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Story, songs and animation helps children with eczema care for the ‘dragon’ in their skin

Derby-based Sinfonia Viva, the orchestra of the East Midlands, has brought together a creative team to work with health experts from Birmingham City University and the University of Nottingham to produce The Dragon in My Skin – a new book, animated film and songs to help children with eczema cope with the condition.

Writer Hazel Gould, songwriter Abimaro Gunnell, illustrator Jay Nolan-Latchford and animated film artists Darius Powell and Abbie Canning all worked on the project.

Children with eczema and their families joined a series of online workshops with the Viva creative team to compose a series of songs based on their own experiences of the condition and the dragon story which they have recorded alongside professional players from the Orchestra.

Marianne Barraclough, Deputy Chief Executive at Sinfonia Viva, explained: “This has been a wonderful healthcare and artistic collaboration and we are delighted with the outcomes.

“Hearing the young people’s voices through the songs and animated film is incredibly powerful as the words and lyrics are inspired by their personal experiences and emotions about living with eczema.”

Ten-year-old Arielle Carty, who has had eczema from an early age, was among the participants in the project.

Her mum Shauntelle explained: “Arielle used to be very self-conscious when her eczema was at its worse so I was keen for her to get involved in this project to show her that she is not the only one who has this condition. She really enjoyed helping to write the songs and her confidence has grown.

“I am so glad that the book and other resources will now be shared in schools to raise awareness among children of what some of their friends are going through and to hopefully encourage more parents to talk about this and share experiences of what treatments have worked for their children.”

The Dragon in My Skin is available to view online https://www.sinfoniaviva.co.uk/news/dragon-in-my-skin-eczema-project