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Life of Breath

Life of Breath

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Life of Breath
Life of Breath

Life of Breath

Life of Breath

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About Us

This series explores the research themes, events and activities of the Life of Breath project. Life of Breath is an research project exploring breathing and breathlessness at the interface of arts, humanities and medical practice. It is a collaboration between the Durham University and University of Bristol, and is funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Latest Episodes

Breath in Classical Singing

“Breath is the beginning and end of what we do as classical singers” Miranda Wright In this episode we turn our attention to the importance of breath in singing. This episode features highlights from our ‘Breath in Vocal Technique’ event on 17 January 2018 which was presented by singing teacher Miranda Wright. Miranda Wright is a masterclass leader for the Samling Academy and Head of Classical Singing at Newcastle University. She also teaches many undergraduates from Durham University, choristers at Durham Cathedral and other singers across the North East. Miranda was joined by accompanist David Murray, three of her students Zoe, Rebecca and Patrick, and some unexpected props including a resistance band and a ‘magic finger’. You will hear them describe and demonstrate the remarkable difference that trained breathing techniques, breath focus and breath control can make to a performance. The music performed was ‘Dido’s Lament’ from the opera ‘Dido and Aeneas’ by Henry Purce...

23 MINFEB 19
Comments
Breath in Classical Singing

Breath in Visual Art

‘Art changes human experience as it reorders our perceptions and engages our emotions’ (Starr, 2013) Artist Jayne Wilton has spent the last 10 years exploring ways of capturing and visualising the breath. She is not the first artist to be fascinated with the breath and inVisualising the Ephemeral, her lecture for the Arts of Breath series on 29 November 2017, she delves into history, charting her take on the story of ‘Breath in Visual Art’, from cave paintings to the present day. In this podcast Jayne talks about how she became interested in depicting the breath and some of her methods. She also discusses how she approached the challenge of preparing the talk and some of her personal highlights. During the podcast Jayne mentions the following artworks; Jayne Wilton, Breathe (2012) Piero Manzoni, Fiato d’artist (1960) Mariele Neudecker, The Air Itself Is One Vast Library(2010) Shirazeh Houshiary, Breath (2003) Francis Bacon, Head VI (1949) Cornelia Parker, Perpetual Canon (2004)...

20 MIN2018 FEB 13
Comments
Breath in Visual Art

Breath, Pulse and Measure

In his manifesto ‘Projective Verse’ (1950) the poet Charles Olson proposed a new view of poetic structure based on the breath. Olson’s ideas were taken up, developed and modified by other American poets, including William Carlos Williams and Denise Levertov. These poets and their ideas were the focus of the first event in our Arts of Breath series – Hearing the Form: Breath, Pulse and Measure in 20th Century American Poetry. This podcast is a conversation with Prof David Fuller who conceived and programmed the Arts of Breath series as well as presenting this first lecture. He considers how these ideas emerged and evolved within the social and political climate of the time along with excerpts of the poets reading their work. The podcast features excerpts of the following William Carlos Williams speaking at Harvard in 1951 Charles Olson reading ‘Letter #41 (Broken Off)’ Robert Creeley reading ‘The Kingfishers’ by Charles Olson William Carlos Williams reading ‘The Yachts’ Den...

26 MIN2018 JAN 17
Comments
Breath, Pulse and Measure

Under The Surface

Under the Surface is a choral piece composed by Toby Young which was specially commissioned for, and premiered at, the Feel It Festival in November 2016. Inspired by the research of the Life of Breath team, particularly the work of Havi Carel and Alice Malpass, it explores the experience and isolation of people affected by breathlessness. In this podcast Toby talks about the story behind the piece and his creative process. It also features excerpts performed by the Bristol University Singers and the Brabant Ensemble conducted by Stephen Rice. After listening you canread Toby’s blog post about Under the Surface, which includes the lyrics/poems written by Jen Thorpe, and his other contributions to the work of the project. This podcast was presented and produced bySarah McLusky. SUBSCRIBE:iTunes|Pocket Casts|RSSor search for ‘Life of Breath’ on your podcast app Listen to Under the Surfacein full performed by the Bristol University Singers and the Brabant Ensemble, conducted by Steph...

14 MIN2017 OCT 18
Comments
Under The Surface

To Breathe Ourselves into Some Other Lungs

A cappella singing, a lone rower in the Pacific Ocean, fungal spores, clairvoyance and a baby’s cries…what could possibly tie these things together? The surprising answer is breath and poetry. ‘To Breathe Ourselves Into Some Other Lungs’ was an evening of poetry and song organised by Breathe Oxfordon 18 July 2017 to provoke deeper thought and discussion around the lived experience of breathing. In this podcast you’ll hear snippets of the evening’s performances from Kate Binnie, a writer and music therapist, travel writer Elsa Hammond, poet Gregory Leadbetter and scientist turned poet Sarah Watkinson. The contributors also speak about what breath means to them. Finally you’ll hear from organiser Kyle Pattinson about the research behind the event. Use the player below to listen to Kate Binnie’s First and Last Breath soundscape. She has also written a number of posts for our blog. Breath soundscape - Kate Binnie Find out more about Breath Oxford on their website or follow them ...

19 MIN2017 SEP 22
Comments
To Breathe Ourselves into Some Other Lungs

It Felt Like Drowning

‘It Felt Like Drowning’ is the winner of our recent Inspired musical composition competition. Entrants were invited to attend the Feel It Festival in November 2016 and take their inspiration from one of the events. The winner, Elan Higueras, draws on material from A Painful Silence, a panel discussion on domestic violence led by Life of Breath team member Prof. Gene Feder. The piece was written for acclaimed trombone quartet Bones Apart, and premiered in Bristol on April 28th 2017. In this podcast Sarah McLusky speaks to Elan, Bones Apart and Bristol project manager Jess Farr-Cox. You’ll also hear a conversation between Gene Feder and Jacqui, a survivor of domestic abuse, talkingabout how listening to the piece affected her and whether it feels like a true reflection of her experience. Read more about Elan’s composition process in this blog post. In ‘A Painful Silence’ Gene Feder and Lucy Potter reflect on the Feel It Festival event of the same name. If you are affected by any...

22 MIN2017 JUL 25
Comments
It Felt Like Drowning

10 Years Smoke Free

On 1st July 2007 England banned smoking in enclosed public places. Although contentious at the time it has gone on to become one of the most popular and successful pieces of legislation ever. To mark the tenth anniversary of the ban Sarah McLusky talks to Life of Breath team member, anthropologist and tobacco expert, Andrew Russell about why the ban was brought in and what has happened since. Sarah also reminisces with chronic asthmatic Gaynor Williams, about the bad old days. Andrew also picks up on these themes in articles for The Conversation and the Durham University website For an ex-smoker’s perspective, watch this video produced by Fresh NE featuring Louise Morris who quit smoking 10 years ago, around the time of the ban. For further information on the issues and statistics mentioned in the podcast this press release from ASH is a great place to start. Inspired to stop smoking? Start here If you experience breathlessness and need support, the British Lung Foundation can help...

14 MIN2017 JUN 29
Comments
10 Years Smoke Free

Letter to your Breath

If you were invited to write a letter to your breath, what would you say? Bristol anthropologist Alice Malpass and letter-revivalist Elspeth Penny have been running workshops doing exactly that. Chatting to Sarah McLusky they explain what happens in the workshops and how it is helping them understand the complex relationship that both well and unwell people have with their breath. Are you breathless in Bristol? Alice and Elspeth are still looking for groups to work with. Please do get in touch if you belong to a group that would like to take part. If you want to know more you can also read ‘Letter to my lungs‘, a blog post Elspeth wrote for us, and watch her TEDx Talk ‘The lost art of letter writing‘. You can also listen to ‘Under the Surface‘, an original choral piece by Toby Young, partly inspired by some of the letters. Recorded in May 2017 at the University of Bristol. Presented and produced by Sarah McLusky. SUBSCRIBE:iTunes|Stitcher|Pocket Casts|RSS

24 MIN2017 JUN 16
Comments
Letter to your Breath

Living with Breathlessness, Learning from Experience

SUBSCRIBE: iTunes | Stitcher | Pocket Casts | RSS Discover the work our researchers are doing to try and understand what it is like to live with a lung condition. Sarah McLusky chats toDurham anthropologists Rebecca Oxley and Fredrik Nyman, as well as Darlington Breath Easy support group members, Gaynor Williams and James Edwards. They discuss why learning from people who experience breathlessness is integral to our work and how this deeper understanding might improve care and reduce stigma. The podcast also features Arthur Rose reading an extract from the poem ‘Phenomena’ by John Updike. You can find the whole poem in the collection ‘Selected Poems’ (2015) Penguin. If you would like to share your experience of living with breathlessness with Rebecca or Fredrik please do get in touch. Breathe Easy Darlington meets at 1pm on the first Tuesday of every month at the Copper Beech, Neasham Road, DarlingtonDL1 4DH. You can find details of other Breath Easy support groups via the Briti...

23 MIN2017 MAY 23
Comments
Living with Breathlessness, Learning from Experience

The invisibility of breathlessness: physiology, perceptions and politics

SUBSCRIBE: iTunes | Stitcher | Pocket Casts | RSS In this podcast Prof Jane Macnaughton discusses why breathlessness is an invisible symptom and why the people who experience it can be invisible in society. Jane begins by outlining how the lungs work and how their function is compromised in ill health (particularly COPD). She then explains why we fear and stigmatise breathlessness, and how this makes lung disease invisible to politicians, those who fund medical research and even healthcare professionals. She concludes by describing how a better understanding of the thoughts, beliefs and emotions associated with breathlessness can contribute to neuroscience and ultimately, perhaps better treatments. In her talk Jane references the following; Genesis 2.7 in the Bible King Lear by William Shakespeare Illness: The Cry of the Flesh by Havi Carel The Battle for Breath by the British Lung Foundation Statistics for lung disease in the UK Recorded on Saturday 25 February 2017 at Cafe Scienti...

21 MIN2017 MAR 17
Comments
The invisibility of breathlessness: physiology, perceptions and politics
the END

Latest Episodes

Breath in Classical Singing

“Breath is the beginning and end of what we do as classical singers” Miranda Wright In this episode we turn our attention to the importance of breath in singing. This episode features highlights from our ‘Breath in Vocal Technique’ event on 17 January 2018 which was presented by singing teacher Miranda Wright. Miranda Wright is a masterclass leader for the Samling Academy and Head of Classical Singing at Newcastle University. She also teaches many undergraduates from Durham University, choristers at Durham Cathedral and other singers across the North East. Miranda was joined by accompanist David Murray, three of her students Zoe, Rebecca and Patrick, and some unexpected props including a resistance band and a ‘magic finger’. You will hear them describe and demonstrate the remarkable difference that trained breathing techniques, breath focus and breath control can make to a performance. The music performed was ‘Dido’s Lament’ from the opera ‘Dido and Aeneas’ by Henry Purce...

23 MINFEB 19
Comments
Breath in Classical Singing

Breath in Visual Art

‘Art changes human experience as it reorders our perceptions and engages our emotions’ (Starr, 2013) Artist Jayne Wilton has spent the last 10 years exploring ways of capturing and visualising the breath. She is not the first artist to be fascinated with the breath and inVisualising the Ephemeral, her lecture for the Arts of Breath series on 29 November 2017, she delves into history, charting her take on the story of ‘Breath in Visual Art’, from cave paintings to the present day. In this podcast Jayne talks about how she became interested in depicting the breath and some of her methods. She also discusses how she approached the challenge of preparing the talk and some of her personal highlights. During the podcast Jayne mentions the following artworks; Jayne Wilton, Breathe (2012) Piero Manzoni, Fiato d’artist (1960) Mariele Neudecker, The Air Itself Is One Vast Library(2010) Shirazeh Houshiary, Breath (2003) Francis Bacon, Head VI (1949) Cornelia Parker, Perpetual Canon (2004)...

20 MIN2018 FEB 13
Comments
Breath in Visual Art

Breath, Pulse and Measure

In his manifesto ‘Projective Verse’ (1950) the poet Charles Olson proposed a new view of poetic structure based on the breath. Olson’s ideas were taken up, developed and modified by other American poets, including William Carlos Williams and Denise Levertov. These poets and their ideas were the focus of the first event in our Arts of Breath series – Hearing the Form: Breath, Pulse and Measure in 20th Century American Poetry. This podcast is a conversation with Prof David Fuller who conceived and programmed the Arts of Breath series as well as presenting this first lecture. He considers how these ideas emerged and evolved within the social and political climate of the time along with excerpts of the poets reading their work. The podcast features excerpts of the following William Carlos Williams speaking at Harvard in 1951 Charles Olson reading ‘Letter #41 (Broken Off)’ Robert Creeley reading ‘The Kingfishers’ by Charles Olson William Carlos Williams reading ‘The Yachts’ Den...

26 MIN2018 JAN 17
Comments
Breath, Pulse and Measure

Under The Surface

Under the Surface is a choral piece composed by Toby Young which was specially commissioned for, and premiered at, the Feel It Festival in November 2016. Inspired by the research of the Life of Breath team, particularly the work of Havi Carel and Alice Malpass, it explores the experience and isolation of people affected by breathlessness. In this podcast Toby talks about the story behind the piece and his creative process. It also features excerpts performed by the Bristol University Singers and the Brabant Ensemble conducted by Stephen Rice. After listening you canread Toby’s blog post about Under the Surface, which includes the lyrics/poems written by Jen Thorpe, and his other contributions to the work of the project. This podcast was presented and produced bySarah McLusky. SUBSCRIBE:iTunes|Pocket Casts|RSSor search for ‘Life of Breath’ on your podcast app Listen to Under the Surfacein full performed by the Bristol University Singers and the Brabant Ensemble, conducted by Steph...

14 MIN2017 OCT 18
Comments
Under The Surface

To Breathe Ourselves into Some Other Lungs

A cappella singing, a lone rower in the Pacific Ocean, fungal spores, clairvoyance and a baby’s cries…what could possibly tie these things together? The surprising answer is breath and poetry. ‘To Breathe Ourselves Into Some Other Lungs’ was an evening of poetry and song organised by Breathe Oxfordon 18 July 2017 to provoke deeper thought and discussion around the lived experience of breathing. In this podcast you’ll hear snippets of the evening’s performances from Kate Binnie, a writer and music therapist, travel writer Elsa Hammond, poet Gregory Leadbetter and scientist turned poet Sarah Watkinson. The contributors also speak about what breath means to them. Finally you’ll hear from organiser Kyle Pattinson about the research behind the event. Use the player below to listen to Kate Binnie’s First and Last Breath soundscape. She has also written a number of posts for our blog. Breath soundscape - Kate Binnie Find out more about Breath Oxford on their website or follow them ...

19 MIN2017 SEP 22
Comments
To Breathe Ourselves into Some Other Lungs

It Felt Like Drowning

‘It Felt Like Drowning’ is the winner of our recent Inspired musical composition competition. Entrants were invited to attend the Feel It Festival in November 2016 and take their inspiration from one of the events. The winner, Elan Higueras, draws on material from A Painful Silence, a panel discussion on domestic violence led by Life of Breath team member Prof. Gene Feder. The piece was written for acclaimed trombone quartet Bones Apart, and premiered in Bristol on April 28th 2017. In this podcast Sarah McLusky speaks to Elan, Bones Apart and Bristol project manager Jess Farr-Cox. You’ll also hear a conversation between Gene Feder and Jacqui, a survivor of domestic abuse, talkingabout how listening to the piece affected her and whether it feels like a true reflection of her experience. Read more about Elan’s composition process in this blog post. In ‘A Painful Silence’ Gene Feder and Lucy Potter reflect on the Feel It Festival event of the same name. If you are affected by any...

22 MIN2017 JUL 25
Comments
It Felt Like Drowning

10 Years Smoke Free

On 1st July 2007 England banned smoking in enclosed public places. Although contentious at the time it has gone on to become one of the most popular and successful pieces of legislation ever. To mark the tenth anniversary of the ban Sarah McLusky talks to Life of Breath team member, anthropologist and tobacco expert, Andrew Russell about why the ban was brought in and what has happened since. Sarah also reminisces with chronic asthmatic Gaynor Williams, about the bad old days. Andrew also picks up on these themes in articles for The Conversation and the Durham University website For an ex-smoker’s perspective, watch this video produced by Fresh NE featuring Louise Morris who quit smoking 10 years ago, around the time of the ban. For further information on the issues and statistics mentioned in the podcast this press release from ASH is a great place to start. Inspired to stop smoking? Start here If you experience breathlessness and need support, the British Lung Foundation can help...

14 MIN2017 JUN 29
Comments
10 Years Smoke Free

Letter to your Breath

If you were invited to write a letter to your breath, what would you say? Bristol anthropologist Alice Malpass and letter-revivalist Elspeth Penny have been running workshops doing exactly that. Chatting to Sarah McLusky they explain what happens in the workshops and how it is helping them understand the complex relationship that both well and unwell people have with their breath. Are you breathless in Bristol? Alice and Elspeth are still looking for groups to work with. Please do get in touch if you belong to a group that would like to take part. If you want to know more you can also read ‘Letter to my lungs‘, a blog post Elspeth wrote for us, and watch her TEDx Talk ‘The lost art of letter writing‘. You can also listen to ‘Under the Surface‘, an original choral piece by Toby Young, partly inspired by some of the letters. Recorded in May 2017 at the University of Bristol. Presented and produced by Sarah McLusky. SUBSCRIBE:iTunes|Stitcher|Pocket Casts|RSS

24 MIN2017 JUN 16
Comments
Letter to your Breath

Living with Breathlessness, Learning from Experience

SUBSCRIBE: iTunes | Stitcher | Pocket Casts | RSS Discover the work our researchers are doing to try and understand what it is like to live with a lung condition. Sarah McLusky chats toDurham anthropologists Rebecca Oxley and Fredrik Nyman, as well as Darlington Breath Easy support group members, Gaynor Williams and James Edwards. They discuss why learning from people who experience breathlessness is integral to our work and how this deeper understanding might improve care and reduce stigma. The podcast also features Arthur Rose reading an extract from the poem ‘Phenomena’ by John Updike. You can find the whole poem in the collection ‘Selected Poems’ (2015) Penguin. If you would like to share your experience of living with breathlessness with Rebecca or Fredrik please do get in touch. Breathe Easy Darlington meets at 1pm on the first Tuesday of every month at the Copper Beech, Neasham Road, DarlingtonDL1 4DH. You can find details of other Breath Easy support groups via the Briti...

23 MIN2017 MAY 23
Comments
Living with Breathlessness, Learning from Experience

The invisibility of breathlessness: physiology, perceptions and politics

SUBSCRIBE: iTunes | Stitcher | Pocket Casts | RSS In this podcast Prof Jane Macnaughton discusses why breathlessness is an invisible symptom and why the people who experience it can be invisible in society. Jane begins by outlining how the lungs work and how their function is compromised in ill health (particularly COPD). She then explains why we fear and stigmatise breathlessness, and how this makes lung disease invisible to politicians, those who fund medical research and even healthcare professionals. She concludes by describing how a better understanding of the thoughts, beliefs and emotions associated with breathlessness can contribute to neuroscience and ultimately, perhaps better treatments. In her talk Jane references the following; Genesis 2.7 in the Bible King Lear by William Shakespeare Illness: The Cry of the Flesh by Havi Carel The Battle for Breath by the British Lung Foundation Statistics for lung disease in the UK Recorded on Saturday 25 February 2017 at Cafe Scienti...

21 MIN2017 MAR 17
Comments
The invisibility of breathlessness: physiology, perceptions and politics
the END