Website showcases migraine artwork digitally for first time

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.

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 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 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.

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.”