The Deconstructed Breakfast
The Deconstructed Breakfast
In partnership with The Sunshine Coast Creative Alliance and The Big Anxiety, Horizon Festival presents The Deconstructed Breakfast. The Big Anxiety brings together artists, scientists and communities to question and re-imagine the state of mental health in the 21st century.
With guest speakers Professor Jill Bennett and artist Debra Keenahan, The Deconstructed Breakfast will create a space and conversation that promotes curiosity, awareness and action and facilitates the rich engagements needed for our collective mental health.
Unlocking memories of institutional ‘care’. Parragirls Past, Present is a deeply moving virtual reality experience, presenting former residents’ visions of the Parramatta Girls Home today. A collaboration between The Big Anxiety and Parragirls, media artists rewrite the public history of the former child welfare institution, unsettling myth and memory. The stories will be told through VR headsets and will be available to listen to after the Breakfast.
About Professor Jill Bennett
Professor Jill Bennett is founding Director of The Big Anxiety. She is a writer, curator and multimedia producer who develops immersive media projects in areas relating to mental health, memory and trauma. She is Professor and Director of the National Institute for Experimental Arts (NIEA) at University of NSW, Sydney and in 2017 was awarded the Australian Research Council’s Laureate Fellowship for her work in the field of ‘experience visualisation’. Jill will discuss the role of the largest arts and mental health festival, and the theme for 2019, which is Empathy. Intersecting with this is focus on lived experience of mental health, trauma, distress, stigma, and a program of Awkward Conversations designed to enhance Listening, as well as a number of projects focusing on suicide prevention.
About Debra Keenahan
Debra is never nobody. She’s always looked at, she’s often stared at, she’s commented about, and sometimes laughed at. What she really wants is to be spoken ‘with’. Debra has achondroplasia (dwarfism) and wants to help people to get comfortable with diversity. As an artist, psychologist and academic, Debra’s work focusses upon the personal/social impacts of disability. She uses 2D and 3D art methods to represent the manifestation of dignity in the disability aesthetic. Debra lectures at Western Sydney University in Humanitarian and Development Studies, her first PhD was in Psychology on the subject of Dehumanization. Debra is currently studying for her second PhD in Visual Arts at Art & Design UNSW, her research focuses upon developing a Critical Disability Aesthetic through the representation of the female dwarf.
The arts present an opportunity to creatively engage with people on issues which are challenging, considered too difficult for everyday conversations, or simply outside the mainstream. At the Deconstructed Breakfast Debra will talk about one such subject for which she has a deep passion - Disability Aesthetics. Through discussing her artistic practice focussing upon her lived experience as a woman with dwarfism, Debra will talk about her alternative approach to and definition of Disability Aesthetics as much more than representation of physical difference.