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Slice the Silence

10 October 2023
4.00pm – 6.00pm AEDT
The Bank, UNSW Kensington
This event has ended
cushion with the word 'UNSPEAKABLE' embroidered

This special event includes:

  • Australian premiere of the short film, Slice/Silence
  • Talk by survivor artist and PhD candidate behind Slice/Silence, Indigo Daya
  • Panel discussion: Exploring issues raised by the Slice/Silence project (Indigo Daya, Scarlett Franks, Dr Emma Tseris & A/Prof Linda Steele)
  • Exhibition of the Slice/Silence installation

Slice/Silence is a PhD project by Indigo Daya (UNSW; NHMRC ALIVE Centre). It asks us to consider an alternative to silencing and forcibly stopping people from using self-injury -- a creative, survivor-led space to explore and witness together.

Slice/Silence launched last year as an interactive art installation at the Big Anxiety Festival Forum in Naarm. Guests were invited to sit with art cushion objects, hold them, injure them, stitch them, bandage them, destroy them, tattoo them… whatever they wanted. Over time, the cushions became layered with testimony, pain and response. Conversation circles were held where we talked about the things that are normally silenced about self-injury, trauma and injustice.

The short film, by Article One, captures the hopes and practice of Slice/Silence as it is planned, crafted, installed and explored by community.

In her talk, Indigo will explore the hopes and ideas for expanding this project in her practice-based PhD, which draws on a hybrid practice of peer support + socially engaged art + resistance.

In the panel discussion, we’ll explore Slice/Silence and other non-carceral alternatives in responding to the experience of self-injury.

During the event, guests are welcome to sit with and witness the Slice/Silence cushions. Each holds one or many survivor stories about trauma, injustice, shame and silencing. You will be invited, if you like, to offer back words of listening and solidarity to those who have co-created the cushions.

Slice/Silence will be exhibited in the BARC Open Studio from October 9 - 13. 

Indigo Daya, blue haired bespectacled woman with pale skin peeking through circular hole in textile artwork

Indigo Daya

Indigo Daya is a survivor researcher in madness & trauma, with interests in shame and abuse / sexual violence, impacts of carceral psychiatry, epistemic injustice & offerings grounded in survivor peer work, creative & emancipatory practices. She is currently a PhD candidate & Research Associate at the Big Anxiety Research Centre, UNSW.

Emma Tseris

Emma Tseris

Dr Emma Tseris is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney whose research and teaching areas include critical mental health theory, intersections between gender inequality and contemporary psychiatric practices, power inequalities between professionals and service users, and medicalisation/therapeutic trends within neoliberal societies. Emma is involved in research and teaching that aims to create space for alternative understandings of distress, difference, and 'madness' beyond the constraints of the biomedical model. This involves a commitment to privileging experiential expertise, and valuing creativity, resistance, and collective knowledge-building.

Scarlett Franks, young woman with medium curly brown hair

Scarlett Franks

Scarlett is a survivor-researcher from the University of Sydney who contributes to projects exploring stigmatised adaptations to trauma and human rights violations, through a critical lens. She has the honour of serving on the Survivor College of the National Centre for Action for Child Sexual Abuse; the board of directors of the Grace Tame Foundation; and the Advisory Panel of the NSW Office of the Anti-Slavery Commission. Scarlett has personal experience of self-injury; of caring for loved-ones with life-altering self-injury; and of the life-threatening impacts of unjust responses to self-injury.  


Image of Linda Steele 

Linda Steele 

Linda Steele is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at University of Technology Sydney, Australia. She is a socio-legal scholar leading a program of research ‘Truth Justice Repair’ through which she explores reckoning with and repair of violence, institutionalisation and segregation experienced by people with disability. Linda is author of Disability, Criminal Justice and Law (2020, Routledge).