47. Hannah French: living & working with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome

This episode we are sharing the space with BBC Radio 3 presenter and flautist, Hannah French. Recorded in a North London office space, we listened as Hannah explained to us her journey to a diagnosis of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a collagen deficiency which affects the soft tissue and has impacted her ability to walk, play the flute and live life as she once knew it. She took us through the reality of living with EDS, and the process of moving away from flute performance and into her current job as a presenter at BBC Radio 3. We talked about the power that radio now has in her life, creating a space to tell stories and shape a listeners' experience and the process of creating the amazing documentary for Radio 3, The Silence of My Pain in 2020.

Thank you to Hannah for her honesty about her pain experience and for your wonderful presence and infectious humour!

Hannah's documentary, The Silence of My Pain, will be played again this Friday, 9th September on BBC Radio 3 at 10pm

Click here for transcripts

Wanna jump around? Timestamps:

0:00: Intro

2:25: Welcome to Hannah

4:00 What is EDS?

8:00: Discovering Hannah's EDS and playing the flute

14:25: Moving into academia and research

15:35: Accommodating people with disabilities in music

19:00: Acceptance of disability and illness

20:15: Pastoral welfare of students; working at the Royal Academy of Music as a lecturer and tutor

23:30: Loss of identity as a flautist

26:00: Moving into radio and working for the BBC

28:18: The liberation of radio

29:15: Does Hannah feel envious when presenting/watching performances?

31:45: The psychological impact of pain

36:30: Managing difficult emotions, anxiety and coping mechanisms

39:00: Working with and not against pain

41:50: Making the documentary, The Silence of My Pain

45:30: The importance of silence in Hannah's life

46:45: Fascination and flow

53:22: Unapologetic visibility

55:15: Starting conversations about pain and disability

56:35: Removing shame and presenting an honest depiction of pain

1:01:30: Wins of the week!

Things Musicians Don't Talk About website: https://www.thingsmusiciansdonttalkabout.com

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