Bristol University – 21 Years: Our Journey

Objective: To produce a commemorative book for Children of the 90s that would celebrate the project’s 21st birthday, thank its participants and highlight its important work.

Challenge: Researchers at Children of the 90s have been charting the health of 14,500 families in the Bristol area since the early 1990s. Their aim has been to improve our medical and social understanding for the benefit of future generations. The team at Children of the 90s commissioned us to write and design a book that would both thank the project’s participants in the year the ‘Children’ (and the project) turned 21 and inspire the participants and project funders to remain involved for decades to come. It needed to tell the participants’ personal stories – allowing their voices to come through – and showcase the scientific discoveries made during the first 21 years of the project.

Solution

We took the theme of ‘21’ and created a book structure based on ‘21 journeys’ through Children of the 90s’ main aims – including, among others, its aim to improve understanding of how our culture, nutrition and lifestyle influence our genetic make-up. To make sure we reflected the voice of the participants, we worked closely with a steering group of young people, gaining their input on and approval of the book’s structure, content and visual design. We asked for case studies that we could feature in each ‘chapter’ – personal stories that would show the humanity of the project. Judy was overwhelmed by people willing to contribute, telling stories that were tear-jerking, heartbreaking, and – without exception – life-affirming. We looked through hundreds of the project’s press releases and medical papers to find the most awe-inspiring findings for inclusion, and we liaised with the project’s researchers to make sure these were properly and accurately reflected in the book’s text. Throughout the book we interspersed a lighthearted look at how lifestyle trends have changed over the course of 21 years, with timelines of toys, fashion and music.

With the creative work complete, we commissioned Park Lane Press – a printer based in the West Country – to produce a high-quality, environmentally friendly hardback book, perfect bound with spot UV varnish on the jacket and embossed lettering on the cover.

“Sue and Judy were great to work with on 21 Years: Our Journey. They were friendly, efficient and professional and really quickly grasped who we were and what we wanted to achieve with this complex project. They worked to a tight schedule – even remotely from Italy at one point! – to deliver a beautiful book that has informed, entertained and moved people to tears in equal measure. Our participants love it and this tweet from one of them is typical of the many we received: ‘After reading results of @CO90s longitudinal study published in 21 Years milestone book I feel so lucky to be part of such a worthy cause’.”

Dara O’Hare, Communications and Participation Manager, Children of the 90s, University of Bristol

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