Catching up on 2019 The Big Anxiety – only one week to go!

If you haven’t caught up with The Big Anxiety yet, jump on to their website for the latest in in talks, installations and experiences. This exciting multi-site festival encourages us to comprehend the huge spectrum of mental illness, from individual and community anxiety all the way to suicide, through the intricate prism of our shared humanity.

Because People are not Science, says The Big Anxiety’s Festival Director, Professor Jill Bennett, we are presenting new ways of thinking, imagining, feeling and acting. This new approach embraces the Arts as an essential component in Health, because only the Arts offer the profound understanding of the complexity of lived experience.

The inclusion of artists’ perspectives of pain, joy, stigma, fear and discrimination ensures that other ways of knowing emerge from the bottom up. The Arts + Health + Science partnerships that evolve from such models consequently develop highly idiosyncratic projects, from which emerge unique insights into feeling, as it shifts from shame to shared. Technology can then connect us and reinterpret our experience, enabling empathy to colour our appreciation of fragility. So, through the Arts + Health + Science partnership we can potentially heighten our awareness of the random interplay of mutable relationships that lead to crisis.

For the first time Festival funding sourced from the Health sector exceeds that from the Arts, a sure sign of a shift in an appreciation of the multifaceted nature of wellness. Mental illness, says Professor Bennett, is not only cured in the health sector.

Posted by Dr Linden Wilkinson.