The Dax Centre

Term: 1 Year: 2020

“Someone once said to me that The Dax Centre was Melbourne’s best kept secret,” says Charmaine Smith, Director of The Dax Centre.

Have you ever been to The Dax Centre?

If you are not familiar with us, The Dax Centre is unique art gallery within the Kenneth Myer Building located at The University of Melbourne, Parkville. The Dax Centre was established in honour of the mental health pioneer Dr Eric Cunningham Dax who was a psychiatrist who saw the value and potential of art programs and art-making for people with a lived-experience of a mental health issue.

The Dax Centre is part of the SANE Australia Group and is custodian of the Cunningham Dax Collection which consists of both a historical and contemporary collection of over 16,000 artistic works produced by people with a lived-experience of mental health illness and/or psychological trauma.

Through innovative exhibitions and programs, The Dax Centre is an excellent resource to engage, inform and encourage connections about mental health. By using the art as the key to opening up conversations about mental health, The Dax Centre provides an opportunity for artists to share their stories and inspire people to expand their understanding of and to reduce stigma around mental health.

The Dax Centre also offers a rather rare and exclusive opportunity for VCE Studio Arts students to actually go behind the scenes. The Behind the Scenes Program runs throughout the year and provides students with an introduction to the exhibition and by providing access to the curatorial working spaces and storage facilities housing the Cunningham Dax Collection, students can gain insight into the methods, roles and considerations involved in the preparation, presentation and conservation of artworks for an exhibition as well as the maintenance of the Collection. Students will also learn about the specific legal and ethical considerations that are particular to displaying some of the artwork in the Cunningham Dax Collection.

Tiffany Chimirri
Community Engagement & Learning Lead
The Dax Centre