About

The Big Anxiety brings together creative thinkers – including artists, scientists, health and community workers, and people with lived experience — to re-imagine mental health care for the 21st century.

A radically new kind of arts festival, in which every project is an open and continuing conversation, designed to promote curiosity, insight and action, The Big Anxiety presents arts events, tackling the major anxieties of our times, as well as the practical challenges of supporting emotional distress, trauma recovery and suicide prevention. Whether through hi-tech interactive environments or one-to-one dialogues, our goal is to create the rich engagements we need for our collective mental health.

The Big Anxiety was founded in 2016 by UNSW Sydney in association with the Black Dog Institute and partners in the cultural, education and health sectors. 

The Big Anxiety Brisbane is an initiative of UNSW, Metro South Health and Momentum Arts. From this partnership we have developed The Big Reach, extending across SE Queensland and the Darling Downs with a focus on mental health in regional and rural areas.

Breaking with the traditional model of a contemporary arts festival, which favours new and different themes for each iteration, The Big Anxiety fosters ‘slow build’, integrated programming, themes that continue to evolve from one festival to another, and continuity of research and practice, maintaining relationships with artists and communities over time.

The Big Reach in Queensland, now in 2022, will be followed by events in Melbourne and regional Victoria to be announced in 2022.

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