FND Stories  Captures Lived Experience of Functional Neurological Disorder in Art

This June, East Lothian based artist, Andrew Brooks, will be exhibiting art focussing on telling the stories of those diagnosed with the neurological condition Functional Neurological Disorder (FND)  regarded as the most common condition  never heard of.

FND is a common and disabling cause of neurological symptoms. The symptoms are not caused by a structural disease of the nervous system but is a problem with how the brain and body send and receive signals. The symptoms can cause impairment in quality of life that is similar to other neurological conditions. 

The multidisciplinary exhibition, FND Stories, seeks to raise awareness of the condition and highlights the lived experiences of those diagnosed, and is based on in-person interviews with 6 people from around the UK who live with FND along with contributions from over 90 of those diagnosed from around the world.

The artwork was created using techniques of data analysis from the interviews and contributions in a range of media including silent video, text-based art, and large-scale ink and gold leaf pieces.

Brooks began making work involving the condition while studying a Fine Art MA in Bristol. He said “FND is a constant part of my life as my wife was diagnosed with it in 2015 following a bicycle crash involving a car. I began to make and exhibit work about our experiences living with FND reflecting on our married life, subsequently broadening the project making further work with members of Southwest England based charity ‘FND Friends.’ Having moved to Scotland I secured funding from Creative Informatics. The ‘Connected Innovators’ funding stream has given me the time and resources to continue making work with those diagnosed with FND developing new skills to represent people’s stories and raise awareness about the condition.” 

He added “My aim is to make work that can portray some of the lived experiences and stories of those diagnosed with FND. I don’t want to portray a list of symptoms but reveal different facets of people’s stories.” 

With support from FND Hope UK (from whom he is independent), Brooks has been able to broaden the project and had responses from around the globe, including America, Canada and Gibraltar.

Six in-person interviews with participants from around the UK were filmed and transcribed, these stories are the basis for much of the artwork. Those interviewed are from a range of ages, backgrounds, types and severity of condition and were asked the same set of questions about life with FND. 

There will be an opening event on Wednesday 22nd June 5-7pm, tickets for which  can be booked through Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fnd-stories-exhibition-launch-tickets-343015437407  

Venue details and dates are as follows:

Inspace Gallery, 1 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AB 

Inspace City Screen, window display on Potterrow – Tuesday 7th – Sunday 26th June;  

Internal Exhibition Thursday 23rd – Sunday 26th June. 

Irene Brown

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