Big Feels: Post Radical Growth Symposium

Big Feels: Post Radical Growth Symposium

" "

The “BigFeels: Post Radical Growth Symposium: Making Space for Mental Health in the Arts is a two-day online symposium for the arts sector. This symposium will be a site of gathering and celebration for artists, communities, and a sector that has continued to shift through adversity and arrive into various states of individual and collective radical growth. BigFeels: Post Radical Growth highlights the importance of an intersectional approach when considering and engaging with mental health themes. We invite you to engage critically with these topics through the symposium’s programming led by Workman Art members ranging from panel discussions, workshops and performances!

The symposium will be hosted entirely virtually. Pre-registration for the symposium programming is required. All symposium events are Pay-What-You Wish.





Keynote Speaker

Speaker information and time of event forthcoming shortly. Check back for details.


Right As Rain, Growing Through Discomfort – A Musical Journey

7 – 8 PM 

Facilitated by Vivek Mehmi

Vivek will perform and explain how each song has helped him move through physical, mental and emotional health challenges. Ending the session with a group discussion on some of the themes in the music and best practices. Attendees will learn how creating music can provide therapy for healing. This session is for anyone who needs inspiration, wants to raise their vibration and loves music!





AdHack Workshop: Changing the Power Dynamics of Advertisements Through Art and Laughter

10 – 12 PM

Facilitated by Stephanie Avery

Join Stephanie for a fun, hands-on workshop that will have you laughing at the absurdity of advertisements. As advertisements become more ubiquitous in our public and, increasingly, private/digital spaces, we need to become aware of their presence, their manipulation tactics, and the toll they take on our mental health. Stephanie’s ongoing ‘AdHack’ painting series uses the power of laughter to disarm ads and create a healthier relationship with a medium we are regularly exposed to.

Using reclaimed advertisements as her canvas, Stephanie paints her own whimsical additions directly onto them – strange creatures that interact with or replace the products and models – to critique the duplicitous aspects of consumer culture and the constructs of advertising. Using farce to undermine the pervasive power and influence they wield, she shifts and subverts advertisements from being manipulative and insidious to hilarious and absurd, and transforms the viewer/advertiser relationship from predatorial to empowering. And she wants you to do the same!

After a short presentation on Stephanie’s process and body of work you will be encouraged to grab your own magazines and paint/markers to join in on the fun! Making your own ‘AdHacks’ is an easy and cathartic way of changing how you react to ads. Together we will share our creations and have casual conversations about the impact ads and consumer culture have on our lives, communities, and world. No art experience is needed to participate, and the sillier the creations the better!



Mental Health In Nature

1 – 2:30 PM

Facilitated by Nathan Cole

Nathan Cole discusses how his outdoor explorations assisted in the recovery and maintenance of his mental health and shares tips on how to enhance your experience in nature. This is a partially collaborative event where participants can share their own experiences and ask questions.



Hope in a World on Fire: Envisioning Utopia as Radical Praxis

4 – 7 PM

Facilitated by iowyth hezel ulthiin

This workshop will be an experiment in the radical possibilities of group visioning processes. Organized in the form of a sharing circle, participants will engage in a group deconstruction of the world that is, engaging in a purging of anxiety and grief at the ways in which the world is failing us both individually and collectively. The group will then attempt to rebuild the world in an image of equity and justice, combining their collective powers to see through the present moment into the potential of future transformation. Within this process is the tension of how to bring about such change, how to engage with the radical need for social and ecological health. In the attempt to broach the subject, this forum will present the potential to purge feelings of helplessness and despair and set our sites on possible sites of engagement and reformation.


Compassionate Inquiry for Creatives

7 – 9 PM

Facilitated by Heather Clear Wind

Event information forthcoming. Please check back for details!




W.O.W.  –  Writing Opens Windows for the Heart and Soul!

12:30 – 2:30 PM

Facilitated by Christina Walsh

Do you have a story to tell? Something on your heart you want to share?  You are in the right place! We write to a couple of prompts I will provide and read out and put in the chat. We write in silence for about 10 to 15 minutes. We each read and receive feedback that is positive, authentic “What did you like about the piece? the voice? the character? What speaks to you about the piece? What resonates?” One of the prompts will be an art-related prompt and the second one will be a writing prompt or both! (I will leave it up to the participants to see what they prefer.)  I am open! I am flexible! I will write and make art too and receive feedback, as facilitators are also a part of the group. The power of being heard begins a journey to healing and transformation. Writing and making art speaks volumes, creates inner and outer connections, and brings people together, using the power of their own voice to tell stories. “Come as you are, bring yourself and your voice to write and create art!” No previous art and writing experience is necessary! 



CONVERSATIONS AROUND NEURODIVERSITY: Mad & Autistic, Building Inclusive Futures

4 – 5 PM

Facilitated by Emily Gillespie

This one-hour conversation features four Mad/ mentally ill and Autistic artists in different artistic disciplines talking about their experiences in the arts. We will discuss if and how their identity has shaped their art practice.  Both the Mad community and Autistic community have unique politics and pride movements. Panelists will have the opportunity to mention if activism has impacted their work. We will also reflect on accessibility barriers in the art community, and what needs improved and what they wish neurotypical people knew. This panel will conclude by asking what their hopes for inclusion in the art sector at large looks like as we emerge from the pandemic life.




5:30 – 6:30 PM

Facilitated by Kat Singer

Individuals who attract the label of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) tend to demonstrate remarkable creativity, and many find themselves working in the arts, a field marked by precarity, and competition for scarce resources. Until recently the presence of ADHD in certain populations, such as those assigned female at birth, or adults, has been under-recognized, contributing to a lack of available supports for these populations. This presentation will explore “adult” ADHD and the advantages and barriers it may present for one’s career in the arts. It will also offer education about, and practical advice around navigating several common ADHD-related challenges. 



The Glass Eye

6:30 – 8:00 PM

Facilitated by Angela Sun

Angela has a story she wants to tell that will explain everything — No, that’s not it. She has a story about her “mental health journey”…? No, that’s not it exactly either. She just… has a story she has to tell before some well-meaning writer does it for her. If she will just let herself get out of her own head that is. 

This is a live work-in-process reading of Angela Sun’s play about Madness, representation, and the trauma of having to share your lived experience. The Glass Eye was developed as a part of Cahoots Theatre’s Hot House playwriting unit.  



A Creative Journey’s Medicine Trove

8 – 9:30 PM

Facilitated by Mayra Gemm

In this multidisciplinary performance, creatrix Mayra Gemm will share original music, poetry and improvised soundscapes that have sprang as a result of her creative healing journey of almost 2 decades.
By using various art forms to help herself deal with the pain and isolation of living with chronic illnesses, mood disorders and the effects of various traumas, Mayra developed a rich experience of creating as an empowering, reconnecting, resilience building, growth promoting and healing process.
This journey also allowed her to discover her authentic voice as an artist.
Her songs have a distinct South American folk flair with a unique vocal and chord progression style; her poetry is intuitive, playful and highly performative; and she uses a loop and delay pedal to improvise melodic vocal soundscapes to arrive at a whimsical liminal space.
Her emotive style aims to express her innate essence and to transform the audience with a focus on gently opening and connecting through the heart.



Contact Symposium Coordinator Hanan Hazime at


Self-Care Kits will be available. Details coming shortly!



28 OCTOBER 2021 - 7 NOVEMBER 2021

SELF // ISOLATION – Chelsea Watson

28 OCTOBER 2021 - 7 NOVEMBER 2021


28 OCTOBER 2021 - 7 NOVEMBER 2021