Arts Lab

Arts Lab

Since the inception of Insight Exchange, we have been learning about and taking up our responsibility to carefully and ethically represent experiences of domestic and family violence, in order to inform social, service and system responses.

“The problem of violence is inextricably linked to the problem of representation”[1]

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.[1]

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

[1] Dr Linda Coates and Dr Allan Wade (2007), 'Language and Violence: Analysis of Four Discursive Operations', Journal of Family Violence, 22:511-522.

Our Intention

  • To provide ways to engage with lived experience insights about domestic and family violence beyond relying on the written word.
  • To illuminate visual metaphors and symbols used by Insight Exchange participants as part of how they describe their lived experience.
  • To generate new visual representations of violence in public imagery that centre on dignity and are informed by lived experience insights.
  • Use imagery to ignite curiosity and engagement across sectors and community toward listening to and reflecting on insights from people with lived experience of domestic and family violence.

Avenues for development

  1. Generation of visual imagery for social media and website platform.
  2. Engagement with digital facilitators to produce animations and related images.
  3. Commissioning of original photo-media artwork for representing of lived experience insights and other elements of Insight Exchange materials.

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 Projects and Collaborations

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.

Click on the image above to view the Voices of Insight Collection.

Explore the view the Voices of Insight Collection in full.

Read the artist statement.

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

Are you wanting to use these images in a specific project, presentation or event?

Voices of Insight Collection | Artworks © Louise Whelan. The Voices of Insight artworks were developed in consultation with participants and each image is protected by copyright. To use Arts Lab Collection images permission must be sought from Insight Exchange – Apply here

No Hidden Door Collection & Artist Talk

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. 

No Hidden Door collection created by Louise Whelan in collaboration with Insight Exchange. Open the No Hidden Door collection in a lightbox via the Arts lab collection page

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

What is your response?

Share your response to the collection (artworks and/artist talk)

Responding to the No Hidden Door Collection and artist talk

"OMG!!! I cannot get over this! I have seen it at least 10 times!! Louise, 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)

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

Are you wanting to use these images in a specific project, presentation or event?

No Hidden Door Collection | Artworks © Louise Whelan.  These artworks were developed in with Insight Exchange and each image is protected by copyright. To use No Hidden Door images permission must be sought from Insight Exchange – Apply here

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