Mental Health Matinée: In conversation with Women’s Circus

October 3, 2022 @ 14:00

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As part of Alter State, the Arts Wellbeing Collective invite you to a panel discussion with artists and members from the Women’s Circus, exploring the intersections of disability, wellbeing and self-care.

Proudly supported by the Besen Family Foundation.

Image credit: Nikkii McCoppin

Meet the Panel

Dr Melinda Smith (She/her) –  Performer

Melinda has over 30 years experience in disability and education. In 2008, she began promoting the health and wellbeing outcomes of dance for people with disabilities. Melinda has been a regular artist in residence at Women’s Circus since 2016, using specialist aerial equipment as part of her developing practice. In 2018, Melinda created her first solo work, Spasmotive. The next phase of her work sees her creating a series of audio-visual expressions of life in social isolation. Melinda lives with cerebral palsy and is an advocate of disability inclusion. In 2019 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Deakin University. Melinda recently became a member of the Deakin University Disability and Inclusion team as a lecturer in Inclusive Arts.

Vivienne Halat (she/her) – Performer

Vivienne is a longtime member of the Women’s Circus where she has journeyed through many circus disciplines and decided she loved heights, so embraced aerials and stilts. She loves the perfect confluence of creativity, physicality and the opportunity to perform as part of a diverse, supportive community, that being part of Women’s Circus brings. Vivienne has developed her interest in physical performance and scene creation in traditional and non-traditional performance settings, collaborating on multidisciplinary performances with visual artists, musicians and theatre makers. She finds influences in physical theatre, contemporary dance movement, character and costume. She is interested in reflecting and provoking themes of diversity and identity, social cohesion and human existence in the ever changing environment in which we find ourselves. Vivienne is currently studying a Masters of Art in Public Space at RMIT.

Jo Dunbar (she/her) – Aesthetic Access Facilitator

Jo is a choreographer, director and facilitator, with 20 years experience in the professional arts industry. Jo’s facilitator strength is enabling the learning space to be one where we learn from ourselves and each other. She has co-founded Australia’s first dance company for deaf and hearing performers, The Delta Project, performed with renowned arts companies Strange Fruit and Restless Dance theatre, taught dance and physical theatre workshops to companies both regionally and nationally. Born profoundly deaf and bi-lingual in both English and Auslan she is passionate about all things diverse, experimental and inclusive.

Meeting Place


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Arts Wellbeing Collective

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