New website showcases migraine artwork digitally for the first time

Posted by er134 at Sep 05, 2016 02:40 PM |
University of Leicester researcher leads Migraine Art project launched during Migraine Awareness Week 2016

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 5 September 2016

Migraine artwork available to download via the website at:

One in seven people in the UK is affected by migraines, making this neurological condition one of the most common health disorders affecting the body’s nervous system. Although most commonly associated with a severe head pain, migraine can affect the whole body and can result in a vast range of symptoms, including visual disturbances, sensitivity to light and sound, vomiting, difficulty in forming words and even paralysis.

Despite being more prevalent than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined, and recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the sixth highest cause worldwide of years lost due to disability, migraine is an under-diagnosed and misunderstood condition which is often dismissed as ‘only a headache’.

Now, as part of Migraine Awareness Week (4-10 September), a new website showcasing original pieces of artwork expressing what it means to experience life with migraine has been launched.

Dr Katherine Foxhall, a medical historian in the University of Leicester’s School of History, Politics and International Relations (HyPIR), has collaborated with national charity Migraine Action to digitise more than 550 pieces of original artwork depicting the illness, making them free and accessible to all.

Working with Dr Simon Dixon and his team in the University of Leicester’s Special Collections in the David Wilson Library, the images were catalogued and digitally scanned in order to be made publicly available online for the first time.

The project has been funded by the University of Leicester Impact Development Fund, which aims to help researchers develop the public impact of their work. The work came out of Dr Foxhall’s Wellcome Trust funded research project examining the history of migraine since the early medieval period.

Dr Foxhall said: “We hope that the images will be a valuable resource for people living with, or supporting a person living with migraine, as well as neurologists, health and education workers, scholars and artists.

“We hope in particular that this website will be of use to children with migraine, and those who are supporting them to learn more about this very common, but often misunderstood, illness.”

Rebekah Aitchison, Marketing and Communications Officer at Migraine Action, added: “We hold one of the few migraine art collections in the world, which includes over 500 pieces providing a huge variety of expressions of what it means to experience life with migraine.

“The artists come from every walk of life, and include works by both adults and children. The collection includes depictions on a variety of subjects, from visual patterns experienced by those with visual aura, to the pain aspects of what a migraine really feels like. Now for the first time, thanks to the fantastic support of the University of Leicester and Dr Katherine Foxhall, Migraine Action’s Art Collection will be freely available for all to access and use.”

The website was created by Leicester-based social-enterprise design and communications agency We Are Epic.

Each image can be downloaded for free in low resolution for personal or educational use at:

High-resolution (600 dpi) images for publications or commercial use can also be ordered through the website. Full details about how to use the images are available via the website at:


Notes to editors:

For more information contact Dr Katherine Foxhall at: or Rebekah Aitchison at Migraine Action at

About Migraine Action

Migraine Action is a registered charity, which provides support and information to migraine patients and their families, and raises general awareness of this still much-misunderstood condition. Its activities also include fundraising to support specialist migraine clinics and research into the diagnosis, treatment and cure of migraine and other headache disorders. The charity has a quarterly newsletter (for members), a telephone help line and website providing up to date information, as well as numerous leaflets on all aspects of migraine and its treatment. The charity is a totally independent membership charity and its core work is funded solely by donations and membership subscriptions. For further information on migraine and its management, please contact the Migraine Action, 4th Floor, 27 East Street, Leicester, LE1 6NB, Tel: 0116 275 8317 or visit

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