The Big Anxiety welcomes all visitors to our events, making every effort to ensure that our program is inclusive and accessible for our audience.

Events with Auslan

MCA Art is for Everyone Weekend
28 & 29 September, 11am — 4pm, MCA

Art*People*Care: A Long Table with Project Art Works
2 October, 6pm, MCA

Art After Hours – The Listening Panel
16 October, 6.30pm (Centenary Auditorium) AGNSW

Nathan Filer – The Language of Madness
23 October, 6:30pm, Lower Ground Floor Town Hall

Awkward Conversations
12 and 13 October at Customs House. Two sessions: 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm. Counsellors on site.

Auslan is provided by request for the Awkward Conversations program. If attending the Awkward Conversation sessions please indicate your access request at time of Booking or email Requests for Auslan interpreter close 10 Oct.

S-Word Awkward Conversations with Lifeline
World Mental Health Day 10 October – Auslan interpreters onsite between 8am – 10am.  Counsellors on site. Tallawoladah Lawn (outside MCA), The Rocks.

Deaf-led Tour of The Empathy Clinic

Join Sue Wright and The Big Anxiety Curator Dr Bec Dean for a Deaf-led tour of The Empathy Clinic on 9 Nov, 11am-1pm at UNSW Galleries, Paddington. Bookings essential HERE

The Razz – Panel Discussion with Sandra Pankhurst
9 November, 1:30pm, UNSW Art and Design Campus, Paddington

PODCASTS (visit our Soundcloud here)

The Big Anxiety 2019 Podcast Series

listen_up with r e a and Judy Atkinson

art*people*care Long Table with Project Artworks

Counsellors present

Awkward Conversations
12 and 13 October at Customs House. Two sessions: 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm. Counsellors on site.

S-Word Awkward Conversations with Lifeline
World Mental Health Day 10 October –Counsellors on site. Tallawoladah Lawn (outside MCA), The Rocks.

Don’t Rush Home

‘Don’t Rush Home’ is a concept adapted from First Fortnight, a festival in Ireland that uses arts and culture to challenge mental health stigma while supporting vulnerable people through creative therapies. The idea is that no one should leave the festival feeling upset, distressed, concerned or confused. We hope that visitors have positive and beneficial experiences but we recognise that complex material or feelings need processing – and very often an experience is enhanced by discussion. Downloadable Guide PDF here.

Lived Experience Programs

Edge of the Present is designed as an enjoyable sensory experience for all audiences (no bookings needed).

Additionally, for people with lived experience of suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety and/or other mental health issues, the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention/Black Dog Institute is organising an additional program of engagements. These include:

  • Guided sessions testing the mental health benefits of Edge of the Present. If you are interested in participating, please contact Stephanie Habak –
  • A ‘visual matrix’ for people with lived experience. The visual matrix is psychosocial method of engaging with and analysing the impact of aesthetic experience. This session will be lead by Prof Lynn Froggett (UK) on Monday 21 October. If you are interested in participating, please contact Stephanie Habak –

Ageing Program 

MATRIX is a shared creative experience for senior members of the community. As part of the MATRIX experience guests will be escorted on a personal tour of major art works in The Big Anxiety. Guests will then invited to share responses in a thought-provoking, facilitated session, when we will discuss  associations, emotions, and thoughts about the art in the context of life experiences.

HOW TO ENROL: To join a MATRIX as an individual or as a group, check this page for updates of times and places, and register by emailing

Identifying lived experience

We usually avoid classifying projects and people by a single experience, illness or diagnosis. However, to make it easy for people to seek out events that are of relevance to their own lives, here’s a guide to some of the topics/experiences covered:


Wart, The Empathy Clinic & Awkward Conversations

Nathan Filer, The Language of Madness

Hearing Voices workshop, Empathy Clinic and Town Hall

Psychiatric hospital treatment

Wart, The Empathy Clinic

Amanda McDowell, The Empathy Clinic

Javier Tellez, Nosferatu

Hospital experience

Grant Jonathan

John Douglas and Stella Topaz

Suicidality and Depression

The S Word with Lifeline

Edge of the Present

Self Harm

Daniel Regan, photography workshop

Trans Experience

Bhenji Ra, Awkward Conversations

Becoming Colleen, The Razz

Sandra Pankhurst interviewed by Caroline Baum, The Razz

Trauma and mental health in Indigenous communities

After After Hours, AGNSW with Evelyn Araluen, Black Rhymes, Uti Kulintjaku

R e a and Judy Atkinson, Listen_UP in the Empathy Clinic

Amala Groom, Awkward Conversations

Uti Kulintjaku performance in conference, Anxiety-Culture-Future


Debra Keenahan, The Empathy Clinic (and in conference, Anxiety-Culture-Future)

Debra Keenahan, Awkward Conversations

Sam Ker-Phillips, The Empathy Clinic

Art is for Everyone, MCA


Project Art Works, MCA

Studio A, Home

Art*People*Care, MCA


The Visit, Empathy Clinic

The Ageing Program

Domestic Violence/Abuse


Sleeplessness, Karen Therese

Long Table: Women and Power

Recovery from trauma or mental illness


Beneath the Stigma

Daniel Regan, photography workshop/Awkward Conversation


The Empathy Clinic

Leigh Ledare in conversation with Lynn Froggett

The Listening Panel, AGNSW

Course of Empathy


Auslan Interpreted Performance

Auslan interpreted performances are for audiences who are Deaf and use Australian Sign Language (Auslan). Selected events at The Big Anxiety will be Auslan interpreted.

Wheelchair Accessible

Venues in the 2019 program are wheelchair accessible, unless otherwise stated.

Tactile Tour

Selected events at The Big Anxiety will provide tactile tours.

Audio Description

Selected events at The Big Anxiety will be audio described.

Open Captions

The Big Anxiety has provided captioning on video content where possible.

Accessible Print

The Big Anxiety can make information available in large print if required.