I am currently a PhD student at the University of Cumbria, UK. The project "The Lived Experience of Chronic pain" is particularly important to me as I am too a chronic pain patient and me and my family share the experiences of the participating families. I know how important it is for the families to have a voice as they rarely get asked or heard by anyone. The images are based on my interpretation of the interview data I collected during the study and therefore will always be subjective. However, the experiences of the participating families are replicated in the many medical studies I have read during my research.
The families I interviewed were selected because one of the parents suffers from chronic pain, which could be caused by injury or other illness, but had been experienced by the patients for many years. The other criteria were children above the age of 12, so they were old enough to share their experiences and views with me. The study was approved by the NHS Ethics Committee in Lancaster prior to selecting participants.
I used an Interpretative Phenomenological Approach (IPA) to interpret the interview data, as I felt this would be an appropriate method to understand the lived experience of the participants.
I have taken my study to the EFIC Congress: Pain in Europe VIII in Florence in 2013 as well as to the 7th World Congress of the World Institute of Pain (WIP 2014) in Maastricht and the German Pain Congress in Mannheim (2016), where my poster was awarded a price for particularly innovative research. On all three occasions medical professionals approved and endorsed the study's importance as way of supporting expression and communication within the families as well as with medical professionals.
Further, I have presented the work at various conferences where the study was discussed by other researchers and artists. I have exhibited the work in the UK and in Germany between 2014 and 2016, collecting feedback on how the work is being viewed and understood. This formed an important part of my thesis, highlighting a variety of issues whilst validating my hypothesis.
I am now hoping to find a pain clinic or research facility where I will be able to test the work in clinical practice, as only then I will be able to determine whether the visual typology I created might provide patients and medical practitioners with an additional tool to communicate the lived experience of chronic pain.
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