orchard ’18