Juliet Chenery-Robson (AHRC BGP PhD, University of Sunderland)

The Visualisation of the Invisible Illness M.E.

My practice-led research project focuses on the visual representation of the illness ME, which affects over 250,000 people in the UK. Through this project I intend to consider how contemporary photographic practice can be made to respond to and explore ME, which is an illness that is not only invisible, but has also been challenged and questioned in terms of its existence in many quarters. Despite having been accepted as a neurological illness by the World Health Organisation (WHO), it is still problematic for the sufferer because of the distrust in its existence.

Being a complex disease with no visible signs of illness, but rather a collection of symptoms, photography cannot be used simply to record ME, but rather has to be thought of in terms of metaphor. Although photography has often been used to communicate the non-visible, this specific area of illness has not been explored in this way, and so the project requires a new approach to be developed. The work produced for the PhD is practice-based photographic work with a thesis and by being practice-led, the methodology will include the production of photographic work reflecting upon the experiences of ME sufferers and their family/carers.

Research conference presentation (Download Powerpoint 8mb)

Podcast - 16mb (Save target as)