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Creative Conversations on Mental Health: 


be longing

Be Longing | Be … ing |




Event Date (Performances & Forum):

Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd September, 7pm

Exhibition Dates:

Wednesday 20th September - Sunday 1 October

Opening times:

Wednesday - Sunday 10AM - 4PM

+ Thursday 6-9PM


After a 3 year pandemic-related break, we’re excited to be picking up this event again to engage in conversations on mental health. Artists of different disciplines are invited to bring their unique perspectives and commentary by creating new work around the theme of ‘be longing’ as it relates to mental health. Artists will be joined by the voices of thinkers and practitioners who engage with these issues in different spheres.

The series will consist of a visual art exhibition and a performance and forum night. Visual art will be displayed in an exhibition at Annandale Creative Arts Centre (ACAC) over a week and short performance works will be presented alongside a forum of speakers on the evening of Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd September 2023, also at ACAC.

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Creative Conversations seeks to engage different voices in a public dialogue around issues that are facing our world. This is a quick response art project. Artists are invited to create a new work during the residency period in response to a common stimulus, in conversation and collaboration with each other, experts, practitioners and people with lived experience connected to the issue. 


Our inaugural Creative Conversations event Boundless Plains: Creative Conversations with Asylum Seekers, was held in August 2014. Boundless Plains saw over 30 visual and performing artists create new work in response to issues facing asylum seekers and over 250 people attend the exhibition and event and give generously to the work of the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown. Creative Conversations has since then continued the conversation in 2015 with Earth Hour: Creative Conversations on Climate Change in March, Creative Conversations with Asylum Seekers: A Temporary Life in July, toured to the Beyond Festival in October and joined in on the Newtown Festival in November. 

In 2016 we continued the conversation in response to the ongoing injustices faced by women globally
. Artists of different disciplines are invited to bring their unique perspective and commentary by creating new work around the theme of ‘ACCESS DENIED’.

In 2017 we reflected on Australia's behaviour as a Global Neighbour, asking the question are we doing our fair share in regards to our contributions to foreign aid and refugee intake and we are contributing more than our fair share to climate change? 

In 2018 we reflected on the role of creativity in pursing justice.

In 2019 we asked what is our relationship with the land we live upon, yesterday, today and tomorrow. 

They will be joined by the voices of thinkers and practitioners who engage with these issues in different spheres.

The series consisted of a visual art exhibition, performance evening with speakers, as well as opportunities to get involved and respond to the issues.

This project is designed to be quick response art, making work in conversation with others and the urgency of the current state of affairs. 


Creative Conversations is a project of Annandale Creative Arts Centre, an initiative of Newtown Mission.

Creative Conversations only happens because of the extraordinary energy and passion of volunteers. Let us know if you're interested in being a part of Creative Conversations in any way this year.

We would love to hear from you! Please share your stories, ideas, or contacts with us by sending an email at or a message on facebook at

Past Events

Land - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

2019 | September

In 2019 we asked the question, what does our relationship with land look like? How do we understand the history of these lands now called Australia, our relationship with the land we now live on and into the future. 

Performing artists included: Dian Neligan & Andrew Ottley, Rowan Savage (Guy Ruin), Leigh Fijian Youth, Stephen Davis, Renata Commisso, Claire Wall, Heather Prowse, Brooke Prentis & Helen Wright

Speakers included: Ofa (Milise) Foiakau, Rhanee Tsetsakos and Byron Smith

Global Neighbours: Fair Share?

2017 | 17 September - 1 October

In 2017

We may be the country of a fair go, but are we willing to do our fair share?

This Creative Conversation brought together artists, performers, activists and thinkers to reflect on our role as neighbours in our global society.

Performers included: Keila Terencio, Colleen O'Connell, Gabi Powell Thomas, Selen Bekri, Rosnir Bottini, Cherie Lee and Zoe Hale, Becky Everist, Steve Koroknay, Tim Everist and Mark Horsley, Steve Davis, Pauline Manley, Katrina Breuker, Bonnie Cowan, Gabriel Lawrence, Rachell Dade and Ellana Costa, Bonnie Curtis, Kate Garrett, Kristy Maskell, Sara Moad, Steph Wyburn and Johnny Ross

Visual Artists Included: Josephine Schreuder, Tamsin Salehian, Jayanto Damanik Tan, James Hallihan, Kiki Tse, Nathan W Burke, Tom Burke, Digby Webster, Hannah Robertson, Aaron Moore, Vittoria Oriana, Esme Buxton, Women’s Creative Group (Anuradha Jayaseelan, Latha Seeniraj, Smitha Shankavaram & Lokeswari Devi Mangalagiri), Leila Biigli, Rose Downie, Carlos Agamez

Temporary Life

2015 | 30 June - 7 July

In 2015 we continued the conversation in response to the ongoing situation in our nation for those seeking asylum. Artists of different disciplines brought their unique perspective and commentary by creating new work around the theme of ‘A Temporary Life’. They were joined by the voices of thinkers and practitioners who engage with these issues in different spheres such as policy, lobbying and protest, working on the ground with asylum seekers as well as asylum seekers themselves.

Funds raised and goods collected supported the work of the Asylum Seeker Centre based in Newtown.

Visual Artists included: Janelle Bray (drawing), Tammy Burnstock (childrens writer), Stella Chen (installation), Chidzey (installation), Stephen Davis (poetry), Rebekah Delaney (ceramics), Family seeking asylum (painted ceramics), Alana Elliot (installation), Lauren Fraser (wallpaper), Carlos Garcia (installation), Caitlin Hodder (costume), Jessica Hodgkinson (printmaking), Nazanin Marashian (mixed media), Fereshteh Pezeshki (painting), Ravi: artist in detention (drawing), Gina Roberts (installation), Syed Roohullah Mosawi (painting), Anna Russell (painting), Devasha Scott (drawing), Mahmoud Salameh (graphic art), Digby Webster (painting)

Performing artists included: 

Steve Cooper (music), Rachell Dade (dance) & Keila Terencio (theatre), Zoe Hale (theatre), Aaron Moore (film), Isaac Owen, Clare Burgess & Just Drama (theatre), Jesse Dempsey (music), Tamara Argall (dance), God Queen (music), Bella Ann Townes (poetry & film)

Speakers included: 

Che Bishop (Asylum Seekers Centre), Ruth Hartcher O'Brien (Treehouse Theatre), Victoria Hughes (Asylum Seekers Centre), Chantelle Ogilvie-Ellis (Sydney Alliance), Jackie Ruddock (The Social Outfit), Gerry Grove-White (Supporting Asylum Seekers Sydney), Zeina Iaali (Refugee Art Project), Jody Lightfoot (Common Grace), Raphael Manirakiza (WIN)

Creative Conversations at Newtown

2015 | 01 - 08 November

Creative Conversations came to Newtown to share alongside the Newtown festival.

Works from the previous projects were shared and conversations continued.

Performing artists included:
Troy Wong, Kirsty Elwell, Dan Hopkins, Helen Wright, Steve Davis, Just Drama, Emotive Arts and Nardine & Inkflowz

Live music on King St included:
Three Girls and A Beard, Cathy Middleton & Chris Mayes, Dan Hopkins, Kirsty Elwell and Alphamama.


Visual artists included: Carlos Agamez, Janelle Bray, Rozee Cutrone, Rose Downie, Alana Elliot, Lauren Fraser, Nazanin Marashian, Heath McGregor, Aaron Moore, Fereshteh Pezeshki, Syed Roohullah Mosawi, Anna Russell, Mahmoud Salameh, Devasha Scott, Mary Van Den Berk, Sarah Woodward, Digby Webster and Sarah Yates.

The Role of Creativity in Social Transformation

2018 | 08 - 22 September

In 2018 we took a step back and decided to look at a different type of question. What is the role of creativity on social transformation? Artists from previous years shared some of their works again and were joined by two panels, a panel of artists and a panel of advocates.

We also ran a few workshops exploring this question in different ways. 

Selected previous artists were invited to share their works: Keila Terencio (2015 Asylum Seekers “Temporary Life''), Emma Harrison (2017 Global Neighbours "Fair Share"), Lee-Anne Litton (2015 Climate Change “Earth Hour”),  Becky Everist, Steve Koroknay, Tim Everist and Steve Koroknay (2016 Women of the World “Access Denied”)

Access Denied: Women of the World

2016 | 2 - 10 July

In 2016 we gathered again to seek to engage and grapple with the reality that many women around the face: Globally, over 63 million girls are currently out of school. Of all women aged 20 to 24, one in four were child brides. In as many as ten countries, women are still legally bound to obey their husbands. The trafficking of women for sex continues to reap huge profits. Domestic violence continues to be a way of life for many. And women are still denied pay equal to that of their male counterparts in most countries.

Performing to a sold out audience, our speakers and performers helped us laugh and cry and fell empowered to speak out again the injustices we see around us. 

Profits were donated to assist the ongoing work of Hope for Health.

Performing Artists included: Bonnie Curtis (dance), Becky Eversit (song writer), Cherie Lee (writer, actor), Coleen O'Connell (composer), Ellana Costa (playwright), Steve Koroknay (song writer), Kelia Terencio (theatre, puppet), Pauline Manley (theatre), Rachell Dade (dance), Stephen Davis (poetry)

Visula Artsist included: Alla Mellman, Anni Linklater, Balla Ann Townes (installation), Bonnie Cowan (performance installaiton), Carlos Agamex Garcia (installation), Florence Gengoul (film installation), Hannah Robertson (painting), Lousie Merrington (writer/interactive media), Mady Thieme (illustration), Neda Farrahi (painting), Rozee Cutrone (painting), Sepideh Mousavi (painting). Vittoria Oriana (painting).

Speakers: Amber Hawkes (IJM) adn Natalie Williams (Common Grace)

Earth Hour: Climate Change

2015 | 14 - 19 March

An evening of unplugged performance and forum discussion on climate change.

Visual Artists included:
Keith Chidzey, Alycia Crofton, Rose Downie, Rafael Meza, Jessie Ray, Devasha Scott, Violet Winters


Performing Artists included:
Lily Bones, Stephen Davis, Sue Gee, 
Miguel Heatwole (Ecopella), Leeanne Litton (Strings Attached), Colleen O'Connell, Isaac Owen (Just Drama), Benjamin Loomes, Corinne Urquhart (Emotive Arts)

Panel of speakers included:
Ben Thurley (Micah Challenge), Miriam Pepper (Uniting Earthweb), Grace Liley (Australian Youth Climate Coalition)

Boundless Plains

2014 | 09 - 13 August

In 2014 over 30 artists, of different disciplines, have joined the Creative Conversation and are creating new works to reflect on current issues facing asylum seekers in Australia. These works culminated in an exhibition opening and performance evening, with an invitation to explore the issues from different perspectives. Joining the voices of the artists, a panel of speakers, brought to the conversation experience in working with asylum seekers on the ground, as well as on their behalf in policy and activism. 

Visual Artists included: Mike Barnard, Kieth Chidzey, Gareth Cowley, Rozee Cutrone, Rose Downie, Amanda Joy Hallihan, Jessica Hodgkinson, Anke Klevjer, Aaron Moore, Rachael Sawyer, Mary van den Berk, Digby Webster, Sarah Woodward 


Performing Artists included:
Tamara Caroline Argall, Stephen Davis, Kirsty Elwell, Zoe Hale & Cherie Lee, Daniel Hopkins, Colleen O'Connell, Tanya Riches & Tim Sheerman, Madison Roland-Evans, Philip Wilcox, Troy Wong, Helen Wright 


Speakers included: Matt Anslow (Love Makes a Way), Penny Elsley (The Welcome Dinner Project), Greg Lake (former Director of Offshore Processing, Immigration Department), Stefania Ruidiaz El-Khoury (Asylum Seekers Centre)

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