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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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