Storying Sheffield

Narratives of health inequalities in South Yorkshire

Storying Health Inequalities

Storying Sheffield has collaborated with Fairhealth to explore and deepen our understandings of the social determinants of ill-health in Sheffield and South Yorkshire. Run by Health Education England, Fairhealth aims to help reduce health inequalities through education for health professionals, and the Storying Health Inequalities project explores the lives of patients by telling stories of their complex and challenging lives beyond the consulting room.

All interviews and transcripts were conducted by Sam Smith (University of Sheffield) who had 15 years of experience working as an oral historian in health and social care and museum sectors. Central to this role and experience, Sam writes:

“has been my role coordinating an oral history service on a palliative care unit, conducting interviews with people with terminal illness. As part of this process, interviewees are given as much time as they need to share memories and stories they wish to leave for family and friends. This open questioning life story approach allows for a more autonomous narrative and dignifying experience than more closed, interviewer-led methods.”

Sam’s experience, interview technique, and skilled editing and transcription has been invaluable to the project and sharing stories of health inequalities.

The stories that make up this project are from real people. Every participant has given informed written consent to the recording and sharing of their stories, and their generosity in helping create such a rich learning resource is remarkable. You can find their stories below,

For more information about Fairhealth please visit their website


Paul’s Story

“My teachers used to say I was university material. Well, that was never an option. It was like: go to work” – Paul

Gloria’s Story

“Me – if I pray – in my prayer, the first thing I ask of God is to give me good health” – Gloria

Sarah’s Story

“If you wanna be a GP, you have to be in their little world, understand the family…and listen” – Sarah

Maria’s Story

“They just didn’t seem to listen…just didn’t seem to understand” – Maria

Tom’s Story

“You live in these flats, it’s surprising how anonymous they are. You just don’t see people.” – Tom

Brian’s Story

“Mental health in under-estimated what it does to people…massively under-estimated” – Brian