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Life of Breath


 Life of Breath was a Wellcome Trust-funded interdisciplinary project carried out at the University of Bristol and Durham University. It brought together specialists in medicine, philosophy, anthropology, history, arts, and literature. Our research team explored questions of breathing and responses to breathlessness.

Breathlessness affects more than four hundred million people around the world including people living with COPD, asthma, anxiety, as well as infectious diseases including Covid-19.


During the research in North East England, it was possible to observe that people who engage in playful, explorative activities such as dancing, singing, and arts throughout their life, can find ways of actively responding to life challenges such as breathlessness.

Through play, we become familiar with the unknown, explore a range of possibilities, learn how to overcome obstacles and how not to give up.

‘Play is the establishment and exploration of relationship.’ Gregory Bateson


Working with healthcare professionals, artists, movement practitioners and community groups, our research team developed several wellbeing programmes for people experiencing breathlessness including BE Dance and Movement Playground.

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