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NIDA students create installations to express new ways of working together.

NIDA Master of Fine Arts students collaborated to create installations that expressed new ways of working together in the health sector

Above: The installation In Our Hands: The Role of Informal Carers in Palliative Care encouraged audience participation in understanding the often invisible place of carers in palliative care roles.

NIDA Master of Fine Arts Writing, Design, Voice, Directing and Cultural Leadership students engaged in a cross disciplinary project this term with health professionals, including the Black Dog Institute, as part of their Contextualising Practice studies.

The collaboration included NIDA Properties and Objects Course Leader Marcelo Zavala-Baeza and NIDA alumni to use performance, interactivity and immersive design to develop two installations that were exhibited at SPHERE, a health professionals conference at Sydney’s International Convention Centre.

The event attracted more than 1,000 people working in health across Sydney - including medical researchers, practitioners, consumers, community advocates, artists, citizen scientists and health leaders.

Changing the way health is practiced and understood was a priority of the conference. A key element was finding ways to make research results accessible and to find different ways of collaborating and working together for improved collective well-being. Part of the project involved working with artist residents to trial new ways of working together, where diverse and inclusive models of collaboration are enacted.

Above: The installation Moody Tunes: Hear Yourself Now created an interactive cocoon which measured an individual's response to music, and the changes that a peaceful and comforting environment can make.

The installations emphasised how art has the power to reach into realms that are beyond words, and harness the essence of emotional and embodied understandings that are deeply human. The works included both interactive and immersive elements. The two works presented included both interactive and immersive elements. The first, called Moody Tunes: Hear Yourself Now, created an interactive cocoon. The second was In Our Hands: The Role of Informal Carers in Palliative Care, an interactive work of hand sculptures.

Several observers were moved to tears, with lead researcher Professor Katherine Boydell commenting that 'the installations were unimaginably powerful and exceeded anticipation.'

The exhibition will tour to St Vincents Hospital in late September, followed by Liverpool Hospital with the possibility of regional centres included in a tour.

The exhibition was presented by the HIVE ( an immersive art installation co-created by the SPHERE Knowledge Translation Strategic Platform Team, artists in residence, members of Clinical Academic Groups and consumers of health services and carers. It was curated by Simone Chua, an internationally exhibiting contemporary installation artists.

The NIDA project was led by Dr Barbara Doran, Senior Lecturer Common Subjects and Cultural Leadership with Dr Suzanne Osmond, Senior Lecturer and Course Leader Common Subjects. Creating the works brought together NIDA Masters students’ ideas, which were then designed and realised materially through collaboration with NIDA’s Properties and Objects Course Leader, Marcelo Zavala-Baeza and two BFA (Properties and Objects) alumni, Lewis Dean and Jack Pope. Heidi Doran recorded voices with assistance from Ian Turland, NIDA's Assistant, Scenery Workshop.

Feeling inspired? Applications for NIDA's Master of Fine Arts courses and BFA (Properties and Objects) course close on September 30. All details online:

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