Dr Poppy de Souza (she/her) is the Bridging Hope Charity Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the UNSW Big Anxiety Research Centre. With a background in critical media and cultural studies, visual culture research and community arts & cultural development, both her practice and research explores the aesthetics, ethics, and politics of 'voice' and 'listening' in conditions of inequality and injustice with a focus on sites and practices of resistance and transformation. More recently, she has examined the relationship between sound, listening and racial (in)justice; sonic and sensory methodologies; acoustic violence and the 'white ear'; and the conditions of listening in settler colonial contexts. Poppy is currently developing a project that responds to collective grief, loss, debility and distress in pandemic times and beyond through the orienting concept of Holding Breath. The project will explore the unevenly shared and felt atmospheres of breathing, breath, and breathlessness and co-develop a series of listening-oriented experiments and creative exchanges with people living with chronic debilitation to build a webs of care, connection and solidarity across different thresholds of experience. Poppy is also working on a book project called Sensing the Carceral State with Dr. Emma Russell (La Trobe) which builds on their joint work, including sensory approaches to analysing the violence of (and resistance to) prisons, policing, and borders in the context of settler-colonial Australia.
A significant gift from the Bridging Hope Charity Foundation (BHCF) has supported the first philanthropy funded Research Fellow position at the UNSW Big Anxiety Research Centre (BARC). This position will play a pivotal role in developing innovative tools and programs to help support those dealing with mental health issues while broadening the Centre’s reach into diverse communities across Australia and internationally. BARC will join BHCF’s International Art Therapy Alliance, leveraging on their extensive networks with cultural organisations within China, such as The Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. Bridging Hope Charity Foundation is committed to connecting mental health with the arts to make a culturally vibrant and healthy society.