27 Sep 2019 — 9 Nov 2019

Discussion, exhibition viewing, video
Saturday 9 November 12-4:45pm at UNSW Paddington.


VENUE: UNSW Art & Design

Program of participatory events reflecting on and challenging ideas about ageing convened by the Ageing Futures Institute, UNSW for The Big Anxiety 2019.


The Big Anxiety has partnered with The Ageing Futures Institute, UNSW, for a thought-provoking and iconoclastic program of events representing different views on ageing and what it is to ‘be old’, while challenging the stigma of ageism.

Artists, designers, social commentators and speakers join local councils and communities to explore the joys and anxieties of ageing today, in workshops, panel discussions and with interactive public artworks taking place between 27 September and 9 November 2019.

You’ll meet Viv, a character created from interviews with women with dementia, in the pioneering interactive animation, The Visit – and hear about ageing emerging from the margins in our panel discussion, The Razz. It Feels like Home transforms the thoughts and emotions of Woollahra seniors into visual art, while MATRIX is a new way for older people to share their experiences of and responses to the art of The Big Anxiety.

Credits: The Big Anxiety Ageing Program and Ageing Futures Institute are working with Woollahra Municipal Council; Holdsworth Community Centre; TWT; the Bridging Hope Charity Foundation: Ryde Council; North Sydney Council; Willoughby Council; and the Black Dog Institute, UNSW.

The Ageing Program includes:

The Visit

an avatar of an old woman in a kitchen

The Visit (from the confabulations project), an interactive media artwork created with women with dementia, exploring their experiences of the way in which people perceive and interact with those with a diagnosis. We meet ‘Viv’ as she talks about her life, her health and her concerns. The Visit is on show at THE EMPATHY CLINIC throughout the festival with special engagement events for seniors, carers and people living with dementia.

The Razz

Sandra standing in front of grey background, hands clasped

Saturday 9 November 12:30pm – 4:30pm – The Razz

An afternoon of events challenging stereotypes of ageing. Does anyone get “old” anymore?

Once associated with conservatism and conformity, the ageing population at some point stopped conforming. Those reaching retirement age today have lived through 60s counterculture, through punk, disco, new romantic and rave culture. They’ve always had their own music, their own identity – they were defined against the stereotype of the old guard. Babyboomers it seems are living up to the exhortation of Dylan Thomas’ famous poem that “Old age should burn and rave at close of day”.

The Razz , 1:30pm-3pm, celebrates this enduring drive to rave with a panel discussion embracing the diversity of ageing experiences in a range of communities including LGBTQI, migrants, and those living with HIV+.

Caroline Baum, writer, journalist, former broadcaster, curator and photographer and host of the COTA 2019 Policy forum on ageism and relationships, will moderate the Razz panel discussion. Speakers Lloyd Grosse aka DJ Butt Naked, Elaine Paton, Robyn Kennedy and Sandra Pankhurst will explore the experience of homelessness, and of feminism and ageing

The Razz will include a private gallery viewing of the interactive artwork Confabulations, and a screening of the documentary Becoming Colleen. Followed by a Q&A with Director Ian W Thomson 4pm-4:30pm.

Bios can be found at The Razz.


It Feels Like Home
Woollahra Library at Double Bay: An interactive game developed by Games for Emotional and Mental Health (GEMH) Lab, Netherlands with opportunities for intergenerational engagement of brain health and mental wellbeing 4th October 10am-3pm.
Paddington Library: An interactive engagement  6 November 10am-3pm with artists talk at 11am-12pm.
Double Bay: An interactive engagement 7 November 10am-3pm.
Watsons Bay: An interactive engagement 8 November 3pm-5pm.

Woollahra Municipal Council in partnership with The Big Anxiety has supported a community project examining views of home and belonging among ‘senior’ citizens. A series of creative workshops and discussion has culminated in an interactive visualisation of the words and emotions of ageing.

The visualisation will be on view at Double Bay, Paddington and Watson Bay Libraries and accompanied by an interactive engagement with artist Laura Jade’s Brainlight. The artwork explores how technology can aesthetically interface with the mind. An EMOTIV EPOC+ EEG headset detects live neural activity from the user’s brain, translating it into a vivid and dynamic light display within the brain sculpture. In addition Double Bay Library will host MindLight, DEEP, and HitnRun, Games for Emotional and Mental Health presented by GEMH-lab.

See and hear about the pleasures and anxieties of ageing, from real people in their own words, in artworks on view at Woollahra Libraries .

Partner: Woollahra Municipal Council.



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. The Matrix sessions will culminate in a communal creative work.

A series of MATRIX sessions will be run throughout The Big Anxiety at the Bridging Hope Big Anxiety Hub, St Leonards, Lane Cove,  at the Art Space on the Concourse Chatswood, and at venues around Sydney.

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 gail.kenning@unsw.edu.au

Credit: The Ageing Program and Age Futures Insitute is working with Woollahra Municipal Council; Holdsworth Community Centre; TWT; the Bridging Hope Charity Foundation: Ryde Council; North Sydney Council; Willoughby Council; and the Black Dog Institute, UNSW.