breathlessness

The Life of Breath: History, Texts, Contexts

10-12 July 2018, Durham Breathing is a basic physiological process, yet also has deep cultural, spiritual and personal meaning. However, although breath and breathing are such resonant and urgent subjects, they have never been the subject of systematic cultural or … Read more…

Sensations and Symptoms Conference Panel

5-7 July 2017, Portugal Life of Breath PhD student Fredrik Nyman and Durham anthropologist Christina Dobson are coordinating a panel at the EASA Medical Anthropology Biannual Conference Network Meeting: Bodies in Transition — Power, Knowledge and Medical Anthropology The panel, … Read more…

Breathe Easy Durham Dales at Breathing Space

Bev Wears and Rebecca Oxley

The header photograph was taken by Paul Waine, and shows Bev Wears of the British Lung Foundation and Rebecca Oxley, post-doctoral researcher on the Life of Breath. Paul is a member of Breathe Easy Durham Dales, and has written a poem … Read more…

Restoring Breath: Questions, medical advancements and the importance of bystander participation

Bleeding hearts

Tina Williams, PhD student on the Life of Breath project, writes a post prompted by the inaugural lecture of Prof. Jerry Nolan (audio recording now available), Honorary Professor of Resuscitation Medicine in the School of Clinical Sciences, University of Bristol: Loss. … Read more…

Battle for Breath Twitter Chat

24 Nov 2016, Online Earlier this year the British Lung Foundation published ‘The Battle for Breath’, a rallying call which exposes shocking inequalities and slow progress in tackling lung disease. In response, Life of Breath team members and BLF’s Head of Research, … Read more…

Inspiring change: humanities and social science insights into the experience and management of breathlessness

Durham team members Rebecca Oxley and Jane Macnaughton argue that, in order to treat breathlessness more effectively, we need a greater understanding of how it feels to be breathless and how this experience may be communicated. In particular they explore the differences between the way … Read more…

Reflections on vaping 1: An introduction to the world of cloud-chasing

Vaping competition

This post is the first of a series on vaping and vape tricks by Rebecca Oxley, post-doctoral researcher in anthropology on the Life of Breath project. Rebecca is currently looking for people to share their stories about living with breathlessness.  E-cigarettes can make the breath … Read more…

Breathing and Breathlessness in Clinic & Culture

Our PIs, Jane Macnaughton and Havi Carel have contributed a chapter on breathing and breathlessness to a new book, ‘The Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities’, in which expert contributors from around the world map out the field of the critical … Read more…

The First and Last Breath: reflections from palliative & neonatal care

Butterfly

Kate Binnie, yoga teacher and music therapist, writes:  In his brilliant book Being Mortal (2015) Atul Gawande calls for all healthcare professionals working with patients at the end of life to “help people to end their stories on their own … Read more…

Arthur’s ‘labouring of the lungs’ in Tennyson’s Idylls of the King

Elsa Hammond is a PhD candidate at the University of Bristol, working on breath and death in the poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Alfred Tennyson and Thomas Hardy. She writes: In accordance with Arthurian legend, Tennyson’s Arthur does not die absolutely … Read more…

Singing for Breathing

Phoene Cave

Vocal coach, community choir and workshop leader and music therapist Phoene Cave writes: In 2008 I answered an advertisement for a singing teacher at Royal Brompton Hospital in London. The original idea was inspired by Bronchial Boogie in Oldham, to … Read more…

With bated breath: diagnosis of respiratory illness

In this essay, senior investigator Havi Carel recounts her experience of being diagnosed with a rare respiratory condition as a starting point for considering how waiting for and receiving a medical diagnosis affects people’s lives. After perhaps a prolonged period … Read more…

‘I need security to survive’

Kate Binnie, yoga teacher and music therapist, shares a memory of a hospice patient: Paula wakes early every day and spends time in bed, praying. “I’m a good Catholic girl” she wheezes up at me from her chair, grinning naughtily. … Read more…