BBC Studios will produce Space 22, its first locally created format for the ABC in Australia.
Space 22 will explore the impact of art and creativity on mental health in a new six-part documentary series.
The series, which is created and produced by BBC Studios’ Australian production arm, will also be available to the international market under the title Art On The Brain.
Hosted by Aussie recording artist Natalie Bassingthwaighte (featured image), Space 22 follows seven strangers, each with their own experiences of mental illness.
They will all take part in an experiment by the Black Dog Institute to test if participating in art can help improve their mental wellbeing.
Aussie artists Abdul Abdulla, Wendy Sharpe and Eddie Perfect will join the participants as they share their skills and inspiration across different disciplines.
Working with the Black Dog Institute is Professor Kathryn Boydell, who will be measuring the results alongside psychotherapist Noula Diamantopoulos.
Many of the participants will be experiencing visual and performing arts for the first time and the hope is that by being creative, the impact on their mental health will be positive.
General manager and creative director of production at BBC Studios ANZ, Kylie Washington, said: “I’m excited to be bringing our first original format to life for the ABC.
“Each year one in five Australians experience mental illness but roughly 60 % do not seek help.
“Space 22 explores what happens to our brains, bodies and emotions when we make art and what science reveals about the impact of colours, textures and sensory experiences on our mental health.
“I hope this series will demonstrate the amazing therapeutic power of creativity and offer an open invitation for individuals to pick up a paintbrush, sharpen a pencil or break out the pottery wheel,” said Washington.
Head of factual and culture at the ABC, Jennifer Collins, added: “ABC’s role is to provide programs that are relevant to the lives of Australians and there are few Australians who are untouched by the effects of mental ill health, whether that’s directly or indirectly.
“Space 22, through art, gives a voice to those affected, sharing stories and connecting with others, and in turn encouraging conversation. This series promises to be honest, thought provoking and uplifting.”
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