“Art changes people and people change the world”

John Butler, singer-songwriter and producer

Art in all its forms has always been at the forefront of social change. Music, Fashion, Film and Theatre act as the signal posts in how we view history.

We recognised a communication problem at the heart of living with long-term invisible pain. Feelings of loneliness, mistrust, frustration and guilt often develop and grow unchecked.

We wanted to challenge this, but we are not lobbyists or medics but creative’s. We can’t take away pain or revolutionise the research and training of the medical field, nor can we reach every individual. However, through art, we can make the invisible visible. We can offer creativity to those who may have lost sight of this side of themselves due to pain. In doing so, we truly believe we will be changing the world.

  • Pain is ultimately subjective and is a vast subject to cover. Long-term pain is felt very differently to acute pain and the sensation is very hard to describe, let alone understand.

    The distance between sensation and comprehension can make the experience of chronic pain a very lonely one. To combat this, we use anchoring words or phrases with our artists in order to convey aspects of this experience in detail. Hopefully, through Art, friends and family and even medical professionals can gain insight into the different realities of living with chronic pain.

    Also vitally important is how people with pain are spoken to. Invisible and mysterious ailments tend to prompt a lot of well-meaning, yet ill-advised and hurtful questions and comments which can make someone who is in pain feel even more alone. We again use art to remind everyone including medical staff, to be mindful of their language.

    Anchoring words and phrases we are working on currently: Trapped, Madness, Lost time, guilt, anger, hope, a way through.
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  • You wear it well is a series of stylised costumes designed to represent the physical experiences of chronic pain. Tapping into her history as a set and costume designer for theatre, Kate attempts to create theatrical and glamorous representations of pain for women, as if the model had simply stepped into chronic pain experience as a garment. She researches the symptoms, particularly how patients describe how it feels in the body and spends a lot of time working out how this could be translated into more standard costume and dressmaking materials. Kate is keen to stay within the wider philosophy of Something Chronic, and keep the end result beautiful and recognisably "wearable" so that the model, despite representing a particular disorder or element of long-term pain, she would also feel empowered.
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