It’s a Mad World


IT’S A MAD WORLD is a showcase of different perspectives on mental health, created by those with lived experience and Satellite Foundation. Using different mediums, we share stories of the funny and the sad, the happy and the mad, when navigating the complex world of mental health. 

Listen up, get uncomfortable and be curious

What is It’s a Mad World?

This creative project began as a place for people with lived experiences to meet and share their own stories of living with or around mental health challenges. We aimed to create a space to talk and laugh freely without reactions of pity, of platitudes or people not knowing what to say.

Initially a live performance project, ‘It’s A Mad World’s’ response to COVID-19 meant meeting in the Zoom room and evolving into an online exhibition. Through a collaborative process six incredible young people shed light on the how the quirks of ‘madness’ bring colour and depth to life.

Check out the result – It’s a Mad World Online Exhibition:

Click here


Why do we need It’s A Mad World?

Conversations around mental illness are often serious. With the best of intentions, we try not make assumptions or ask imposing questions, yet we often end up uninformed but still curious. And it’s certainly no laughing matter. ‘It’s A Mad World’ aims to be an open, transformative space where lived experiences of mental illness meets exploration, and isolation meets collaboration.

We want to show young people with parents or carers with mental illness that their voice matters no matter which way they want to express it.

I could never explain the way I thought of my mum. It’s a swirling mix of dislike, guilt and unending love. Through the Mad World project I connected with a group of people who inexplicably knew that feeling. We helped each other find the words and discovered a range of avenues to explore those feelings. And from that, how to extend that dialogue to those less familiar with such sentiment. It felt good to find the words, I don’t think I would have on my own.

Hannah – IAMW participant

What came next?

After the online exhibition Satellite Foundation hosted an invite-only, in-person gathering in Melbourne on 26 November 2021. Participants shared their experiences of being part of this project. In addition, we facilitated a conversation around themes and future possibilities. Plus, we chatted about the potential for IAMW conversations to be taken up by other young people in Satellite Foundation and beyond.

And then…. It’s A Mad World Interactive Art Exhibition 2002

In October 2002, Satellite hosted the second chapter of It’s a Mad World with the ”Mad World” interactive art exhibition at Dark Horse Experiment at Blender Studios in West Melbourne. Four brilliant young artists, Mia, Jaanu, Geo and Charli shaped a space of interaction and contemplation with their work. The exhibition invited audiences to engage with ideas, and be challenged, moved, and compelled to reflect on their understandings of mental health experiences.

The exhibition aimed to show young people living with and around mental health challenges in their families that their voice matters, no matter which way they want to express it. ‘It’s A Mad World’ honours the bravery in sharing AND the bravery in asking.

This exhibition was co-created by young people who are exploring their relationships with mental health through creative practices that include performance, photography, sculpture, storytelling, film, and audio/writing.

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