The Dunedin Study began at the University of Otago in 1975 with the aim of investigating questions around child health and development.1037 babies were selected, all of whom were born in Dunedin between April 1972 and March 1973.
With further funding the scope of the study eventually grew into the longitudinal study we know today and now, 45 years on, those same study members are respectfully referred to as ‘The 1000 most studied people in the world’.
“It’s quite unique for there to be an exhibition like this attached to a living scientific research study,” explains Sean Hogan, Exhibition Curator and Cohort & Assessment Manager for the Dunedin Study and its 1037 members.
“But this travelling exhibition Slice of Life is a great way to share the findings with the New Zealand public, and it’s also a very special way to honour the study members who continue to give us all so much.”
The Slice of Life exhibition gives visitors the chance to experience the Dunedin Study by walking through the participants lives across the four decades studied so far. Visitors will be able to reflect on key findings and compare their own lives with that of study members.
“This exhibition showcases the science of us, providing incredible insights to the full range of our lives by exploring the health and social outcomes of this special group of people” says Rebecca Britt, MOTAT’s Exhibitions Manager.
“Visitors to the exhibition will feel as though they are stepping back through time with different ‘rooms’ styled to match each decade of study.”
Examples include the bedroom of 90s adolescence, our retro kiwi fashion ‘sense’ is sure to cause a few laughs, and for parents or grandparents struggling to explain how they survived without ‘YouTube’ then this exhibition will transport young companions firmly into the pre-internet age!
Slice of Life at MOTAT offers visitors a novel ‘step back in time’ experience while also providing older children and adults with a fascinating opportunity to dive deeper into the science of what makes us who we are.
More about the Dunedin Study:
In scientific circles the Dunedin Study has been referred to as the ‘Goldilocks’ of Longitudinal studies, it’s not the biggest, it’s not exactly small, but thanks to the depth of its findings it has cemented its global reputation as eminently trustworthy and definitely ‘just right’.
The Dunedin Study’s reputation for credibility lies in its phenomenal retention of participants, their extremely high levels of participation across all testing areas and the total, stoic commitment to participant confidentiality.
The Dunedin Study will monitor its members from ‘cradle to grave’, and its findings are consistently called on by researchers, psychologists, medical professionals and law makers around the world.
The US Supreme Court has heard arguments based on findings of the Dunedin Study stating that most youths grow out of crime. These findings along with others changed the law and it became illegal to sentence those under the age of 18 to death. On the day the law was enacted 72 adolescents in America on death row were spared from execution.
The Dunedin Study has been described as the most in-depth study of humankind in the world and its findings are being used to help people far beyond its original birthplace.
The exhibition “Slice of Life” was originally developed by the University of Otago Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo and Toitū Otago Settlers Museum and saw more than 200,000 visit during it’s opening season at Toitū Otago Settlers Museum.
For more information about the Dunedin Study and its findings visit: www.dunedinstudy.otago.ac.nz