How Creating Gets Under the Surface of Eczema

I have always considered myself a creative person. For as long as I can remember I have always made films and created paintings and drawings. I also make music in my spare time.

In the eczema community, you often hear talk of therapeutic past times helping adults living with eczema. Especially allowing them to engage and use their hobbies as a kind of distraction from their itching. And I really do subscribe to this idea. Creative endeavors also allow me to explore how living with this condition actually makes me feel. I know for sure that it certainly comes out in my music, which is often melancholic.

Where have I found creative outlets?

It is scary to think how I would be if I had to live with all my allergies and have no creative outlet for them. I would literally go out of my mind if I could not create in some way.

So, I was really happy to see that in 2022 there was an art exhibition in Glasgow, Scotland. It was all geared around people suffering from atopic eczema. The exhibition was held between 5-7 July 2022 at the British Association of Dermatologists in Glasgow. At the Advanced Research Centre (University of Glasgow’s atrium), which was open to the public. There were several artists involved. All of them, living with eczema produced projects illustrating how living with the condition made them feel.

How does the art help others understand eczema?

This gave people who don’t suffer from eczema a fresh and unique insight. It shines a light on how it affects them. As one of the dermatologists highlighted, Professor Sinéad Langan said, "This public engagement art project has transformed my understanding of what it is like to live with eczema, going beyond my awareness as a doctor or researcher. It has inspired me to further pursue research to address the challenges and improve outcomes for people living with eczema, working in partnership with people with lived experience."1

What was offered at the event?

There were several workshops set up that allowed artists to develop their ideas using a range of mediums such as printmaking and sculpture to show off their work. But more importantly, it allowed eczema sufferers an opportunity to share and open up about their own individual experiences living with eczema with each other.

What have I created?

I wish I had known about this at the time. I think It would have been something I would have felt extremely proud to be a part of. In actual fact, I remember creating a cartoon strip about my life growing up with this condition for AtopicDermatitis.net and I really enjoyed doing it. I only did around three or four drawings but it kind of said it all in just a few scribbles. If I had more time, I would do more.

One thing that is for sure is that I feel creating anything gives people a purpose, it certainly does for me. And it would be great if there was like a "creative corner" on our very own website where eczema patients could digitally pin up the artwork of their experiences.

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