ELF competition to produce artwork representing women with COPD

We are launching a competition to commission an artist to produce a series of images representing women with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

UPDATE: In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we strongly advise that you use only the resources that you have available to you at this present time and do not recommend leaving your house at this stage to create the art piece. Please do not come into physical contact with people with COPD at this time as patients with underlying respiratory conditions should not be put at unnecessary risk. For further information about COVID-19 please see our COVID-19 information page. 

On International Women’s Day, we have teamed up with Andrew McIvor and the McIvor Medicine Professional Corporation to launch a competition to commission an artist to produce a series of images representing women with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Frank Netter was a doctor in the late 1930s who drew life-like images to teach medical students anatomy. He produced a famous set of images of men with chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Despite the value of these images to the medical world, there is very little representation of women with COPD and we are eager to change this. We hope that this competition will not only raise awareness of women’s health but also provide a series of images that can, like Netter’s, be used for generations.

The competition is free to enter and any artists who wish to enter the competition will be provided with testimonies, images and videos from women with COPD to provide insight into the female experience of this disease. We are asking for one piece which can be developed using any medium, such as: photography, pencil drawings, painting or digitally created. The image should portray the how women experience COPD.

After the deadline has closed, a panel of judges, which will be made up of artists, healthcare professionals and women with COPD will choose their top five. These five images will be displayed at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress in Vienna in September 2020 where attendees will be asked to vote for their favourite. The winner will be announced at the end of the Congress.

The winner of the competition will receive a €5,000 prize and will be commissioned to create a series of images of women with respiratory disease which will be unveiled in December 2020.

Isabel Saraiva, who is the Chair of the European Lung Foundation and a woman with COPD has made it a priority to improve the representation of women with respiratory disease. She feels that; “This competition is also a tribute to all women who are often forgotten in their specific medical conditions, respiratory or otherwise.”

Submissions are open until 30 June 2020.

For information on how to submit your piece, please email