Tuesday 4 July 2017
Big News: New Residency Exploring Cystic Fibrosis
Last week, I got some great news. Do you remember me saying, ages ago, that I had a few new irons in the fire: possible residency projects which might or might not come off, depending on whether we got funding? Well, I just found out from York University that they have been successful in getting the money to go ahead with a new project we have planned to do together.
I will be working alongside a team of sociologists so, in that respect, it is similar to my recent Dementia and Synbiochem projects with researchers at the Morgan Centre in Manchester. However, this is a very different project to these, and to the longer Morgan Centre residency. The work with York University revolves around sufferers of Cystic Fybrosis.
I will learn a lot more about it I'm sure, once I get sketching, but the team's interest is in the difficulties of cross-infection between sufferers. It's not that Cystic Fybrosis itself is contagious, but those who have it are at potentially fatal risk from lung infections, which can be very easily picked up from one another, in hospital clinics, during check-ups. Clinics make great efforts to try and keep sufferers apart (waiting rooms are a big risk), which must make the condition feel even more isolating.
My part in the work will involve being a fly on the wall while researchers are talking to Cystic Fybrosis sufferers and clinicians within hospitals in 3 different cities. The sociologists are interested in the experience of clinic visits and people's feelings about their movement through different areas in the hospital buildings. The team will look at the 'choreography' involved in preventing people coming into contact, as well as sufferers' pathways and journeys through the different clinics. They'll be analysing discrepancies in planning, looking for possibilities for collaboration and redesign.
While I, of course, will do my best to sketch it all. My role is to help communicate patient's experiences and concerns. Not really sure how yet. There are particularly tricky issues around keeping the interviews anonymous, so none of my usual 'portraits'. I'll work it out when we get to that stage. There is always a way. I had similar constraints while working on the Dormant Things interviews in Manchester. Later in the project, my artwork will also be used to help facilitate discussions with those who make decisions about the designing of the clinics' processes and environments.
This new work won't kick in for quite a while yet, not until much later in 2018, well after I have finished the work I am doing with the Occupational Psychologists in Perth. The whole thing is a 3 year project, but I will only be involved in one small part of it. As usual though, it's going to be fascinating work and I can't wait to find out more. I'll keep you posted, of course.