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Breathtaking Lungs

  • Posted by Annie,
  • Deputy Director,
  • in Case studies,
  • June '20

How we worked with patients, researchers and partners in Wythenshawe to raise awareness of breathing conditions and research.


Vocal worked with researchers, patients and the public, artists and community partners to raise awareness of lung health, breathing conditions and related research through a range of creative activities and events. Sixteen people living with a range of respiratory conditions took part in focus groups to help develop the project ideas and the communications plan.

Our approach

  • Using an asset-based approach, developing relationships which built on the trust people -already had with existing groups and organisations.
  • Promoting the project in person at existing community events and well-used spaces.
  • Making it as easy as possible for people to take part. People felt welcome and valued and could be involved in a way that was comfortable for them.
  • Offering a range of different creative opportunities for people to get involved in, working with experienced creative partners.
  • Embedding discussions about health research in all the creative activities.
  • Involving people in producing artworks, sharing stories and organising events that would engage wider audiences.
  • Encouraging people to take part in research patient panels and community health projects.


  • 127 people took part in 29 singing, art, music and discussion-based activities about breathing, breathlessness and research.
  • 550 people took part in activities at community events at The University of Manchester and Wythenshawe Forum.
  • Reached a large audience through social media with 196,949 impressions achieved on Twitter reaching a total of 99,940 accounts.
  • Gained local and regional media attention with appearances on Wythenshawe FM, BBC North West Tonight and BBC Radio Manchester.
  • Since the project, participants have been advising researchers as part of patient panels, are helping to establish a new social event for patients with COPD and have been involved in a range of other research activities.

With thanks to partners and contributors

Breathtaking Lungs was a community effort, huge thanks to everyone who took part and supported the project and raised awareness of research.

Adam, Alf, Alisha, Amy, Ashleigh, Ben, Bernadette, Bernard, Cameron, Chelsea, Chloe, Colin, Coral, David, Diana, Diane, Dylan, Dyllis, Elkie, Esmae, Excel, Fatima, Gemma, Georgina, Graham, Hadijah, Hilda, Ian, Jake, Jamal, Jess, Jim, Joan, Joanna, Joshua, Katie, Katie, Khaild, Leah, Linda, Linda, Linsey, Marian, Margaret, Matthew, Milly, Miracle, Molly, Mya, Ned, Oliver, Pat, Pete, Peter, Rene, Renu, Robert, Rogan, Ryan, Ryan, Sakar, Shalom, Theresa, Triumphant, Valerie, Vivien

Researchers: Professor Jørgen Vestbo, Professor Jacky Smith, Dr Hannah Durrington, Dr Andras Bikov. Staff from the NIHR Respiratory Research theme of the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre. Angela Kelsall, Sue Stockdale and staff from the Clinical Research Facility at Wythenshawe Hospital.

Artists, musicians and creatives: Ann-Marie Smith, Brighter Sounds Hannah McGuigan, Heather Henry, Jamie Rennie, Jenn Clempner, Katie Ritson, Laurence Payot, Mat Walklate, Naomi Jackson, Natasha Garswood, Scott Farlow, Ulysses Alvarez

The Tree of Life Community Centre, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group (including everyone at the Grand Day Out events and Friday Night Seniors Youth Group), Afro Tots, Wythenshawe Forum, Wythenshawe Forum Library