Arts Lab

Arts Lab Cover Image

Arts Lab

Arts Lab Cover Image

The Language Lab on Insight Exchange draws directly from the important work of Centre for Response-Based Practice, Canada. The Language Lab provides information on the role of language in representing violence and abuse, and tools to help us use language to more accurately represent violence and other adversities.

From late 2020 we have broadened our focus on the representation of domestic, family and sexualised violence beyond  language to also include visual arts.

Our Intention

  • To provide ways to engage with lived experience insights about violence and abuse beyond relying on the written word.
  • To illuminate participants descriptions of their lived and living experiences in resisting and responding to the violence and abuse they have been subjected to.
  • To generate new visual representations of violence in public imagery that centre on dignity and are informed by lived experience insights.

We acknowledge that despite our best efforts to assemble with a person a more accurate representation of some of their experiences of violence, we can never fully understand all that their experiences mean to them now or through their life.  We understand that no one’s life experience can ever be fully represented in language or any other form.

Specific collections and initiatives

On this page you can explore the Voices of Insight Collection, the No Hidden Door Collection, the Strangulation Collection and the Working with distressing content collection. Other original works created by collaborating artist Louise Whelan in response to donated poetry are featured on the Voices Unsilenced landing page. 

Closed archived initiatives: Explore The Creative Book Exchange featured in FY23/24.

Voices of Insight Collection

The Voices of Insight Collection is a series of original artworks inspired by the Insight Exchange Voices of Insight narratives. The initiative is designed to illuminate visual metaphors and symbols used by Insight Exchange participants as part of how they describe their lived experiences of domestic and family violence to inform social, service and systemic responses.

Read the artist statement. Read about the Voices of Insight Collection with collaborating Artist Louise Whelan

Apply to exhibit the Voices of Insight Collection in Australia

Insight Exchange has a donated Voices of Insight Collection available to loan (terms and conditions for use apply) in NSW, VIC, SA and QLD. To loan the exhibition please contact us via the Contact Us page.

Examples of where the Voices of Insight Collection has been exhibited are listed in the the Engagement Report .

No Hidden Door Image

No Hidden Door Collection

The artworks are designed to illuminate the importance of making the ‘door’ of responding services/organisations more visible to the public, and valued ongoingly by industry as a social response to victim-survivors of domestic, family and sexualised violence. 

The No Hidden Door collection created by Louise Whelan in collaboration with Insight Exchange. Open the No Hidden Door collection in a lightbox by clicking on the collection below.

The No Hidden Door collection is part of the broader work of the  No Hidden Door initiative.

No Hidden Door Artist Talk

View the artists talk (8.5mins) or read the artist statement

"I’m so honored and grateful for this beautiful, complex and thoughtful art work. It blows my mind how your art work could speak so beautifully and yet in an unsettling manner of the complexities, danger and hope for help. I was thinking why (besides the beauty of the art itself) was I so moved and wanting to re-watch and re-watch...? Probably lots of reasons but I guess while listening and watching, we/I, the audience are suddenly transformed into 'doors'. Because the watching poses not a question but an interpellation: Who am I faced with at this door and the women outside/in-between the doors? What kind of door am I? How would I respond? How have I been responding? I also treasure that the pieces put me immediately in contact with the actual world, the materiality of the world and not the mind. It transported me to my surroundings and the attention to the doors around. Everyone is a door, no one should assume safety. I also really appreciated that you guide us through each piece. I don't have the schooling nor the intuition to “understand art” so it was a beautiful experience to actually experience the art with your telling. Thank you so much for creating this and putting it out in the world!" Tania - Mexico (2022)

Strangulation Collection

The Arts Lab collections illuminate visual metaphors and symbols used by Insight Exchange participants as part of how they describe their lived experience. This collection of five original artworks by collaborating artist Louise Whelan feature in the Foundations Module - Understanding and responding to strangulation. The anonymous voice of a persons lived experience of strangulation is presented in text across the collection.

Open the collection in a lightbox via the Strangulation landing page

Working with distressing content collection

The Working with distressing content booklet features a series of original artworks created by collaborating photo media artist Louise Whelan. The artworks can be viewed with the accompanying lived experience quotes in a lightbox. Click on the image below to open the lightbox. Explore more on the Working with content landing page.

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