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IBD-Fatigue - making the invisible visible

By using different art forms the invisible nature of fatigue is made into something visible and tangible.

This project is based on Dr Wladyslawa Czuber-Dochan’s PhDwhich explored fatigue and its impact on people’s lives. Peoplehave great difficulty in explaining fatigue to others. They use awide range of terminology, including metaphors and similes (egbody feels two tonnes in weight, energy just drains away, brain fog,woolly and fuzzy head, head like mince, body like a shell, like a zombie),to describe its complex nature. It is the language used to describefatigue that this project is based on. Fatigue was presented asinvisible and unpredictable, negatively affecting individuals’ dailyfunctioning. Study participants felt imprisoned in their unreliablebody, unable to get on with their lives.

By using different art forms the invisible nature of fatigueis made into something visible and tangible. Inflammatorybowel disease is a chronic inflammatory condition ofthe gastrointestinal tract, affecting some 300,000 people in theUK; most common symptoms include frequent and profusediarrhoea, abdominal pain, malnutrition and profound fatigue.People’s complaints of fatigue are seldom addressed by healthcareprofessionals due to limited understanding of the symptoms.

The aim of the project was to transform the invisible nature offatigue into something visible and tangible that will help patients totalk about fatigue to others and to seek help. A co-design workshopwith people affected by IBD and fatigue was held to create thehand-painted collages that were then used by artist Ali Winstanley,to produce flashcards depicting different subjective physical andemotional experiences of fatigue. The mediums of paint and collagewere used to create colourful, surreal and engaging illustrationsto provide a window into diverse symptoms of fatigue that can bedifficult to express.



Dr Wladyslawa Czuber-Dochan - Department of Adult Nursing, King’s College London

Ali Winstanley - Lead artist

Lyndsay McGill - Flashcard print design

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