Life lessons from the world’s most-studied people

Tuesday 26 November 2019

Dunedin Study exhibition comes to Christchurch

The findings of a landmark New Zealand study tracking the lives of 1,000 babies born in the early 1970s will be displayed in an exhibition opening 30 November at Canterbury Museum.

Dunedin Study tests

The Dunedin Study has followed a group of 1,037 people since 1972.

Slice of Life: The World Famous Dunedin Study provides an overview of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, its methods and its major findings.

The Study has followed 1,037 babies born in Dunedin in 1972 and 1973 through their lives. It has been acclaimed internationally as one of the most significant projects of its kind and its findings have influenced health and social policy around the world.

Slice of Life was developed by the University of Otago Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo and Toitū Otago Settlers Museum. More than 200,000 people visited the exhibition during its run at Toitū, making it one of Toitū’s most popular exhibitions ever.

The exhibition follows the Study’s participants as they start school, learn to drive, experiment with sex, drugs and alcohol, find careers and start families of their own.

Visitors can look into rooms recreated in the styles of the 1970s, 80s, 90s and 2000s, and learn about links between lifestyle choices and health through hands-on interactive exhibits.

The Study participants’ lives illustrate how New Zealanders’ lifestyles have changed since 1972 and the effects of those changes on our nation’s health.

Canterbury Museum Director Anthony Wright says the Museum is delighted to be hosting Slice of Life.

“The Dunedin Study participants have been called the 1,000 most-studied people in the world, but ultimately they’re just ordinary New Zealanders. I think visiting this exhibition will be a nostalgic experience for many locals.

“We’re very grateful to University of Otago and Toitū for letting us borrow the exhibition. The Study’s findings have affected millions of people worldwide, and we look forward to welcoming Cantabrians and other visitors interested in the impact it’s had on their own lives.”

Sean Hogan, Cohort and Assessment Manager for the Dunedin Study, says he is looking forward to the exhibition opening in Christchurch.

“It’s a real pleasure to bring the Slice of Life travelling exhibition to Christchurch, a city which is now home to many Study members, as well as the founding Director of the Study, Dr Phil Silva,” he says.

Slice of Life: The World Famous Dunedin Study is on at Canterbury Museum from 30 November to 3 May 2020. Free admission; donations appreciated.

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