The Big Anxiety Melbourne

The Big Anxiety brings together audiences and creative thinkers – including artists, scientists, researchers, health and community workers, and people with a wide range of lived experiences.

Co-directed by Renata Kokanovic and Jill Bennett, The Big Anxiety Festival addresses the key mental health issues of our time through a variety of arts-based experiences and encourages conversation around mental health. The festival presents a series of immersive, performative and community developed cultural experiences drawing from significant research, allowing the general public to understand more about the lived experience of mental health concerns in the community in a way that is accessible to all.

Whether through hi-tech interactive environments, stage performances or one-to-one dialogues, our goal is to create and showcase the rich engagements we need for our collective mental health. Our Melbourne program highlights include the festival's Awkward Conversations program – one-to-one conversations designed to break down the barriers to a good conversation about mental health, a showcase of Creative Media tools for Mental Health at ACMI; an Australian world-first Virtual Reality experience for suicide prevention and mood change at Warburton; a large scale work at Fed Square by Australian-American multimedia artist Anita Glesta; performances and a Speaker Series co-presented with The Wheeler Centre at RMIT's stunning art deco theatre on Swanston Street, The Capitol; and Trauma, Knowledge & Feeling: New Kinds of Archives, a series of exhibitions throughout RMIT University's gallery spaces exploring and imagining new ways to communicate and record the affective and ongoing dimensions of trauma. The RMIT exhibitions will also include a Children's Sensorium at Design Hub Gallery, aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of young children through contemporary art practices that activate the senses.

Produced by RMIT Culture, in collaboration with UNSW, the Social and Global Studies Centre and CAST.

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.