A new significant gift from the Bridging Hope Charity Foundation (BHCF) will support the first philanthropy funded Research Fellow position at The Big Anxiety Research Centre. This position will play a pivotal role in developing innovative tools and programs to help support those dealing with mental health issues.
The newly established Big Anxiety Research Centre (BARC) builds upon the success of the Big Anxiety Festival, a pioneering arts and mental health festival, which thanks to the founding support of BHCF has been staged across multiple states. The Centre will act as a research and development hub for future Big Anxiety festivals.
Through the support of the BHCF, this new Fellowship position will broaden the Centre’s research scope and expand its 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 (CAFA) in Beijing.
“The establishment of this new Postdoctoral Research Fellow at BARC will advance our research into arts-based support for mental health,” says Scientia Professor Jill Bennett, Director of the Big Anxiety Research Centre. “We are especially excited to be building an important international partnership with CAFA in Beijing.”
The BHCF Research Fellow will develop innovative projects with direct impacts on mental wellbeing, shared with international audiences.
“Working closely with communities and people with lived experience, we aim to create transformative projects that can bring about real change” said Professor Bennett.
“We began our significant support of UNSW’s Big Anxiety Festival in 2017. We are delighted to continue to provide impactful support for such an innovative mental health initiative that focuses on the power of art. It really is wonderful that we can be instrumental in improving mental well-being on a broader scale, including internationally,” said Tina Tian, Founder of BHCF.
BARC is already home to a unique, multi-disciplinary team, dedicated to transforming thinking and practice in mental health through creative collaboration and cultural innovation. The team researches lived experience through a unique combination of trauma-informed, psychosocial research and creative practice, developing the rich communications and engagement practices society needs to understand, connect with and support everyday experiences of mental health, trauma and suicidality.
Recent projects from BARC include the design of immersive media tools for managing anxiety and emotion regulation; a world first virtual reality environment for suicide prevention; augmented reality storytelling with young people in disaster zones; and community projects focused on trauma support.
Bridging Hope Charity Foundation is committed to connecting mental health with the arts to make a culturally vibrant and healthy society. The Foundation was founded by Tina Tian, a passionate philanthropist in the fields of mental health and the arts. The team at BHCF look for innovative approaches in creating culturally relevant mental health initiatives based on considered research and modern technology. Naturally, the Big Anxiety is a perfect fit for extending the BHCF’s goals and ambitions.
To join the BARC team as a BHCF Research Fellow, head to Jobs@UNSW. Applications close on 22 November.