The Big Anxiety brings together artists, scientists and communities to question and reimagine the state of mental health in the 21st century.
A radically new kind of international arts festival, in which every project is an open conversation, designed to promote curiosity, awareness and action, The Big Anxiety features more than 60 events across Greater Sydney, tackling the major anxieties of our times, as well as the stresses and strains of everyday life.
Shaped around five program themes including Awkward Conversations, Lived Experience, Mood Experiments, Neurodiverse-city and Power & Institutions, The Big Anxiety is set to take place from 20 September – 11 November 2017 – at venues including Customs House in the city, Riverside House in Parramatta, UNSW Art & Design in Paddington and partners such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of NSW and the State Library of NSW.
Whether through hi-tech interactive environments or one-on-one dialogues, our goal is to create the rich engagements we need for our collective mental health.
The Big Anxiety festival is supported by a number of government and philanthropic funders including the Australian and NSW state governments with Principal Supporter Bridging Hope Charity Foundation, the Black Dog Institute and the Australia Council for the Arts.
Explore the Festival Themes
Embracing the awkwardness of human conversation, this program offers conversations in many different forms with the goal of connecting over hard-to-talk-about subjects like mental health.
The Lived Experiences program features creative initiatives that grapple with the nitty gritty of life – making sense of chaos, finding meaning in confusion, and contesting the labels that limit us.
How do environments affect our mood? Where high-tech meets mindfulness, the Mood Experiments program combines art + science + people to explore interactions within experimental mood labs, state-of-the-art responsive environments and multi-sensory rooms, as well as the simple, low-fi pleasures of meditation and sitting quietly.
Like cultural or gender diversity, neurodiversity is a reality, reflecting human variation — in this case, the spectrum of neurological difference. TheNeurodiverse-City is an aspirational place where such variation thrives.
Power & Institutions
This program asks What’s wrong with the system? The Power, Politics and Institutions program examines the impact of soulless institutions, toxic workplaces, systemic abuse and the struggle to maintain mental health and balance in our fast-paced, hyper-connected, society with its pressures, prejudices and expectations.