The Big Anxiety Festival 2019 program is now live!

Welcome to the Big Anxiety Festival 2019

The Big Anxiety is a cultural platform for direct engagement with mental health. Embracing diverse experiences across the vast spectrum of mental health, it examines what makes us anxious as individuals and social groups – from fears about the future to concerns about ourselves, other people and belonging, to the question of how people are cared for.

Our 2019 program focuses on a central challenge: how do we cultivate empathy in place of stigma, fear and discrimination? Raising awareness is not enough. Information about mental health is not enough. We need new ways of thinking, imagining, feeling and acting – and resources that are both practical and inspiring.

The arts are the best means we have for sharing complex experience. They show us what we don’t know about ourselves and others. They shine light on the relationships and social settings that help or hinder mental health, and they are a means to renew those relationships.

Highlights of this years festival include:

Uti Kulinjatku Initiative – new virtual reality works
UNSW Galleries, see The Empathy Clinic, 27 Sept – 16 Nov and Art After Hours, AGNSW, 16 Oct
The Uti Kulintjaku [UK] initiative is an innovative, Aboriginal-led mental health literacy project that takes its name from a Pitjantjatjara phrase that means ‘to think and understand clearly’.

The Empathy Clinic
27 Sept – 16 Nov, Tues-Sat 10am-5pm
UNSW Galleries
Unless we can imaginatively ‘step into someone else’s shoes we cannot empathise. The Empathy Clinic sets out to provide the practical tools, techniques and insights we need to become more empathetic.

10 October
Tallawoladah Lawn, near MCA, The Rocks
In an event for Mental Health Day, Lifeline’s crisis support team host one-to-one informal conversations addressing anything you want to ask about suicide and mental distress.

27 Sept-16 Nov, Mon-Sat 10am-5pm
UNSW Galleries
Edge of the Present is an immersive virtual reality environment that cultivates the capacity for future thinking. Inspired by suicide survivors and neuropsychological research, this exhibit is led by artist Alex Davies.

17 Oct, 6.30pm Panel Talk with 8pm Concert
City Recital Hall, Angel Place
Daughters is a world premiere song-cycle by librettist Tammy Brennan and composer David Chisholm that uses the haunting form of Portuguese fado, to follow a powerful journey tracing the effects of gender violence.

16 Oct, 5.30pm-9.00pm
Art Gallery of NSW
The Art Gallery of NSW hosts The Big Anxiety 2019 for a series of events which include Uti Kulintjaku, The Listening Panel, Black Rhymes and more.

27 Sept – 3 Nov
Bradfield TAFE; also Chandos St & Atchison Lane, St Leonards
Artist Cameron Cripps-Kennedy, poet Omar Sakr and students of Bradfield College stage poetic conversations across the external walls of buildings in St Leonards.

23 Oct, 6.30pm
Lower Ground Floor, City of Sydney Town Hall
The acclaimed British novelist and former mental health nurse argues that it is time to rethink mental health labels and anti-stigma campaigns.

For more information on the full program please click here

Click here to download the media release

Image: Rhett Hammerton, © NPY Women’s Council