The Big Anxiety Festival

The Big Anxiety Festival repositions mental health as a collective, cultural responsibility rather than simply a medical issue. As a partner, RMIT will be hosting events and exhibitions.

This radically new kind of festival explores how we can use creative resources to tackle the major anxieties of our times, as well as addressing the practical challenges of supporting emotional distress and trauma recovery.

The festival presents a series of immersive, performative and community developed cultural experiences drawing from significant research, allowing participants to understand more about lived experience of mental health concerns in the community in a way that is accessible to all.  

RMIT is proud to be partnering with UNSW in bringing The Big Anxiety to Melbourne, helping convene important societal conversations around how we can be responsible for taking direct action in removing the stigma associated with mental health experiences.


Big Anxiety Festival Events

All festival events, exhibitions and performances hosted by or held at RMIT spaces are free to attend.

Archives of Feeling

Icon / Small / Calendar Created with Sketch. 19 Aug 2022 - 10 Dec 2022

Archives of Feeling explores the various ways that artists and communities transform lived experiences of trauma into new archives of knowledge and feeling.

Children's Sensorium: Art, play and mindfulness for a post-pandemic recovery

Icon / Small / Calendar Created with Sketch. 19 Aug 2022 - 08 Oct 2022

The Children’s Sensorium is an interactive exhibition featuring light, colour, touch, sound, smell and taste to activate children’s curiosity, connect them to local Kulin country, and introduce strategies and techniques that support emotional resilience and wellbeing.

Mental Jam

Icon / Small / Calendar Created with Sketch. 19 Sep 2022 - 30 Oct 2022

Michelle Chen’s Mental Jam is a collection of video games co-created with young people about their lived experiences of depression and anxiety.

The Big Anxiety - Full Festival Program

Icon / Small / Calendar Created with Sketch. 21 Sep 2022 - 15 Oct 2022

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. For the full festival program visit the link above.

The Big Anxiety Forum - Learning from lived experience

Icon / Small / Calendar Created with Sketch. 06 Oct 2022 - 07 Oct 2022

An immersive 2-day forum for anyone interested in the complexities of mental and emotional health from lived experience perspectives.

Awkward Conversations

Icon / Small / Calendar Created with Sketch. 07 Oct 2022 - 08 Oct 2022

Awkward Conversations offers one-on-one conversations in experimental formats, tackling anxieties, habits and hard-to-talk about subjects like mental health.


Icon / Small / Calendar Created with Sketch. 15 Oct 2022

Takeover is a program of public events that celebrates the agency of our communities of diverse young and emerging creatives and creates the opportunity to take back public spaces following Melbourne’s successive COVID-19 lockdowns.

Honor Eastly: No Feeling is Final

Icon / Small / Calendar Created with Sketch. 15 Oct 2022

Drawing on stories from Honor Eastly’s critically-acclaimed ABC podcast of the same name, this groundbreaking performance memoir about the lived experience of suicidality is brought to life with video and projection visuals.

A smiley face painted on a road.

Support and resources

The Big Anxiety aims to foster a practice of ‘bottom up’ engagement, focusing on lived experiences of mental health, trauma and suicidality. Access resources to help support your own mental health and wellbeing below.

Students: Health, safety and wellbeing support services

Staff: Staff mental wellbeing and Mental Wellbeing Hub (login required)

Big Anxiety Festival News

Banner image: Awkward Conversations. Credit – Sherre Delys

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 - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.