Well-being and Creativity Across 3 Continents: Four podcasts now published

In June 2021, a collaboration between GEM Connect (Australia), Karachi Biennale Trust (Pakistan), and Pixelache Helsinki (Finland) took place through the support of the Asia-Europe Foundation ASEF Cultural Mobility First! Initiative. Themed with a 'Creativity and Well-being', the collaboration delivered a series of conversations over live streams and podcasts, released over 4 weeks. These podcasts featured established cultural practitioners (named as mentors) and mentees from each organisation, interviewing artists and other creatives on the topic of how various forms of art and creativity can facilitate health and well-being. This series initiative is lovingly dedicated to the memory of Arsalan Malik. 


Interdisciplinary presenters on the following topics (See more biographical info below):

Podcast 1 - 'Realising One’s Creativity' by Channan Hanif & Atteqa Malik – Karachi, Pakistan

Podcast 2 - 'Living Musically: Music and its impact on health' by Dr Tom Cochrane', Adelaide, Australia & Faisal Gill, Karachi, Pakistan.

Podcast 3 - 'Value of Decision Support for Emerging Young Artists' by Ange Weinrabe, Dr Frank Iorfino & Christine Deng, Sydney, Australia.

Podcast 4 - 'Post-festival reflections on Hybrid Cultural Production and Mental Health' by Andrew Gryf Paterson & Mathilde Palenius, Helsinki, Finland. 

These materials are kindly hosted by GEM here on their project webpage.


This documentation from Saturday 12.6.2021 features an introduction to the 3 Continent representatives, followed by a panel discussion with organisational cultural practitioners and artists below on the broad topic of creativity and well-being. 


GEM project lead:

SIENA BORDIGNON (Sydney-based mentee) 
Siena is a university student, artist, and advocate studying Game Design. She has extensive experience as a member and leader of committees and boards that work to create social change. She leads various community initiatives, planning, and overseeing fundraising and community engagement events, such as for Plan International Australia and Country to Canberra. She was a participant in GEM’s recent community Arts & Health program in Sydney (GEMAH-SYD). Siena will be representing GEM Connect, leading the 3 Continents Creativity and Well-being Program, facilitating guest speakers and co-producing the Australian podcasts.


Podcast 1 - 'Realising One’s Creativity'

Atteqa is a freelance digital artist, cultural operator, and founder member of the Karachi Biennale Trust. She graduated with an MA in Media Studies from the New School University, New York, in 2002. Atteqa has organised a number of workshops and activities for the Karachi public related to new media since February 2008. She was on the International Review Committee for ISEA (International Summit of Electronic Art) 2010 held in Ruhr, Germany. Her submission to imagining New Eurasia Project was selected and displayed with 88 artists at the Asian Cultural Center in Korea and online until July 2016. As Co-Founder of Karachi Biennale Trust, Atteqa coordinated educational and art collaborations between Karachi institutions and Berlin artist Wolfgang Spahn, architect Stephen Kovats, Manchester Art Gallery, The Tetley, and Canadian media artist Faisal Anwar. During KB19, Global Outreach collaborated with GEM, who provided (GEMAH) an Arts & Health Program, delivered to 40 creative young people in Karachi.

CHANNAN HANIF (Karachi-based mentee)
Channan Hanif is a twenty-three year old music producer and songwriter based in Karachi, Pakistan. He graduated from NYU in 2020 with a BA in Politics. During his freshman year he started writing songs and has since been working on music across multiple genres. Channan is also fond of acting and is currently auditioning for roles in theatre, television and film.


Podcast 2 - 'Living Musically: Music and its impact on health'

What role does music play in our lives? Can music teach us something about how to live? Tom Cochrane and his guest Faisal Gill discusses how musical improvisation gives us a model of freedom that we can recreate in everyday life. Of particular importance is the idea of working with what we have to hand, rather than imposing a sense of how things are supposed to be. This idea is applied to the use of one’s emotions in a generative way.

Tom is a philosopher specialising in the philosophy of mind and aesthetics. He is also a musician (piano) and has a master’s degree in music composition. He received his PhD from the University of Nottingham in 2007 for a thesis arguing that musical performances can generate collective emotions. Over the next 10 years he worked at universities in Geneva, Belfast, Sheffield, and York. He began his current post at Flinders University in Adelaide in 2018. Tom is the lead editor of the multi-disciplinary volume The Emotional Power of Music (Oxford University Press, 2013) and the author of The Emotional Mind (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and The Aesthetic Value of the World (Oxford University Press, 2021).

A Sound therapist by profession, Faisal Gill has over 26 years of experience in teaching music. At his school in Karachi, Capa Academy of Performing Arts, classes are held for a variety of instruments including the guitar, violin, drums, piano, saxophone, sitar and rubab etc. At his institute, he has created a Museum of instruments from across the globe , and aims to use them as a tool to improve human interaction. Faisal Gill has been affiliated with several accredited institutions, including the Aga Khan University, Ziauddin College Of Speech Language & Hearing Sciences, Karachi Vocational Training Centre, and The Recovery House.


Podcast 3 - 'Value of Decision Support for Emerging Young Artists'

What is the impact of anxiety on decision-making in young people? Can enhancing our decision-making through support and perspective reduce our stress and importantly, enable emerging young creatives to stay on their artistic trajectories, stay connected and stay healthy? Angé invites guest speaker and clinical researcher Dr Frank Iorfino to engage with herself and creative professional Christine (Lexie) Deng on some of the pressing issues emerging young artists are facing in this age

Angé Weinrabe is a health entrepreneur completing her Ph.D. in Philosophy of Science at The University of Sydney, researching the topic of Culture and its influence on Addiction. She is the Founding Director of GEM Connect, focused on delivering innovative arts-and-wellbeing programs and providing patent-pending music technology to assist emerging young people to stay on track – doing what they love. Angé teaches these young adults more about  epidemiological factors that influence their decisions and in turn their emotional states (and vice versa). In 2020, as part of her master’s degree from the Brain and Mind Centre, Sydney Medical School, also at the University of Sydney, Angé published research on the impact of anxiety and depression on decision-making in young adults.

Dr Frank Iorfino is an early career researcher at the Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney. His interests are how to best understand, model and treat youth mental health problems.  His work employs a multidisciplinary approach that is at the intersection of systems and data science, health information technologies and psychopathology to develop decision-support tools that transform the way we assess and treat youth mental health problems. This work leverages key industry and health partnerships, and employs participatory approaches to ensure that it has a direct and immediate real-world impact that improves the quality of youth mental health care.

Christine (Lexie) Deng is a Melbourne-born Sydneysider, writer and emerging artist who specialises in abstract watercolours – and she’s available for commissions upon request! By day, Lexie is a digital media manager who does her best to facilitate deeper conversations on diversity of (dis)ability, neurodiversity, race, gender and mental health states in the workplace and beyond.


Podcast 4 - 'Post-festival reflections on Hybrid Cultural Production and Mental Health'

MATHILDE PALENIUS (Helsinki-based mentee)
Mathilde Palenius is a production assistant for Pixelache Helsinki #Burn____ festival and post-student in European and international cultural management (PIECE master’s degree, Dijon, France). She is interested in creating new encounters between different artistic fields, artists and publics as a tool for cultural enrichment and innovations. She currently works on the development of a Creative Europe project involving the creation of an escape game through the collaboration between artists and industrial manufacturing workers.

‘Artist-organiser’, cultural producer, educator and independent researcher. He specialises exploring connections between art, digital culture, science, cultural activism related to the commons, DIY-Do-It-With-Others, ecological and sustainability movements, along with cultural heritage and collaborative networks. Originally from Scotland, Paterson has an international practice, including activity over the past ~20 years in the Baltic Sea region, based for most of the time in Helsinki, Finland. He works across the fields of media/ network/ environmental arts and activism, pursuing a participatory practice through workshops, performative events, and storytelling. Strengths lie in hybridity, communications, organisation and network arts: the ability to bring together and involve people in creative, collaborative exploration, developing temporary communities, gathering unexpected elements and components as new spaces of/for cultural activity. What is left behind as social, digital, material and ephemeral residue of ‘being t/here’ has been a consistent concern.


Image credit: Miraal Habib.

The project is generously supported by:

Asian-Europe Foundation