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Artist talk on OCD commissioned by leading mental health festival

7 September 2017

Director of Arts for Health Clive Parkinson's 'dis/ordered' will be unveiled at The Big Anxiety in Australia

An artist’s performance-presentation on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is due to be unveiled at the world’s leading arts and mental health festival. 

dis/ordered is a new commission by Director of Arts for Health Clive Parkinson for The Big Anxiety in Sydney, Australia.

It is a moving exploration of OCD, questioning the diagnostic process in the context of neoliberalism and posing questions about ways in which people make sense of seemingly intrusive rituals and behaviour against the backdrop of modern life.

He will perform the work twice, on Saturday 23rd and Wednesday 27th September in Australia's Museum of Contemporary Art. A discussion will follow the first show, using a Visual Matrix – a psycho-social method designed to capture emotional and conceptual responses to complex experiences.

The show is part personal reflection; part research exploration of historical and contemporary understanding of mental illness and mental diversity. It also brings to light authentic voices of people affected by OCD.

Parkinson, Reader in Arts, Health and Social Justice at the Manchester School of Art and a founding member of the National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing, said: “This is the largest global event of its sort, bringing together leading academics alongside people affected by mental ill health and focused on the general public.

"Having worked alongside policy makers in Australia over the last 10 years, this festival gives me the opportunity to bring the arts and mental health agenda to an often sceptical public, and in the process, hopefully provoke some mainstream critical thinking.“

Parkinson who has previously worked as a Public Mental Health Development Specialist for what was Morecambe Bay Primary Care NHS Trust, has strong views on mental health diagnosis and treatment, and his essay A Brightly Coloured Bell-Jar featured in FACT Liverpool's recent exhibition book, Group Therapy: Mental Distress in a Digital Age. 

You can read an interview with him in Artlink, the Asia-Pacific contemporary art magazine here

The Big Anxiety festival brings together artists, scientists and communities over dozens of events designed to promote an open conversation about the state of mental health in the 21st century. ​