Co-presented with Arts Health Network NSW/ACT [AHNNA].

Panel Discussion: What is experiential visualisation and why do we need it?

The panel will discuss why creativity is the key to a trauma integrated, culturally responsive approach to mental health – focusing in particular on intergenerational trauma and the new VR experience, Perinatal Dreaming. We’ll explore the concept of experience-led inquiry – and why experiential visualisation can enable us to both work with our trauma and understand its social and historical determinants.

Launch of Perinatal Dreaming: Understanding Country.

Celebrate the Australian launch of Perinatal Dreaming: Understanding Country, a ground-breaking virtual reality experience developed by fEEL (felt Experience and Empathy Lab) and led by Marianne Wobcke. As one of thousands of Indigenous children forcibly removed from her mother at birth, Marianne has spent her career researching and supporting perinatal and intergenerational trauma, focusing especially on work with mothers and babies.

The VR artwork presents a visually stunning immersive audio-visual experience evoking early life in the womb and entry into the world, taking us through experiences the ‘good’ and ‘toxic’ womb and first encounters with breast, skin and the world. Designed as a unique art experience, the piece can also be used in conjunction with therapeutic work.

Book Launch: The Big Anxiety – Taking Care of Mental Health in Times of Crisis

The event combines the launch event of The Big Anxiety – Taking Care of Mental Health in Times of Crisis (Bloomsbury, 2022). This book takes a creative approach in examining one of the biggest crises of our time: that of mental suffering, distress and anxiety. By bringing together essays and dialogues from thinkers and artists across a range of disciplines, it re-imagines approaches to crisis, support, and care.

Amid growing recognition that mental health is not only the province of psychiatry and the health sector, but a concern for the whole community, the book opens up critical new ways of thinking about our internal lives and the forces that affect them. Featuring both theoretical and practical examples of the value of using imagination in response to trauma, anxiety, and depression, The Big Anxiety shows how creativity is not a luxury, but a means of survival.

Includes a range of artists/writers/presenters from The Big Anxiety festivals including Siri Hustvedt, Claudia Rankine, Evelyn Araluen, Noreen Giffney, Lynn Froggett, Marianne Wobcke, Jill Bennett, fEEL Lab, Uti Kulintjaku – and discussion of Big Anxiety works such as Edge of the Present and Awkward Conversations. Join us to celebrate the launch of a book that proposes creative and transformative approaches to care and support.


Jill Bennett

Jill Bennett is Scientia Professor, Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and Founding Director of the Big Anxiety Research Centre [BARC] and The Big Anxiety festival. She leads fEEL, the Felt Experience & Empathy Lab, developing Experiential Visualisation with a focus on trauma and mental health.





Marianne Wobcke

Marianne Wobcke (BARC) is a nurse, midwife and award-winning artist, born on Turrbal land with maternal connections to Girrimay mob from North Queensland. Her program of culturally connected birthing practices and trauma recovery is grounded in radical creativity, aiming to break the cycles of trauma that are the inheritance of colonial violence in Indigenous communities. Marianne is the 2021 recipient of the Australia Council Ros Bower Award for Community Arts and Cultural Development.




Claire Hooker

Claire Hooker is Associate Professor in Health and Medical Humanities at Sydney Health Ethics and President of the Arts Health Network NSW/ACT.


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