Collage of a graph, lung drawing, portrait with flowers for a head


Through the voices of various artists, this web-based experience explores the relationship between mental health, language, and lineage. Many awareness campaigns urge us to “break the silence”. But the question of whether – or how – to speak is complicated. Mental health discourses are shaped by particular histories, which reverberate in the present. By juxtaposing multiple perspectives, Szepty/Whispers: Dialogue aims to expand the possibilities for how we communicate about madness, trauma, and neurodivergence. The content is offered in the form of audio files, transcripts, and ASL videos.

The process for Szepty/Whispers: Dialogue began when artist Veronique West invited seven collaborators to make audio recordings in response to open-ended questions about mental health, language and lineage. The collaborators were: mia susan amir, Kagan Goh, Maya Jones, Constantin Lozitsky, Jivesh Parasram, Kendra Place, and Manuel Axel Strain. A digital platform was developed to host the recordings, through collaboration between the Cultch Digital Storytelling Team, Sound Designer David Mesiha, Inclusive Designer JD Derbyshire, Dramaturg Kathleen Flaherty, Deaf Interpreter Ladan Sahraei, Production Coordinator Brian Postalian and Veronique West. Szepty/Whispers: Dialogue was first presented at the 2021 rEvolver Festival.

Consultants: Amy Amantea, June Fukumura, Simran Gill, and MariFer Rios.

For a full list of the Szepty/Whispers: Dialogue team’s biographies, please follow the link below:

Keywords: 2SLGBTQIA+ | BIPOC Experience | Community | Disability | Family

Recording available online Oct 28 – Nov 7


For Artist Talk:
ASL and Closed Captions

For work in exhibition:
ASL, Transcripts, Audio Playback

Content Warnings

Brief references to colonization, war, genocide, child abuse, suicide, and psychiatric hospitalization. Detailed description of ableism, depression, mania, trauma, and a parent’s incarceration. The content does not play automatically and can be paused or skipped.


Digital Platform Realization by: The Cultch Digital Storytelling Team

Developed at Playwrights Theatre Centre as part of the Associates program.

The project has also been supported by:
Upintheair Theatre’s rEvolver Festival
The National Theatre School of Canada’s Art Apart initiative

The parallel in-person performance has been supported by:
the Canada Council for the Arts
the BC Arts Council
the Province of British Columbia
Playwrights Theatre Centre
Rumble Theatre
Progress Lab 1422
Chimerik似不像 Collective
Boca del Lupo and Rice & Beans Theatre’s DBLSPK series
Mentorship with Boca del Lupo’s Artistic Director Sherry J. Yoon
Universal Limited’s Horizontal Help program
The Arts Club Theatre Company’s LEAP Playwriting Intensive

The Cultch Digital Storytelling Team would like to thank the Canada Council for the Arts