Catch Your Breath moves to Bristol

by Jordan Collver, Life of Breath Project Administrator

Catherine Lamont-Robinson, Exhibition Consultant

Elspeth Penny, Exhibition Consultant

and Jade Westerman, Exhibition Project Officer


The inter-disciplinary exhibition Catch Your Breath is now coming to Bristol!

Launched at Durham University’s Palace Green Library in November 2018 and later hosted by The Royal College of Physicians in London from April to September 2019, we’re look forward to sharing with you our Bristol twist on the exhibition.

The exhibition is on display at Southmead Hospital from 24 September – 31 December 2019 and will move to the Bristol Central Library in the new year until 27 February 2020. This variation of the exhibition will have an even greater focus on an arts and health approach to understanding breathing and breathlessness.

You’ll find 4 key themes in the Bristol version of Catch Your Breath.

1. Breath as both collective and unique, embodied awareness

If breath were visible, what would it look like? 

Sometimes we catch a glimpse of it: as a fragile wisp on a cold winter day, or a nameless shape left behind on a window. Most of the time, we need something to help us see it.

Happen by Jayne Wilton visualises the movement of breath from the mouth as ‘happen’ is spoken.
Courtesy of John Donoghue

2. Voices of experience

This aspect of the exhibition will explore breath/lessness perspectives across communities, drawing from different experiences, including Breathe Easy respiratory support groups, medical professionals, and practitioners in fields such as yoga and mindfulness.

Blossoming Lungs by Keng Siang Lee represents a Bristol medical student’s insights.
Courtesy of Keng Siang Lee

3. Cultural and creative perspectives

Anima by Joli Vyann explores how breath affects emotions and physicality.
Courtesy of Joli Vyann

Breath has powered and inspired art for centuries, giving it colour, scale, and emotional weight. This theme of Catch Your Breath delves into creative interpretations of breath to help make the invisible visible.

4. What will the air we breathe be like in the future?

The quality of the air we breathe has a profound effect on our health and wellbeing. For people all over the world, breathing in dangerous levels of polluted air is a part of daily life and accounts for millions of deaths per year. This section of the exhibition will explore how and why we should look after the air we breathe, not just for ourselves but for the world we share it with. We also look at the clean air initiatives Bristol has implemented to improve our lives.

Staycation by Bristol artist John D’oh raises concerns around fine particle emissions.
Courtesy of John D’oh

Events programme

Alongside the exhibition there will be a 23-week programme of free, breath-related events. Our full 2019 events programme is available on our What’s On page. We’ll release events for 2020 soon. In the meantime, you can take a look at our events programme below to see what’s available.

All our events are participatory and reflect the multisensory, interdisciplinary, and participatory exploration of breath that has been key throughout the different versions of Catch Your Breath. We hope the variety of locations and events will attract you no matter what your background, whether you’re a child, teenager, adult, parent, carer, patient, medical student, or a less-heard voice.

They’ll take place in as many locations as possible, including The Puppet Place Studio, Barton Hill Settlement Community Centre, Southbank Club Arts and Live Music Bar, the Tobacco Factory Theatre, the Sky Lounge in the University of Bristol’s Biological Science Department, as well as venues at Southmead Hospital. Come to as many as you can for a rich and vibrant experience of breath across Bristol!

A collaboration with you

We’re gathering audience contributions along the way and look forward to displaying these creative responses and observations in a celebratory end of project event at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery on the 27th February 2020 (check our website at a later date for details).

The workshops kick off on Thursday 3rd October 10-4pm with Letters in The Leaves in the Southmead Hospital Atrium, an environmental take on the Letters to your Breath workshop. Elspeth Penny and Dr Alice Malpass will be donning their gardening hats and wellies – come for a rest in our beautiful temporary garden inside the hospital and get creative! This is a drop-in event but please register your interest via Eventbrite: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/letters-in-the-leaves-tickets-69295072427.

Please check our What’s On page for full event details and to keep up to date.

Suspended Breath by Louise Jenkins– referencing both the clinical gaze and the patient’s story.
Courtesy of Louise Jenkins
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