The Big Anxiety Festival, the biggest mental health and arts festival in the world, will explore and re-imagine the state of mental health in the 21st century. Leading national and international artists, scientists, technology experts and thinkers will assemble across Greater Sydney for The Big Anxiety Festival from 20 September to 11 November.

The Big Anxiety Festival is set to transform the ways people think about and deal with mental health via innovative experiences that include state-of-the-art immersive environments including the world’s highest-resolution 3D cinema, international art exhibitions, theatre and performance, contemporary dance, interactive media events and public forums for the entire family.

The festival will be launched to the media on Wednesday 20 September at 10.30am at National Institute for Experimental Arts, UNSW, Art & Design, Cnr Greens Rd & Oxford St, Paddington.

Speakers at the launch will be:

Executive & Artistic Director of the Festival, Professor Jill Bennett (UNSW)

Stephen Fitzpatrick, Director of the Bridging Hope Charity Foundation

Prof Katherine Boydell, Mental Health Lead from Black Dog Institute

On show for media:

Snoosphere — sensory environment

Employing autistic artists’ insight into hyper-sensitivity, Snoösphere is a responsive sensory environment to roam, touch and explore.

Available for interview: Elena Knox (artist) and Lindsay Webb (architect), Lull Studios and Dr Dawn Joy Leong (autistic artist and activist)

Group Therapy: mental distress in a digital age — exhibition

Group Therapy explores our emotional relationship with digital devices and how we experience these objects as anxiety-making but also highly seductive.

Available for interview: Vanessa Bartlett (curator) Lauren Moffatt, Jennifer Kanary Nikolova (artists, Netherland)

Parragirls Past, Present — 3D immersive cinema

Unlocking memories of institutional ‘care’, this is a deeply moving immersive experience featuring the world’s highest resolution 3D immersive environment. 

Available for interview: Lily Hibberd (Writer/Editor) and Bonney Djuric (Writer/Narrator)

Catch the Tiger — game played in responsive environment

A large-scale interactive game that challenges you to trap and release a tiger. This multi-sensory physical game is designed to test how we react to changes in our environment and to our own fluctuating anxiety levels.

Available for interview: Mari Velonaki (artist); David Rye (Engineer); Katherine Boydell (Professor of Mental Health)

Harmonic Oscillator — sound and video installation

A unique immersive installation that places you (the ‘patient’) on a hospital bed in the centre of a room. The Harmonic Oscillator surrounds you with a soundscape replicating the never-ending barrage to the senses one experiences when sleeping in a hospital ward. An overwhelming and intense experience that asks the question, “Is this the best way to heal?”

Available for interview: Vic McEwan (artist); Bec Dean (curator)

The Not Knowing of Another — video installation

Artist Kate Adams tracks a familiar walk taken by her son Paul from multiple angles to imagine what it’s like to explore the world through a state of profound cognitive difference. A video installation of screen images and sounds provides a glimpse into the ‘inner language’ of Paul’s experience.

Available for interview: Kate Adams (UK) Project Art Works

Mobile Mood Lab — converted ambulance

A converted ambulance travelling around Greater Sydney throughout the Big Anxiety Festival. Visitors lay down on a specially designed bed while wireless heart-rate sensors record changes in heart rate influenced by stress and relaxation responses. An intimate and mesmerising experience, accompanied by a live soundtrack of your own heartbeat.

Available for interview: George Khut (artist)

RSVP essential to:

Karla Bramanathan, The Exchange Agency 0431 424 922 or

Bruce Pollack, Pollack Consulting (02) 9331 5276 or