The Off Sick project breaks new ground in bringing together literary scholars, historians, medical practitioners, social scientists, and artists to explore the experiences of people and families who have been affected by severe or long-term illness in South Wales. In so doing, it investigates 'illness narratives’ from both past and present.
The project explores how people turn those experiences into narratives or stories as a means of understanding them. The findings from the project will be showcased through workshops and talks, and through an exhibition aimed not at academics but at individuals and groups whose lives have been affected by illness and who have their own stories to tell about it.
Medical institutions have, in recent times, had a tendency to disregard the experiences of those suffering from illness, seeing them instead in de-personalised terms as biological problems to be solved with science. In other words, it was the disease rather than the patient that took primacy. The idea of the 'illness narratives’ mentioned above has been used over the past few decades as a response to this trend and as a means of re-empowering patients. As a result, the voice of the patient is starting to re-emerge and there is already a large and growing literature on narratives of illness.
However, there has been little work done on the stories and experiences of family members who provide moral or practical support to people suffering from severe or long-term illness. Just as the voices of the sufferers themselves were for a long time marginalised, so too are the voices of their families today. It is this issue that the Off Sick project seeks to address.
To do that, we need your help. if you are interested in participating then please have a look at our Your Narratives page.