Storying Sheffield

Living with chronic illness: Exhibition of micro-stories


Living with Pulmonary Hypertension

Here are some images from an exhibition of ‘micro-stories’ and artwork which explores the realities of life with a long term health condition.  It took place in the Winter Garden in Sheffield.

The exhibition is part of an research project by researchers and clinicians from The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. This project is seeking to understand more about living with the rare respiratory disease, pulmonary hypertension (PH). Sheffield is one of only a few national centres caring for people with this illness.

Julia Goddard is a medical student who has interviewed patients from the specialist centre at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, and then co-created a series of ‘micro-stories’ that reflect the realities of living with PH. Julia is co-supervised by Professor Brendan Stone of Storying Sheffield, and Ian Sabroe, Honorary Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital and Professor of Inflammatory Medicine at the University of Sheffield.  Talking about the project, Ian commented: “These unique stories help understand how illnesses changes people’s lives, and yet how people still carry on fulfilling lives regardless. The stories are valuable for clinicians, people living with illness, and people caring for those who live with illness.”

Pulmonary hypertension is a condition with an unpredictable prognosis that can start at any age and affects around 6-7,000 people in the UK. However, the experiences and emotions documented will resonate with people living with other chronic illnesses, those with a close friend or family member with illness, and people who want to learn more about the human experience. The stories are varied in their content, touching on moments such as the relief of diagnosis and waiting to go home from hospital, to the coping strategies of humour, faith, and burying your head in the sand. The exhibition opened the stories up to the public for the first time, embedding them within artwork that expands visually on the written words.