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ABC Australia orders BBC Studios format on art and mental health

Actor Natalie Bassingthwaighte fronts Space 22

Australian broadcaster the ABC has commissioned an art- and mental health-themed format titled Space 22 from BBC Studios.

Created and produced by BBC Studios’ Australian production arm, Space 22 will explore the impact of art and creativity on mental health.

Hosted by singer and former Neighbours actress Natalie Bassingthwaighte, the six-part docuseries will follow seven strangers, each with their own experience of mental ill-health, as they take part in an experiment to test if participating in art can help heal invisible wounds.

Australian artists Abdul Abdulla, Wendy Sharpe and Eddie Perfect will share their skills and inspiration with the participants, whose results will be measured by mental health organisation Black Dog Institute.

Kylie Washington, general manager and creative director of 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.”

Washington exec produces Space 22 with BBC Studios development executive Anita Jorgensen and Ariel White, executive producer and director at the ABC.

BBS Studios is distributing the series internationally under the title Art on the Brain.


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