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Objects of safety and imprisonment (Binnie et al, 2020)

Our relationship with objects can be complex at the best of times. When it comes to objects associated with respiratory illness – oxygen, inhalers, monitoring devices, fans – that relationship is complicated further. They are both a very public (often stigmatising) marker of illness and a source of reassurance – a defence against the anxiety that breathlessness triggers.

Through three examples – an oxygen cylinder, an iPad and an oximeter (a device which measures blood oxygen levels) – this paper explores the conscious and unconscious relationships that people who experience breathlessness have with their health objects.

You can read the full article here:

Binnie, K., McGuire, C., & Carel, H. (2020). Objects of safety  and imprisonment: Breathless patients’ use of medical objects in a palliative setting. Journal of Material Culture.

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collection of objects in a museum case
A selection of breath-related objects, chosen by members of Breathe Easy Westminster support group, on dispay at Catch Your Breath, London
A poem over a woman holding a mirror
A poem about Babs’ companion object – a walking frame named Fred. Written as part of our Catch Your Breath writer-in-residence programme