Hello! I am a Scottish artist, designer and researcher based in Glasgow. My key area of interest is in collaborative projects that explore health, narrative and participation. I have a Masters of Design from Glasgow School of Art. My work encompasses visual arts, illustration, graphic design and delivery in the community. I am an associate service designer and illustrator with the Institute of Research and Innovation (IRISS) where I deliver participatory design workshops, conduct research, support co-design and create visual solutions focused on the world of social care.
Since completing my Masters at Glasgow School of Art, I'm continuing to explore the visual communication of illness narrative. This is a video sketch exploring the impact of chronic illness on sense of identity. It was made in collaboration with the narrative's 'owner' during my course.
Here is a little explanation of my idea....
States of health and identity are intrinsically linked. In popular culture the dominant narratives of ill health that we see are ones of recovery, heroism and 'battles' with cancer to be overcome. However, almost one in 3 people have a long term health condition.
Our understanding of illness and health are underpinned by narrative. Illness narrative in popular culture is dominated by rhetoric of the ‘battleswon with cancer’ and the ‘incredible-against-the-odds’ story. Termed the Restitutional narrative, these stories fuel“the almost total erasure of both the powerfully pervasive (yet “mundane”) experience of chronic illness. This pattern of exclusion of the chronically ill can be understood as effort to exclude people who “embody both the physical failure of medical practice” (Wagner 2000) and marginalize those that cannot return to their original ‘non sick’ state.
The establishment of a ‘truer’ and more authentic illness narrative has the potential to promote empathy and reduce stigma,by leading practitioners and the general public to “acknowledge that the illness narrative has many potential interpretations but that the patient is the ultimate author of his or her own text” (Jones 1999).
This video is part of my Master project exploring the potential of illustration to expand people’s understanding of what it means to be chronically ill, and to hear the voices of people marginalized by ill health.I feel that this is particularly important to explore in a political climate that promotes mistrust and skeptism towards people who require continued support for their conditions (Birrel 2013).
I work on lots of different kinds of projects and sometimes it can be hard to keep track of what I up to!