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Airing Pain 113: Translating Chronic Pain

Using cre­ative writ­ing to bet­ter rep­re­sent the chron­ic pain experience

This edi­tion is fund­ed by the Arts and Human­i­ties Research Council.

Chron­ic pain often exists ways that can­not be seen. Due to the intan­gi­ble and ambigu­ous nature of many chron­ic pain con­di­tions that lack clear-cut caus­es and treat­ment, patients feel frus­trat­ed when com­mu­ni­cat­ing with health­care pro­fes­sion­als, per­son­al net­works, and the pub­lic at large; they feel ‘invis­i­ble’. Lan­cast­er University’s Eng­lish and Cre­ative Writ­ing depart­ment has built a research net­work to col­lect short-form ‘flash’ ill­ness writ­ing; pieces that aim to bet­ter rep­re­sent people’s expe­ri­ences of chron­ic pain.

In this edi­tion of Air­ing Pain we hear from the project’s Prin­ci­pal Inves­ti­ga­tor Dr Sara Was­son about the many com­po­nents that make up the project, its ori­gins, and the goal of con­vey­ing the expe­ri­ence that mil­lions of peo­ple go through every day.

Issues cov­ered in this pro­gramme include: Arts and crafts, com­mu­ni­cat­ing pain, cre­ative project, cre­ative writ­ing, cul­ture, describ­ing pain, edu­cat­ing health­care pro­fes­sion­als, explain­ing pain, inequal­i­ty, inter­sec­tion­al­i­ty, mis­con­cep­tions, mus­cle spasms, per­son­al expe­ri­ence, poet­ry, rep­re­sen­ta­tion of pain, spas­mod­ic tor­ti­col­lis, stig­ma, vis­i­bil­i­ty and writing.


  • Dr Sara Was­son, Eng­lish and Cre­ative Writ­ing Lec­tur­er, ‘Trans­lat­ing Chron­ic Pain’ Lead Inves­ti­ga­tor, Lan­cast­er University
  • Hol­ly Hirst, PhD and Asso­ciate Lec­tur­er in Eng­lish, Man­ches­ter Met­ro­pol­i­tan University
  • Zoe Lam­bert, Lec­tur­er, Eng­lish and Cre­ative Writ­ing, Lan­cast­er University.

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