FRIDAY 1 SEP 2017 8:39 AM


It is an often-overlooked fact that arthritis wields several varied classifications, from gout and pseudo-gout to rheumatoid and septic, there are over 200 types of arthritis. The disorder’s occurrence is closely tied to aging, however in many cases its onset is sudden, and its incurability can, at times, lead to life threatening debilitation. Affecting over 10 million people in the UK, arthritis remains a major public health priority.

Yet for Arthritis Research UK, an ongoing commitment to discovering new and alternative treatment methods has taken root at the core of the organisation since it first began operating in 1936. Its newest drive to raise further awareness however, propels the condition into the public sphere through an evocative and in-depth campaign in collaboration with social change company, Shape History.

The multiform campaign, released principally as a report entitled ‘The Nation’s Joint Problem,’ personifies the challenges put forward by those living with arthritis, focusing heavily on the myriad issues facing families and loved ones. According the report, 78% of people with arthritis experience pain every day, yet the same amount believes others don’t understand its impact due to the condition’s invisibility. Much the same, over half of people with arthritis think they are a nuisance to loved ones.

The campaign expands on the ripples of the arthritis through society, punctuated by over 30.8 million working days lost to arthritis related conditions. The crux of the campaign is centred on an increasingly dynamic approach to arthritis, one that is brought to life through the examples of Catherine and Phil’s separate relationships with the condition. Both stories are told through an interview-style social experiment video, with both speaking on a range of difficult issues surrounding their experience with arthritis, unbeknown to the fact that their loved ones are tuned in.

Mike Buonaiuto, executive director of Shape History, says, “Through our work with Arthritis Research UK, we’ve come to realise that as a society, there is so much about the condition we just don’t understand. We’ve found that through social experiments we directly place the audience at the heart of the issue, allowing them to engage with the topic and experience the world from someone else’s point of view.”

Launched this month, the campaign featured across social media channels, garnering over 320,000 views and 2,700 shares in two days, coupled with the release of an interactive website that specifies the realities of arthritis, and how visitors can contribute to the organisation's cause.