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Be part of a new storytelling project about your experiences

Collaborate with researchers, award winning artists and other likeminded people to raise awareness living with an MSK condition.

Vocal is collaborating with musculoskeletal patients and researchers from the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre to highlight personal stories through storytelling and photography.

In this friendly 6 week programme of activities you’ll be guided by award winning storyteller Jan Blake and photographer Dave Bewick to create your own visual story.

The aim of the project is for people to create and share their own stories about how they support their own wellbeing and incorporate movement into their daily lives.

Movement plays a big role in the self-management of MSK conditions, not just in physical wellbeing but also the emotional, spiritual, social and cultural wellbeing. The importance of self-care and movement is something that needs to be addressed more by healthcare professionals and given more emphasis on as they differ from patient to patient.

—Shanali, MSK Patient and Lived Experience Consultant

Your story will help increase understanding amongst patients, researchers and wider audiences.

The stories created in this project will be shared as part of World Arthritis Week (October 2021) and other future opportunities to raise awareness of what it means to live with an MSK condition and to highlight the role of research.

The programme at a glance

  • 4 x 2 hour evening group workshops with Jan Blake and Dave Bewick to develop your story.

  • 1-to-1 coaching session with the two artists to build on your story and your storytelling and photography skills.

  • Individual work, to develop your story and photographs with guidance from the two artists.

  • A chance to work with health researchers from the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre who carry out cutting-edge research into MSK conditions.

Who we are looking for

We’re looking for 6 people aged 16-25 and 45+ who :

  • Have a diagnosis of Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Juvenile Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Myositis or Systemic Scleroderma

  • Want to learn more about storytelling through writing and photography.

  • Are happy to use a smart phone to take photographs, or to use equipment provided by the project.

More information

The sessions will take place on Zoom, so you need to be happy to participate using a laptop/desktop or a tablet.

Sessions will take place on Thursdays from 7 pm to 9 pm (comfort breaks included), with the first session planned for Thursday the 13th of May 2021.


  • All sessions will be captioned.

  • You will be given a data/Wi-Fi allowance for the duration of the project and if needed we can provide photography equipment in case you are unable to use your phone for this project.

  • We’re committed to making our opportunities as inclusive and accessible as possible. We want to support you to be involved so if there is anything that we can do to help you to take part please get in touch with Paolo using the email below.

To take part

If you’d like to take part, please email Paolo ( or get in touch below with the following information:

  • A little bit about yourself, including your age
  • Which condition you have been diagnosed with
  • Why you’d like to take part in this project
  • Your contact number

Paolo will then contact you to have a chat about the project.