Space 22



BBC Studios will produce its first locally created original format for the ABC in Australia. Space 22 , created and produced by BBC Studios’ Australian production arm, will explore the impact of art and creativity on mental health in a new six-part documentary series. The format will also be available to the international market under the title Art On The Brain .

Hosted by recording artist Natalie Bassingthwaighte , Space 22 follows seven strangers, each with their own lived experience of mental ill-health, as they take part in an ambitious experiment to test if the simple act of participating in art can help heal invisible wounds. The impact will be measured by Australia’s Black Dog Institute.

Joining them in a unique workspace are three well-known Australian artists Abdul Abdulla, Wendy Sharpe and Eddie Perfect who will share their skills and inspiration with the volunteers across different disciplines. Working with the Black Dog Institute, Professor Kathryn Boydell will be measuring the results. Supported by psychotherapist Noula Diamantopoulos , many in the group will be experiencing visual and performing arts for the first time. The hope is that by being creative, together, it will have a positive impact on their health and wellbeing.

Kylie Washington, General Manager and Creative Director, Production at BBC Studios ANZ 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.”

ABC’s Head of Factual and Culture Jennifer Collins said: “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.”

Space 22 is an original BBC Studios ANZ production for the ABC. Executive Producers Kylie Washington, Anita Jorgensen and Ariel White, Series Producer Bev Shroot. Distributed by BBC Studios. ABC Factual Manager Julie Hanna, ABC Head of Factual and Culture Jennifer Collins.

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Space 22 , a bold new six-part Australian-first documentary series, explores the impact art and creativity can have on mental health. Led by acclaimed singer and performer Natalie Bassingthwaighte, who has faced her own mental health challenges, the series premieres on Tuesday 17th May at 8pm on ABC TV and ABC iview.

Amidst Australia’s worsening mental health crisis, Space 22 looks at the growing call for art as a social prescription to support mental health care.

The series follows seven strangers, each with their own lived experience of mental ill health, as they take part in an ambitious experiment to test if the simple act of creativity can help heal invisible wounds.

Supported by psychotherapist Noula Diamantopoulos, the participants will be joined by three well-known Australian artists. Provocative mixed media artist, Abdul Abdulla, sets a first challenge designed to expose the group’s vulnerabilities. Archibald winner, Wendy Sharpe, offers a new way to express confronting emotions through painting. And performing legend Eddie Perfect brings his unique skills to help participants express their thoughts and release pent-up emotions through song writing and singing. Observing the group from a distance, researchers from the Black Dog Institute measure the mental and social impact of each challenge.

Host Natalie Bassingthwaighte said: “The transformation of the participants during the experiment was incredible. They came in a little reserved about it all, to leaving with new creative tools that, not only do they enjoy doing, but more importantly have improved their mental wellbeing. Plus, through sharing their experiences they’ve created lifelong bonds. I have caught up with a few of them since the show, it’s so lovely to have shared the experience.

“My hope is that the audience is inspired by the positive impact being creative can have and decides to give it a go for their own mental wellbeing.”

The ABC is committed to raising awareness and support for the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians, for more programs exploring this topic visit the ABC iview collection Your Mental Health.

Production credit: Space 22 is an original BBC Studios ANZ production for the ABC. BBC Studios Executive Producers: Kylie Washington, Anita Jorgensen and Ariel White. BBC Studios Series Producer: Bev Shroot. ABC Commissioning Editor Julie Hanna: ABC Head of Factual and Culture: Jen Collins. Distributed by BBC Studios

Eddie Perfect is special guest in tonight’s episode (June 14).