/ Panel Discussion



National Art School Cell Block Theatre

156 Forbes Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010

National Art School Cell Block Theatre

156 Forbes Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010



Due to the current NSW Covid cases and unfolding circumstances at this time, we regret to advise we will be postponing the Frame of Mind: keynote speech and panel discussion events.
We value the health and well-being of our guests and participants and will work towards rescheduling these events at the National Art School in the near future.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic more attention than ever has been focussed on issues of mental health. The arts play a vital role in sustaining and supporting the ‘mental wealth’ of all Australians, yet artists face unique challenges when it comes to sustaining their own mental health and wellbeing.

Hosted by writer, actor and DJ Faustina Agolley, this dynamic panel of artists and experts bring a diverse set of perspectives to this vital issue. Through interdisciplinary conversation that bridges interstate divides they will explore the mental health challenges faced by artists, how artists contribute to our understanding of mental health through their work, and how we can better support the mental wellbeing of the creative industries.

Join us at 1.30pm for a keynote address by artist Hiromi Tango about her art and research.

The Frame of Mind: Mental health and the arts panel discussion will commence at 2.30pm.


Faustina Agolley

The panel discussion will be hosted by Faustina Agolley. Faustina’s work includes hosting flagship music program Video Hits, The Voice and the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. She made her stage debut with Sydney Theatre Company and Melbourne Theatre Company’s co-production of the Molière award-winning play, The Father alongside theatre luminary, John Bell and toured Australia and New Zealand as Oprah Winfrey’s resident DJ her ‘An Evening with Oprah Tour’. Faustina has written on queer issues and mental health for Women of Letters (Penguin), Huffington Post, Sunday Life, Queerstories and The Wheeler Centre Gala. Faustina’s story, Sam, explores loss, grief and her African identity, and is part of the first collection of African Australian stories in Australian Letters called Growing Up African in Australia. Faustina is a graduate of Media and Communications at The University of Melbourne and Media Studies at RMIT University.


Hiromi Tango

Hiromi Tango has been engaging dynamically at the intersection between art and mental health for over ten years. Drawing on her own experiences of anxiety, the artist’s elaborate installations and performances allow audiences to consider the embodied self, the emotional terrain of our relationships with others, and the healing possibilities of art. She has collaborated with numerous scientists, health professionals and research and research institutions and has exhibited the products of these collaborations both locally and internationally. In both her studio practice and her community engagement projects Tango dedicates herself to exploring how various aspects of the art-making process can contribute to positive mental wellbeing.


Tyrown Waigana

Perth multidisciplinary artist Tyrown Waigana is a Wandandi Noongar (Aboriginal) and Ait Koedhal (Torres Strait Islander) man. His work examines the intersection of myths, legends and everyday life, spanning painting, sculpture, animation and design, melding colourful abstraction with pop culture and Indigenous art references. In 2020 he won the prestigious NAIDOC poster competition and NAIDOC award for Perth Artist of the Year and published his first comic book The Rest Of Your Life’s Gonna Be Shit. He will travel to Sydney to talk to NAS students about his work and to lend his perspectives to our panel discussion.


Dr Debra Keenahan

Dr Debra Keenahan is a visual artist, psychologist, academic and author. Her achondroplasia dwarfism informs her art, teaching and writing by focusing upon the personal and social impacts of disability. In her art practice Debra uses both 2D and 3D methods to represent disability aesthetics which is the subject of her second PhD she is completing at UNSW Art & Design. This subject area is a constructive response to her earlier work in psychology on de- humanization. Debra has exhibited in both group and solo exhibitions and she has been the sole and co-author of a book, book chapters, articles and conference papers. Currently, Debra lectures at Western Sydney University in Humanitarian and Development Studies. She has been a consultant to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission on issues of Disability.


Professor Katherine Boydell

Katherine Boydell is a Professor of Mental Health at the Black Dog Institute. She is also a Professor in Faculty of Medicine, School of Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, and Adjunct Professor, Graduate Program in Theatre at York University, Toronto. She heads the Black Dog Institute’s Arts-based Knowledge Translation (AKT) Lab, an initiative through which artists collaborate with researchers, service providers, health consumers, and carers. She is also Director of Knowledge Translation for the Sydney Partnership for Health Education Research and Enterprise (SPHERE). Her research program focuses on arts-based knowledge translation – exploring use of the arts in the research process to create and disseminate research. A sample of current projects include Arts on Prescription, exploring the ways engagement with the arts impact mental health and well-being and social inclusion in individuals with depression, body mapping with women impacted by mental illness, disability, or refugee status, photovoice with women with physical disability, and film-based research with young people with lived experience of mental illness and drug misuse. She has published more than 250 articles, book chapters and books.


Professor Ian Hickie AM

Professor Ian Hickie is Co-Director, Health and Policy at The University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre. He is an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow (2013-2017 and 2018-22), having previously been one of the inaugural NHMRC Australian Fellows (2008-12). He was an inaugural Commissioner on Australia’s National Mental Health Commission (2012-18) overseeing enhanced accountability for mental health reform and suicide prevention. He is an internationally renowned researcher in clinical psychiatry, with particular reference to medical aspects of common mood disorders, depression and bipolar disorder. In his role with the National Mental Health Commission, and his independent research, health system and advocacy roles, Professor Hickie has been at the forefront of the move to have mental health and suicide prevention integrated with other aspects of health care (notably chronic disease and ambulatory care management).