About me

Vanessa Bartlett is a researcher and curator based between Australia and the UK. She is a PhD Candidate at UNSW Art & Design where her research investigates connections between digital technologies and psychological distress through reflective curatorial practice. Her most recent curatorial project Group Therapy: Mental Distress in a Digital Age was co-curated with Mike Stubbs for FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) Liverpool, UK in 2015. This show was visited by over 13,000 people and received coverage in international media outlets such as BBC World Service and Creative Review. A second iteration of Group Therapy is currently under development for UNSW Galleries, Sydney, with a focus on mental health concerns specific to Australian audiences including indigenous communities.

An important part of Vanessa’s approach is finding appropriate ways to understand audience response to exhibitions dealing with psychological distress. Shortcomings in existing social science methods mean that affective and emotive dimensions are often overlooked. Vanessa is adapting and applying a psychosocial research method called the visual matrix as both a generative and evaluative tool, in order to better understand the affective response of audiences and communities to exhibitions that she creates. Vanessa learned this process by collaborating with its creator Prof. Lynn Froggett, Director of the Psychosocial Research Unit at University of Central Lancashire.

Vanessa’s writing has featured in the Guardian and she has given talks and lectures internationally in Belgrade, Ljubljana and Helsinki, as well as at prestigious UK venues including Tate Liverpool, The Arnolfini, The V&A and The Science Museum, London. In the past she has worked as a researcher and producer for two of the UK’s most exciting digital media festivals: FutureEverything, Manchester and Abandon Normal Devices. She has also curated a number of exhibitions at independent and artist led venues including Slowness at Red Wire Gallery, which was highlighted as a must see exhibition by Times critic Rachel Campbell-Johnston. In 2011 she served for a year as Performance Programmer at The Bluecoat, Liverpool, where she managed the annual programme budget and curated and produced a programme of live art, music and dance.

3 thoughts on “About me

  1. Hello, I’m a Creative/Development Producer-Series Television in Vancouver, B.C., Canada & have always enjoyed your articles. Did you run the half marathon in aid of St.Mungo’s?. I have always been a supporter of art’s for mental health and have put together a group who are in pre production of a Canadian film screening event for this summer in aid of Vancouver Detox and Coastal Mental Health. May I keep you informed on the progress of our film screening event?
    Peter Carr

  2. Hi Vanessa, someone just mentioned you to me and I wondered if you’d be interested in our event in Nottingham 23-27 Feb 2015. Arcintex is a research network for smart textiles, interaction design and architecture, and we’re running a series of workshops and symposium with the theme of mental wellbeing, particualrly through the lens of the Person Centred Approach (attached to an EPSRC project). It’s free and you can register at http://arcintex.hb.se/.
    Best wishes, hope to make it up to FACT, Sarah

  3. Hi Sarah,

    I am sorry that I am only just replying to this. With the exhibition about to go live at FACT I am in the peak of a very busy period! Sadly it wasn’t possible for me to get to this, due to other deadlines etc. However I love that you are using a ‘Personal Centred Approach’ and hope to hear more about your projects in the future
    Vanessa

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