Little Whispers: hear me

Little Whispers: hear me pilot project

People living with long term health conditions often feel unseen and unheard. Whoever you are and whatever your experience we want to hear from you to share something that you cannot ask, say, or tell. We are running a pilot project, starting in May 2022. We’ll be leaving these designs, printed out, in a few hospital wards in Bristol, for people to fill in. We hope we’ll get enough back to see whether it is a success, and with feedback to help us make it even better. We aim then to find a way to distribute the invitations far and wide. Then we hope to make a book out of some of the letters that come back to us.

Which design will you choose?

In more detail...

Aren’t they gorgeous! If you’d like us to send you one in the post, so that you can fill it in and send it back to us, email Elspeth at

What is Little Whispers: Hear Me ?

Little Whispers: hear me began as a collaboration between Elspeth Penny and Barny Hole. Elspeth is an artist and director of 2BU Productions, who seek to unlock the creative potential of people living with chronic health conditions, to give them voice. Barny is a doctor and just completed his PhD, he is concerned about suppression of patient voice in his research, and by ‘tokenistic’ patient and public involvement.  They invited people living with kidney failure to create a “Letter to My Kidney”; 12 participants created moving depictions of their experiences, displayed in an online gallery at the Futures2020 event, which was attended by over 44,500 people. Their work has been supported by the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute and Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark. Collaborations have since broadened to include paediatrician, Dr Lucy Plumb, and founding director of the Good Grief Festival, Associate Professor Lucy Selman.

Little Whispers: hear me is the latest development of Little Whispers, championed by people living with kidney disease and their carers. It aims to capture the lived experiences of people with long-term health conditions: be they physical or mental, theirs or someone else’s. People are invited to anonymously share their experiences, thoughts, and feelings in a letter: something they wish others knew about their health experience. They seal and post their creation anonymously using a self-sealing, franked letter-envelope.

A pilot is underway, using invitations distributed in healthcare settings, inviting those who discover them to respond. We have worked with a South-West-based illustrator and science communicator, Jordan Collver, to develop invitations.

Our Team

We’ve had a lot of fun developing Little Whispers: hear me over live meetings, zooms and workshops. Here is Barny and Lucy on a zoom with Elspeth.

Barny Hole

I am a researcher and kidney doctor interested to find out more about what patients actually think and need. As a team, we’ve worked together for several years. Now we want to know how we can make our work more relevant and more important to you.

Lucy Plumb

I am a children’s kidney doctor and researcher. I work with children, young people, and their families to understand their experiences of being diagnosed with kidney disease. I am really excited to be involved in a project that helps children and their families share with others what it’s like to live with a long-term condition.

Elspeth Penny

My role, on this project, and as Director of 2BU Productions, is to be the creative curator or steward of stories. With Little Whispers: hear me, I hope to enable you to communicate your stories with others. The world needs to change, and life can be challenging – it’s a mission for me to unlock the creative potential of people, help start conversations and encourage the creation of the new stories that we so badly need. At 2BU, we call it artful disruption. I’m so excited to see what you’ll write or draw and send back to us.

Lucy Selman

I am Associate Professor in the School of Population Health Sciences at Bristol University. I am the founding director of Good Grief Festival. I co-lead the University of Bristol Palliative and End of Life Care Research Group.  I’m intrigued to see your letters.

Jordan Collver

I am a South-West-based illustrator and science communicator  – it’s been fun to work with the team and design the invitations.

Our Advisory Panel

Our advisory panel of people with lived experience of living with health conditions, help us make some of the key decisions for this project.


Want to know more about how this project has come about?

Follow these links: