Entertainment Assist and Victoria University’s report, Working in the Australian Entertainment Industry: Final Report (van den Eynde, Fisher & Sonn, 2016) uncovers startling statistics. Of the entertainment industry workers surveyed:
- 15.2% experienced symptoms of moderate to severe depression.
- 44% experienced symptoms of moderate to severe anxiety.
Arts Centre Melbourne engages an industry working group and experts including psychologist (and renowned performing artist), Greta Bradman, and psychologist, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, to develop a program addressing the unique mental health and wellbeing challenges faced by performing arts workers.
Arts Centre Melbourne confirms funding to trial a sector-wide response. The Arts Wellbeing Collective is conceived, and 138 arts and cultural organisations across Victoria join as member organisations.
The Arts Wellbeing Collective Pilot Program delivers 40 workshops, seminars and professional development activities, including a regional roadshow to hubs throughout Victoria, and creates a custom-built website with more than 20 resources.
The Arts Wellbeing Collective Pilot Program undergoes an independent, external evaluation, led by Ann Tonks. Ann was the General Manager of Melbourne Theatre Company from 1994 – 2012 and is currently lecturing at The University of Melbourne and providing consultancy to companies such as Melbourne Recital Centre, Philip Adams Ballet Lab, and Polyglot Theatre. Ann is the author of The A to Z of Arts Management: Reflections on Theory and Reality, (Melbourne, Tilde Publications, 2016).The Executive Summary of the evaluation states:
“Feedback was overwhelmingly positive with a desire for the program to continue and expand. The program was seen as timely, useful, resource rich and generally well presented. There was relief that the program had started and gratitude to Arts Centre Melbourne for making it happen.”
The Arts Wellbeing Collective Pilot Program is a finalist in the Australian HR Awards (Best Health and Wellbeing Program) and the VicHealth Awards (Improving Mental Wellbeing).
Arts Centre Melbourne works with innovation partner, PwC, to explore opportunities for strategic growth and expansion.
Arts Centre Melbourne utilises the findings from the evaluation and the PwC report to develop a three-year strategy, which aims to create long-term positive culture change across the sector.
Arts Centre Melbourne receives funding from WorkSafe Victoria’s WorkWell Mental Health Improvement Fund, enabling the expansion of the Arts Wellbeing Collective over three years.
The new strategy launches on 10 October 2018, World Mental Health Day.