Immersive projects curated by UNSW A&D Senior Lecturer Dr Caleb Kelly and creative artists from the National Institute of Experimental Art (NIEA) were highly commended at the 2018 Museums & Galleries of NSW IMAGinE awards. 

Dr Kelly’s multiform project, Material Sound, received two highly commended awards, while NIEA’s Awkward Conversations received a highly commended for its inevitably awkward and influential project. 

Material Sound drew together six art practitioners who created an experience of sound with installations constructed from everyday materials. Handmade instruments, electronics, recycled electronic components, outmoded technologies, fake technologies, imagined sounds and silences formed a series of dynamic installations and experiences that challenged the way we think about materiality in a sound experience. 

The core elements of the project, an exhibition and a program of performances and workshops, all contributed to Dr Kelly’s success with two awards. 

NIEA’s Awkward Conversations project delved into the complex and topical conversations on mental health. The project ignited a partnership between artists, the community and mental health experts to help amplify communication of mental health to the local community.  

The inspiring artists took the task of making mental health conversations a little more inviting, stimulating and meaningful by sparking one-on-one conversations publicly at city spots in Sydney. The interactive project broke new barriers on the awareness of mental health, and how initiating a simple one-on-one conversation has the potential to save lives. 

Awkward Conversations was showcased as part of The Big Anxiety festival – a ground-breaking initiative from UNSW and the Black Dog Institute. 

Promoting curiosity, awareness and action, The Big Anxiety brings together artists, scientists and the community to reposition the state of mental health in modern Australia. The inaugural seven-week event was the biggest mental health and arts festival in the world, and highly commended by the arts sector and industry partners. 

Find out more about The Big Anxiety Festival.