Illustrated stories of Asthma - edited


This project incites and visualises the memories of patients who have suffered severe asthma, and the major benefits of new therapies in their treatment. In a process of capturing and returning their stories, students in History and Illustration used oral history and visualisation techniques to trial an innovative history-health-illustration method that incited patient storytelling and built graphic comic stories and images. This project showcases the benefits of arts-science collaboration for patients and is funded by the Arts and Health Collaboration Fund.
Funding Organisation: Arts and Health Collaboration Fund, University of Plymouth
Date: February–July 2022


Two people with severe asthma who had a good response to biologic treatment accepted invitations to tell their story to an oral history student and an illustration student. Within the framework of experiences of their asthma before and after treatment, semi-structured oral history interviews explored individual memory. There was an emphasis on how change over time might be narrated in various registers: verbal recollection intersecting with visual imagination; articulation of emotions and especially key moments of crisis, overcoming adversity, and aspiration; impact on interpersonal relationships; personal sense of self-worth and value; and the identification of core narrative themes and images. The patients then collaborated with the students to produce visual and written stories as comics.