Stories of people living with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) have inspired a September showcase event at Walsall Manor Hospital.
Black Country Lungs is a unique collaboration between Multistory, Dutch photographer Corinne Noordenbos and patients which explores the collaborations between artists, researchers and scientists to understand the human condition.
Walsall Healthcare Respiratory Consultant Dr Max Matonhodze has teamed up with Multistory to arrange for photographs from the Black Country Lungs exhibition to be displayed in the hospital for just over three weeks. A guided tour and coffee morning has been organised for Wednesday 25 September from 10.30am-12.30pm, that is open to members of the public and on Thursday 26 September a symposium for medical staff and medical students as well as the public will be held.
The showcase is aimed at raising awareness of the debilitating effects of COPD as well as giving patients and others an opportunity to share their stories. It is also hoped that the striking images and poignant stories will help encourage smokers to kick the habit; particularly as the trust is working towards becoming smoke-free. Working conditions and pollution are also a big part of the COPD story in this area.
Dr Matonhodze, who has supported patients at Walsall Healthcare for 17 years, said: “The Black Country Lungs exhibition is extremely powerful and we are delighted to be working with Multistory to be able to bring an element of it into Walsall.
“I see day after day how debilitating and heartbreaking COPD is, both for sufferers and their families, and anything we can do to raise awareness of the condition and its devastating impact is only to be welcomed. If this event also makes someone stop and think about the effects of smoking – a major contributory factor in COPD – then that is also to be welcomed.
“The coffee morning and tour is open to all ages and all communities. We want people to share their stories with us as well as find out more. The symposium is a unique opportunity for medical staff and students as well as the public to explore what collaborations between artists, researchers and scientists can bring to the human condition.”
To book a place at the coffee morning or symposium please email Communications@walsallhealthcare.nhs.uk
Becky Sexton, Multistory Project Manager, said: “Multistory is a community arts organisation based in West Bromwich. We invite artists to make art with, for and about local people in response to their lives and experiences.
“Our work is driven by stories – discovering them, hearing them, shaping them and sharing them. Thank you to all of the participants, many of whom live in Walsall, for their openness to collaborate with us on Black Country Lungs. Multistory gratefully acknowledges the support of Sandwell Council and Arts Council of England.“
The Black Country Lungs exhibition will run from 5 to 29 September 2019 and can be found near the rear entrance of the hospital by the Sister Dora statue.
Corinne Noordenbos, the artist, worked with experts from Public Health and partners such as Sandwell Community Respiratory Service. She also attended ‘Breathe Easy’ groups and British Lung Foundation Singing Groups. She wanted to explore the connection between the Black Country and “black lungs” and look at the impact of such health conditions in this area.