Since 2019, EWF has collaborated with artist-run collectives to produce a series of events at each festival known as EWF X. This year, three collectives will be participating in EWF X: Thin Red Lines, Schizy Inc and Rosa Press. We invited each collective to answer a couple of quick questions and introduce themselves to the EWF Blog. Meet Schizy!

Hello! Please introduce yourself and your collective to the EWF Blog. How did Schizy Inc come to be, what unites the writers of this collective?
Schizy Inc is an arts collective of creatives with living experience of diverse mental health, including schizophrenia. We’re based on Wurundjeri (Melbourne) but there are artists from all over the place. We seek out and create realistic pathways into the arts, make arts places more socially accessible and support people to feel strong and proud of their lived and living experience surviving with complex trauma in the backdrop.

I started Schizy Inc in 2008 with a local music gig for World Schizophrenia Day with a bunch of muso mates, because I wanted to do something proudly fun and subversive to the mental health system’s offerings. That gig grew into an international music jam, a multi-arts festival, the world’s only schizophrenia film festival and now we have a performing arts and creative healing program that runs all year. We’re just about to open Australia’s first Living Experience led arts studio!

Gnarly Writers is a response to an incredible community of natural born writers in our community bursting at the seams with words yet nowhere to hone them. This gig with Emerging Writers Festival lets people channel their love of first-person writing into a social outcome – debating the merits of our mental health system. Sparks are gonna fly.

What does community mean to you?
Community is a verb to Schizy Inc. People with complex mental health realities by nature, get pulled to the margins because the umbre is where we feel safe. But that means we’re often very alone, isolated and disconnected from so many good systems. Schizy Inc enables people to want to feel brave and practice the feeling of having a friend – someone not just contacting you because you’re unwell, but because they need the key to the office or want to ask if you’d like a printer.

Are there any other events you are looking forward to on the EWF program?
The writers in Storming the City (‘Finding Community in the Eye of the Storm’) share some airspace with Schizy Inc and I’m a big fan of Writers Victoria! I need to have a potter around the program, see who else is bringing the social and human rights vibe to the mental health and disability dancefloor.

What have you been consuming right now? Reading, listening, observing – feel free to be as broad as you like!
Is it fair to say the internet? I’m a prolific reader of emails. Running a NFP plus managing my own work, means a steady flood of correspondence. In terms of reading books, like many people with a sensory processing condition, I find it challenging to read a lot of adult author’s work. A beautiful accessible book I devoured recently is ‘Hard Knocks’ by Fiona Scott-Norman. It’s a collection of profiled diverse Australians relating their experiences of being othered in school yet translating that pain into strength as adults. I’ll take this opportunity to advocate my own published book ‘My Friend Fox’ (Ultimo Press). I read bits of that out at author events!

What can we expect at your event? Where can we learn more about Schizy Inc?
There are two definitions of ‘gnarly’. One is the surfing term you sling at someone who’s just performed a dangerous, creative or rebellious trick on a wave. The other describes an old tree, twisted and knotty; full of lore and wisdom. So you get the gist of Gnarly Writers. We’re people who’ve been in the mental health system for decades, so we know the idioms and we’re not afraid to try some sick maneuvers while advocacy grommets muck about in the shallows.

Schizy Inc welcomes diverse creatives with living experience of schizophrenia and other mental health realities to join our fabulously fun arts projects. We‘re about to launch a callout for visual artists and writers to join the SIDAS art studio program in Melbourne, our World Schizophrenia Day event Mojo Festival is coming up this week. We’re also working on a Schizy Inc healing farm, and did I mention, Gnarly Writers with EWF is on Thursday 23 June at LOOP Space, Melbourne. Get a ticket and come have some fun.


Learn more about EWF X Schizy Inc: Gnarly Writers here. Gnarly Writers takes place Thursday 23 June, 7.30-8.30pm at Loop Bar.