Self Help Arts & 107 Present …An arts and mental health weekend at 107!

Self Help Arts, ‘The Forest Unyielding’. Image by Sarah Emery

Heads Will Roll

Heads Will Roll is a multidisciplinary installation work, created by Self Help Arts with artists from the wider community, exploring the mental health experience of artists.

Created through a series of collaborative workshops in writing, movement, visual arts, photography, object play, and film, Heads Will Roll translates experience into form, asking:

How does our mental health affect our art? How does our art affect our mental health? What does it mean to be a practicing artist with mental health support needs? How does our practice affect the wider world around us – ie, why are we even doing this?!

With inspiration from key artist conduits Kay Armstrong, Natalie Rose and Sarah Emery, Heads Will Roll is curated by Margot Politis and Lucy Watson, and features the collaborative work of: Margie Breen, Lauren Scott-Young, Natasha Sturgis, Madeleine Towler, Paul Walker, and Sarah Wingrove.

Opening Event:

Thursday August 3 | 6pm

Installation Open:

Friday August 4 – Sunday August 6 | 10am – 6pm

107 Theatre | 107 Redfern Street Redfern NSW

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Saturday August 5, 2017

107 Meeting Room (upstairs)

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A day of collaboration and connection for artists to partake in Creatives Resilience Training and/or engage in our ARMOUR discussion panel with guests from the arts, health and community sectors


10am – 12.30pm FREE!

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An introductory workshop by Dr Mark Seton PhD, founder of Resilient Vulnerability© and director of Sense Connexion

This workshop is for creatives who no longer want to disconnect or numb themselves in order to take the edge off the often harsh world that awaits their creative offerings. Mark introduces skills and strategies around presence, perception, preparation, process, partnership, perspective and playfulness to generate wisdom to deal with the challenges of self-care, trust, boundaries, shame, perfectionism and foreboding joy. The goal of Resilient Vulnerability © is to empower creatives to become more sensitive and resilient risk-takers.

Dr Mark Seton is Creative Director of Sense Connexion, and is an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at The University of Sydney. He was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2009 to conduct a study tour of actor training healthcare practices in the UK. Arising from this study, the Equity Foundation, in collaboration with the University of Sydney, initiated a ground-breaking Actors’ Wellbeing Study (AWS) in 2013. Mark has been a co-founder of the Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare and is currently a member of its Executive Committee.


1pm – 3pm FREE!

Grab a cuppa tea and join us for an afternoon of musing, investigation, and information sharing with a cohort of industry professionals gathered by Self Help Arts.

Our guest panellists include:

Dr Mark Seton PhD, Educator and Consultant, Sense Connexion; Josh Rosenthal, Head Counsellor of The Cabin Sydney, Addiction Services; Dean Walsh, independent artist and choreographer; Kay Armstrong, multidisciplinary independent artist; and Annie Maynard, actor.

We’ll be investigating:

  • The correlating risk factors between the arts and addiction
  • Finding balance when managing millions of tiny little jobs, and looking after ourselves when there is no work
  • Navigating the arts industry, including the pressure to self-promote and producing foyer banter
  • Ploughing through the field with pre-existing mental health challenges
  • Explaining ourselves to the world when people ask, “Well if it’s so hard, why do you do it then?!”
  • And more. Join us.

Self Help Arts is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, the NSW Government through Create NSW, The City of Sydney, and Accessible Arts NSW

Margot Politis, Artistic Director, Self Help Arts

Heads Will Roll and ARMOUR are part of the Neural Pathways Program: a two year investigation by Self Help Arts into the relationships between the arts and mental health, from the perspective of artists. Over the past few years in particular, there has been a great influx of realisation, concern, and activism in regards to this issue. Studies revealing the complex realities of living as an artist have inspired our industry to take action; these actions include organisational reform, awareness campaigns and many panel discussions! Which is brilliant.

What Self Help Arts is aiming to do is retain the artist voice in this discourse – to find creative and collaborative ways of exploring these themes, through the actualisation of performance and installation work. Outside of the Neural Pathways Program, we are artists working either independently or within the small to medium arts sector, with lived experience of mental health issues. Gathering together through this program, we are translating these experiences in the best way we know how – through making art! We are doing this with the consistent concern of accessibility – that anyone can access this work and feel heard … or understood … maybe for the first time ever.

As an artist who readily identifies as living with mental health issues and addiction, it is really important to me that artists have a safe, specific, and dedicated space to explore these issues, as opposed to feeling ashamed and yearning to recess. And so I have established Self Help Arts in order to provide that space.”


Margot Politis | Artistic Director

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Self Help Arts is a collective of artists, with and without mental health support needs, or who have people in their lives living with mental health support needs.

Established by Margot Politis, an artist who identifies as living with mental illness and addiction, we make live installation/performance work that addresses these themes, and the theories that surround them.

We seek to create emotional resonance between performer and audience; to present work that is honest; work that a person can observe for one moment, and in that moment feel understood – maybe intrinsically, maybe superficially, maybe inexplicably.


Over 15 years of practice, Margot has become a recognised leader in NSW inclusive arts practice as a performer, choreographer, and devisor of new dance theatre. Currently Associate Director at Milk Crate Theatre, Margot spent 2009-2016 as the Accessibility Director at Shopfront Arts Co-op.  She began her career performing with Restless Dance Theatre (SA) as a mentee to Kat Worth in 2004. In 2009, she moved to Sydney and established the Bodylines Dance Theatre Ensemble for young people with disability at Shopfront, which has grown to become an icon of inclusive arts practice in the Southern Sydney LGA.


Margot has been funded to study with various companies and artists in the USA: Axis Dance, The Gabrielle Roth Moving Centre, Tricia Brouk; and in 2013 was awarded a Cultural Leadership Grant from The Australia Council for the Arts to do the same in the UK, working with: Candoco Dance Company, Stopgap Dance, Mind The Gap, Graeae Theatre, and Oily Cart. As an independent practitioner, she has worked with Ausdance NSW, Accessible Arts NSW, Murmuration, Dirty Feet, The Song Room, Ever After Theatre, and Autism Spectrum Australia.  In May 2015 she was artist in residence at Tasdance, Launceston, to provide skills development in inclusive practice for the company.


In 2015, Margot established Self Help Arts, which in 2016 premiered The Forest Unyielding at 107 Redfern, for which a forest was built inside a theatre to represent the creation of neural pathways and addiction. Margot has spoken at many events about disability and mental health, including as a panellist at the MCA Mental Health Awareness Week forum, and has consulted on the development of Arts and Health policy for government and organisations.


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