Cripping Breath: Towards a new cultural politics of respiration

Year of award: 2023


  • Dr Kirsty Liddiard

    University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

  • Dr Rod Lawson

    Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, United Kingdom

  • Prof Barry Gibson

    University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

  • Dr Kate Weiner

    University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

Project summary

Covid-19 emphasises the need for urgent new analyses of the politics, processes and prioritisation of respiration and ventilation. The sudden emergence of global respiratory disease has reshaped our social, cultural, and political worlds and embodied experiences of health and illness. This project centres the lives of people who have had their lives saved and sustained by ventilatory medical technologies. Respiratory failure is common in many health conditions, and is a symptom of Coronavirus. Our explorations, led by disabled, chronically ill and ventilated people, do so in recognition that these growing communities of people and patients are often absent from contemporary social theorisations of respiration and ventilation, but also that their experiences have much to teach about living in cultures of compromised respiration. Centring arts-informed, archival, narrative and ethnographic approaches, this project develops Crip perspectives - forms of knowledge production that emerge from lived experiences of disability and chronic illness. Artists-in-Residence, experts-by-experience, disability and arts organisations and clinicians will work in collaboration to curate and coproduce new understandings of the experiences of ventilated people, across a host of identity positions, to interrogate the new cultural politics of respiration and ventilation in a continuing global pandemic, and as we imagine post-pandemic futures.