Animation Research Ltd product manager Sophie Luther and
University of Otago Associate Prof Jamin Halberstadt took
part in a research project at Forsyth Barr Stadium last
Wednesday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
First rugby, then rock 'n' roll, and now research.
Since Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium opened in August 2011,
it has been the venue for many rugby games, including Rugby
World Cup fixtures, as well as other activities, including an
Elton John concert and a recent rodeo.
But a smaller event last week must be one of the more
About 45 young people, mostly University of Otago students,
took part in a research-related feasibility exercise
organised by Associate Prof Jamin Halberstadt, of the Otago
Another group of people had taken part in another similar
two-hour session the previous morning.
Participants were sometimes asked to carry out a few tasks,
while organisers used two roof-mounted video cameras, one of
them a specialised camera used for tracking players in sports
such as golf, to study the ways groups form in public spaces.
The exploratory research work was a joint effort involving
the university, Animation Research Ltd (ARL) and Dunedin
Venues Management Ltd, the latter making the venue available.
Prof Halberstadt was "excited" about initial progress and
said this was the first time that laboratory-style
behavioural studies involving group formation had taken place
on such a large scale, using the latest in sports tracking
ARL chief executive and Otago graduate Ian Taylor said it was
"very exciting" to be part of a collaborative approach which
was exploring the use of the stadium for research purposes.
Dunedin was a small city with a small degree of separation
and this collaboration was "just uniquely Dunedin".
While filming had been under way at the stadium last week,
other ARL teams had been preparing to cover big international
sporting events elsewhere in the world, including test
cricket in Adelaide and a golf tournament in Dubai, he said.