Vanessa Bartlett is a researcher and curator working 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.
In 2015 she curated Group Therapy: Mental Distress in a Digital Age with Mike Stubbs for FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) Liverpool, UK. This exhibition was visited by over 13,000 people and received coverage in international media outlets such as the BBC World Service. A second iteration of Group Therapy was shown at UNSW Galleries, Sydney in 2017 as part of The Big Anxiety – festival of art + science + people.
In 2017 Vanessa collaborated with artist Katriona Beales and neuroscientist Henrietta Bowden-Jones on the Wellcome Trust funded research project Are We All Addicts Now? This was the first interdisciplinary investigation into the emerging and contested diagnostic territory of internet addiction. Outcomes included an exhibition of work by Beales and Fiona MacDonald: Feral Practice held at Furtherfield, London and a symposium convened by Vanessa held in collaboration with the Art/Design and Science Research Group at Central Saint Martins.
Vanessa’s recent academic writing has been published by Bloomsbury Methuen, Taylor & Francis and in the proceedings of ISEA: International Symposium on Electronic Art in 2015 and 2017. She has edited two books for Liverpool University Press. Are We All Addicts Now? Digital Dependence was co-edited with neuroscience researcher Henrietta Bowden Jones and features contributors from the fields of anthropology, digital culture, psychology and philosophy. Group Therapy: Mental Distress in a Digital Age [A User Guide] mixes provocations and personal testimony by artists, designers and people with lived experience to challenge perceptions of mental health for a digital age.
Vanessa currently works as Research Assistant on the ARC funded Curating Third Space: The Value of ArtScience Collaboration with Dr. Lizzie Muller, Prof. Jill Bennett and Prof. Lynn Froggett at UNSW Art & design. In 2009 she was Research Assistant for the EPSRC Digital Economies cluster funded project Environment 2.0 Creative Assemblages, with FutureEverything, Lancaster University, Goldsmiths London and University of Exeter.