Health, we take it for granted but, as soon as we are ill, we ask questions. How can we get better? Who is to blame? Could we have avoided it?
Corinne Noordenbos, November 2017
Black Country Lungs is a new photo book and exhibition, made in collaboration with Multistory and Dutch photographer Corinne Noordenbos. It tells the stories of people living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in the Black Country through photographs, moving images and first hand testimonies. For her first ever UK commission, Corinne worked with us between June 2015 and May 2017 to research meet, observe, record and photograph people in hospital and in their homes.
Corinne has a long-standing interest in exploring the human condition by photographing health issues so, when statistics showed that Sandwell and the Black Country had more health-related problems than other areas of the UK, she used this as a starting point. She says: “I decided to focus on COPD and lung problems. I was curious about the connection between the Black Country and ‘black lungs’”.
Black Country Lungs is a large format book, designed by Ben Weaver, made up of 20 photographs and stories of people with COPD. The book will be gifted to participants, health centres, hospitals, schools and libraries in Sandwell. There will also be limited copies to purchase via our online shop for £20.00 plus P&P. Black Country Lungswill also be presented as an outdoor exhibition, along with a programme of events, at The Shakespeare Garden, in Lightwoods Park (Smethwick) where the official launch will take place on 17 May, 2018. We have been working closely with Juneau Projects to design a unique exhibition.
In advance of this, we are delighted to preview a selection of work from Black Country Lungs at the University of Birmingham’s Arts & Science Festival from 12 – 18 March, 2018. There a few associated events including a guided tour and in-conversation event which provides an opportunity to hear Corinne Noordenbos discuss the Black Country Lungs project followed by a cross-discilpinary panel discussion to explore what collaborations between artists, researchers and scientists can bring to understanding the human condition. Book places here.
Visit the Black Country Lungs project page for more info.