Open Call Details

MENTAL open call for proposals. Image shows large tangled ball of fabric and yarn around a person's head.


Under Review
Open from 
10th October 2019, 11:00am AEDT to 22nd November 2019, 12:00am AEDT
Results by 
1st March
Mental health continuum

VENUE: SCIENCE GALLERY MELBOURNE, corner of Swanston and Grattan Streets

Science Gallery Melbourne invites proposals from all disciplines to explore the full spectrum of mental health in our first exhibition in the new gallery. 

Everyone with a brain is mental, reacting to the world in response to our own perception, biochemistry and emotional state. Almost half of us will directly experience challenges to our mental health when something is out of balance in our lives. Young people are an especially affected group with 75% of those affected first experiencing mental health stress between the ages of 15-24.   

Be prepared to challenge your thinking by flexing your mental muscles, exercising your empathy and tackling your taboos. What is your ‘normal’? When is your brain betraying you? Why is mental health stigma still a thing? Can you enhance your brain? Just how much control do you have over your mind? 

MENTAL is a welcoming place to confront societal bias and stigma. It will immerse audiences in new research, art and ideas that provoke, respond, and adapt throughout the show. Curated with young adults for young adults, it brings together art, science, and technology grounded in research, evidence and enquiry.  

Part experiment, part exhibition - MENTAL is for everyone. Because really, we are all mental.    

Potential directions and topics include but are not limited to:  

CONNECTION: belonging | empathy | overload | genetics  
PERCEPTION: agency | stress | thoughts | imagination | resilience | neuroscience 
TECHNOLOGY: enhance | upgrade | download | data access 


Science Gallery acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as Australia’s first scientists and artists. We especially encourage submissions from all First Nations people.  

Experimentation, provocation and research are at the heart of SGM’s values and programs. This exhibition will explore the continual balancing act of our own psyche through the lens of artists, psychologists, performers, neuroscientists, designers, computer scientists, nurses, engineers, musicians, mathematicians, architects and young people. The list of possibilities is endless.  

Your proposal could be a new or existing artwork, performance, workshop, digital intervention, research project, or other activity. We strongly recommend that you keep our target audience of young people aged 15-25 years in mind and consider including interactive or participatory elements. We would love humour to feature in the exhibition somehow in a kind and respectful way. That means a way of laughing together rather than at anyone in particular. Check out our tips on what makes a good open call submission.  

Curatorial team  

Science Gallery Melbourne creates exhibitions with young people for young people. MENTAL will be shaped by the curatorial panel which is made up of predominantly young people and Science Gallery Melbourne staff. All short-listed proposals will be reviewed and vetted by our Expert Advisory Group of mental health experts and other clever people before being notified of their inclusion in the season. 

Expert Advisory Group 

  • Professor Sarah Wilson, Head of School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne 
  • Professor Jayashri Kulkarni, Director, Women’s Mental Health Research Division, Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre.  
  • Jefa Greenaway, Lecturer, Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne 

Other members to be announced soon…  


We’re open to all kinds of proposals. As a guide, the majority of our projects are funded up to around $8,000 AUD which includes all artist fees, materials, equipment, shipping, travel etc. We enthusiastically welcome proposals that come in below that budget.  

We will also consider extraordinary proposals for larger installations with a budget of up to $50,000 AUD, with a focus on experimentation and interaction. These should have a genuine connection to the theme and our target audience. 

Please click the “Click here to apply” button above to submit your proposal.  



Great. We love questions. There are overall open call FAQs and we have listed some extra bits below. Have a read through these extra bits first to see if they help.

Who can apply?
Anyone. There are no restrictions on age, education level, research background, country or any other factor. We especially encourage submissions from young people and all First Nations people.  

Can individuals or groups and collaborations apply? 
We welcome submissions of interest from individuals, groups, collaborative projects and productions working locally or internationally.  

How big is the exhibition space? 
The Science Gallery Melbourne building is going to be an amazing space with wide open areas, moveable walls, large glass windows, natural light and high ceilings. There are two dedicated gallery spaces, The Peter & Ruth McMullin Galleries; The Eastern Gallery is 800 square meters with a ceiling height of 5.5m and the Western Gallery is 300 square meters and up to 12m ceiling height. So don’t be afraid to go big. We love big. 

How do you decide which projects are included?
At Science Gallery Melbourne we embed young people in every stage of the process. The projects we receive through this open call will be reviewed and hotly debated by our curatorial panel. This panel is made up of young people and Science Gallery Melbourne staff. All short-listed proposals will be reviewed and vetted by our Expert Advisory Group of experts and advocates from different areas of mental health and other industry and academic peers. If your proposal makes it to the shortlisting stage you will then meet and discuss your project with the Science Gallery team in person or on video call. This will most likely happen in early 2020.

If I’m shortlisted does it mean I am successful?
No. It means the panel really liked your idea and think it would work well in our MENTAL season. The next step is meeting with us to discuss your idea in more detail and to talk more seriously about budgets and timelines and all that jazz.

How many projects will be included? 
We’re not absolutely sure as it will depend on the size of the projects that go in the gallery. The final gallery will have between 20-30 works installed in the exhibition. There are all sorts of other opportunities to collaborate with us on talks, performances, poetry battles, dance-offs, apps, outreach programs, school programs, citizen science projects, or pop-ups.  

What kind of project formats are accepted? 
Science Gallery isn’t a traditional gallery space. We’re not too keen about just plonking things on plinths for people to look at. We love interactivity and inviting our visitors to participate with the installations. We welcome projects across all forms - that could include digital, physical, immersive, game-based, video, sound, imagery, interactive, sculpture, web-based work, live research experimentation, data mining, medical, or natural science research – essentially we are not format-prescriptive and we love weird ideas. 

Who are your audience? 
Young people are at the centre of all things we do. 70% of our audience are under 30 years old and all our exhibitions will be created with young people for young people. It’s really important that you think about how this audience will connect with your work. Like super duper important.  

What sort of projects are your favourite?  
We’re so glad you asked. Science Gallery’s approach is interdisciplinary, so we especially love to see the creativity that erupts from the collision of different disciplines. That means:  

  • If you are an artist then we’d love your project to include collaboration with people from other fields – scientists or engineers or technologists or designers…. The list goes on.  
  • If you are a researcher we’d love your project to include collaboration with creative practitioners not in your field.  

Don’t panic if you haven’t connected with a collaborator, we can hook you up if you are selected. It really is the ‘vibe of the thing’ that we are after at this point.  

I don’t really have a project to pitch but I work in this area and I’d love to be involved. 
Let’s gloss over that this isn’t technically a question to say: Fantastic! We want to know about your practice. Come join us as we embed research and knowledge within the fabric of all our programs. We want to connect you with the public, creative practitioners, academics and industry both locally and globally. Get in touch - 

When will I get an answer? 
Once the open call closes we will convene the curatorial panel to review the submissions, make a short list, meet with all those people to discuss in more detail. This will most likely happen in early 2020. Science Gallery Melbourne will keep all applicants informed of the progress as the discussions evolve.

Can I receive feedback from my application if I am not shortlisted?
Sorry but it’s not possible due to the volume of applications we receive. Feedback is only available to proposals that make the shortlist when they meet with the Science Gallery team.



I have heard of two environments (Apps/VR) on Autism that may be interesting for your exhibition. 

The ‘ASD and Me’ app designed by 12 yr-old boy Hamish Filayson (

The other is simulating the environment people with autism experience (as a generalization). I thought there was one released in Melbourne or by University of Melbourne research or nursing teams, but this is the only one I can find online:

I would love to see the exhibition increase public awareness of Autism, and also perhaps have some autism-friendly hours, much like Melbourne Museum and Coles have trialed. 

Many thanks for considering this information.

Thanks Lisa, I'll have a look at those links. Autism friendly hours is a good idea too. 

Hello! I am a scientist but I was wondering if submissions like poetry would be accepted? Thank you! 

Hey Lana, we absolutely love poetry! Submit away. MENTAL will have a whole program of events that happen throughout the seaons too. We have an annual Poetry Slam at the moment and that will 100% continue. Check out our event from the DISPOSABLE season this year: Shit Happens


Just a question in relation to artists applying from Europe - will the transport be covered to and from the country of origin?

many thanks,


Hello Celia, 

The budget you submit should includes all costs associated with the project - artist fees, materials, equipment, shipping, travel etc. 

Looking forward to your submission!

Dear Science Gallery Melbourne team,

I am doing my research in cognitive science in Paris and I have a collaboration with an artist that I think would be a great fit for your call for proposals. However, I am a bit concerned about the ecological footprint of us going to Melbourne if our presence is needed for install. The work is a 360º film that can be watched in any VR headset. I was wondering if you had VR headsets already, so that we could just send the file. This would also reduce the amount of funding needed, of course.

I also wanted to ask. What is the standard artist fee that you have in mind ? In France, for instance, there are regulations pertaining minimum artist fees and the like.

Thanks a lot

Thanks for your questions. We don't have VR headsets already but that tech is the sort of thing we can get our hands on. So you can put that in as material needed to be sourced locally. In terms of rates we follow the NAVA guides so it varies depending on what is involved but we are fair and consistent. Let us know if you have any other questions. 

Hi there, can I submit multiple projects?

Hey Rebecca, Good question - You sure can! I'll update the text above to link to our network FAQs that cover this. Looking forward to reading your submission(s)! 

Hi SG Team!!

If we have one core idea but different ways of presenting it, should we mention this in one application? or should we fill separate applications for each presentation form?

Thank you for your time and efforts.

Hmmmmm interesting question - I reckon one application to get across the idea and list the different options in the audience engagement section. Thanks for YOUR time and efforts. 


I'm just wondering how long MENTAL will run for? I'm wanting to submit a proposal that includes an interactive idea that includes my service/assistance canine.

Thanks in advance!

Craig and Ruby :)

Hey Craig and Ruby, MENTAL will run until May 2021... then it will bump out so our second show can bump in. Woot woot! 


I'm interested in perhaps submitting a small game based interactive work. It would probably just need a screen to run and some sort of mouse/click device. Are you open to digital submissions of this nature. It would be looking at technology and perception.

Thanks so much,


Hi Mel,

We sure are! Submit away! 

Thanks so much for your help!


Is it possible to submit a video which answers the questions on project description, audience experience and collaborators, but fill out the form for answers on budget and biography? Its a bit tricky getting the budget into the video, but the video gives a good idea of the project.

Best wishes


Hey Nwando, 

Yep - you can submit it in that way. MAke sure you give a good idea about your project whichever way you prefer. Totally fine to do the bulk in video and submit other summaries in the text boxes. The video is totally optional. 

Looking forward to your submission. 

Hi there,

In regards to the application process, am I right in understanding that the 4 minute embedded video is coupled with the written application? In the sense that the written application is filled out and the 4 minute embedded video is also submitted?

I look forward to you response.




Hey Tess, 

Thanks for your interest. The video is entirely optional. If you prefer to submit video rather than text go for it. Or if you have a video of the work we'd love to see it. If you get all the relevant info into the video that's fine to submit just that to us. Make sure you represent the project as best you can though - so that might mean you provide some text detail as well. The video will be embedded in the application though - so we will see you submission all together. 

Looking forward to your submission! 

"Optional: Upload or embed a video application (2 mins max)
Instead of filling out this form, you can also upload or provide a link to a short video about your project that covers all the areas mentioned below. "

Hi SC team 

I am currently working through the application.  There are these two sections in the application.

  • Project description

Provide a brief background to your project, and explain how it relates to the subject of the open call.

  • Connection with theme

How does your work or project fit the theme of the Open Call?


Both the sections are asking very similar question regarding the project connection to the theme. I am not sure if I am understanding the questions right but could you please elaborate these a bit more?



Hey J,

Good point! They do have a lot of cross over. We are always looking for ways to improve our processes. Describe the project in the first section and explain how your project connects to the theme in the second part. We'll update the decriptions for the next open call. Thanks for pointing it out. 


If successful, is it possible to seek additional funding on top of this grant for my idea / concept? 

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind Regards,


Hey Tess,

Do you mean from other funding sources? Absolutely that's possible. We encourage it and can assist with letters of support etc. 

Looking forward to seeing your application. 


Hi there

This is a brilliant opportunity - thanks!

The application form asks for an image to be uploaded to represent the project. Is this something that will be published or is it just something that the panel use? I’m not quite sure what sort of thing to include!


Hey there B,

This is for the panel to get a sense of the project. So if work/installation/thing exists already then providing images really helps. If you have an idea of how it *will* look then plans or drawings or photos similar will help. These will not be published they are to assist the panel in the assessment. 

Looking forward to your submission!


Hi Science Gallery team, 

Wondering if there are recommendations around workshop duration, or any limitation on this? If they were to run over several hours, could food for attendees be included as part of the budget? 

Also confirming if there is a word limit on the 'Connection with theme' section? 

Many thanks! 

Hey Isabel, 

It's hard to give you feedback when we don't know the topic or depth of the workshops. I would say put your ideas down and we will certainly be open to negotiating length and all other details if your proposal gets through to the next round. Food can definitely be included in budgets for participatory workshops and events. 

I would keep connection to theme to max 200 words. 

Looking forward to reading your submission. 


I would like to know if a project about the memory system and memory loss can be considered for this open call.

Thank you very much.


Hey Flami, 

We welcome any project that connects to the theme. So if you can propose a memory system / memory loss project that appeals to our audience of 15-25yos and is participatory and connects to the theme then we encourage you to put it in. Good luck. 

Can a Project be auspiced?


The Application form is not very long and was wondering if you can:  Attached CV, Images of works, Letters of Support.  And if so, how is this best done.

Hey Louise, 

You can upload multiple images of the work in first part of the submission. There is a 100 biography section to outline a summary of your CV and a 'Connections with collaborators' section where you can outline collaborators. No need for extensive CVs or letters of support at this stage. 

Looking forward to your submission. 


I would like to ask if it is possible to upload a video file and add a video link at the same time?


Hey Asmaa,

It sure it. Both options will work simultaneously but they are optional. Looking forward to your submission. 

I am working on my application now, and when it comes to upload the video it tells me that the upload did not complete.

My video fulfilled all the requirements; it is 37.5 MB, 01:18 Mins, and 30 frames/sec
I think the reason is the width and height pixels, as it is 1280x720

Kindly, indicate why it cannot be uploaded, and whether the reason is the pixels or something else.


Hi SG Team,

We feel that one can best get a feel of the experience we're proposing through some audio clips. We've been doing some tests of our idea and have a few short audio clips to supplement our application.

Is there any provision for submitting audio samples with our application? 

Thanks in advance for reading this .

Warm regards, 

Da Hye & Shreyans 

Hey Da Hye & Shreyans,

Thanks for the question. If the clips are uploaded into a soundcloud or some other sharing platform you could put that link in to the video link options. Otherwise you can send it to the general email address with your name, project name etc. (as well as submitting your application via the open call) and we will connect the files to your app. Looking forward to your submission. 

Hi there,

I have a project which has two cores elements - an installation and an immersive theatre performance in that installation. The performance element is not completely necessary, but adds quite a lot to the experience. 
How would you recommend submitting this? The performance element obviously makes the exhibit cost more and the installation can function on it's own. However, would the performance element be something that you would be interested in having as well?



Hey Troy,

Sounds great. I say submit them together and the panel will be able to recommend both or one part. Looking forward to your submission. 

Thank you!

Hi again!

Is there a place in the application where I can attach supporting documentation/letters? One of my collaborators is involved in a very relevant area and I want to include a confirmation that they are involved in the work.


Hey Troy, 

The 'Connections with collaborators' section is where you can outline collaborators. No need for letters of support at this stage - just tell us who they are and more detail may be needed at a later stage. 


I have trouble with the submission page (I cannot upload images nor can I save the submission)– who should I direct this enquiry to?

Thank you for your help.



Hey Jo,

Sorry to hear that you're having problems with the submission. I'll forward this onto our technical support team but have you <cough> turned your computer on and off and tried again? 


No, I have not :)  but I can try. I have used different browsers and logged onto different internet networks, but alas to no avail. I will wait to hear from your technical support.

Would very much like to get the application in!

Thanks for your help.


Update for the community: Jo and I figured out that it the error was caused by the application having an emoji in it. <shakes fist at the clouds> Please forgive our system - it is a little old. We will build another one that welcomes emojis. :)

I understand the audience age is 15-25. So is it welcome if I send nudity art? I have a&nbsp; very unique work of self photo, so I hope I may send it. Thank you

If the work connects to the theme then send away! Apologies that we didn't understand the context from your initial question. 

I'm having issues uploading images and video.

I've shut down and reopened, I've tried different browsers, no emojis. THe images are JPEG under 2MG have also tried PNG files - no luck.

Any help available?



Hey B, 

Sorry you're having issues saving images and video. Frustrating! I've consulted with our awesome tech support and they have said that "It might be too big, or sometimes images can be corrupted and the system won't allow them to be uploaded. The easiest way to resolve that is usually to resave the image in a different format or to take a screenshot of the image and upload the screenshot". 

Worse case you can submit without ans send them to the Science Gallery Melbourne email address: . Preference is for it to be included in the application. 

Thanks for the swift reply.

I already tried re-saving the image as a different file type (a png)  - no luck. I've tried changing the file name - no luck.

I may have to email images in if the problem doesn't resolve. Not sure what to do about video as that is not uploading either. Nor will it take submitting a URL for the link to video.



PS as I mentioned in my initial comment the images are under the required 2MB - I tried a 375KB image and a 1 MB image.

Hey B, 

I'm sorry you're having problems submitting an attachment to the open call. I'm copying this question and answer from the 'Open Call FAQs' page:

Q: I was unable to attach an image to my submission form. What should I do?
A: Let us know at and forward on the image - we will add it to your submission.

So our central tech support team can help attach the videos/images to the application! Even better than sending it to Science Gallery Melbourne email address. 

I am keeping trying other work arounds with your system but having no luck so far. If I don't manage to upload the images and video then I will upload the images and video to drop box and email (support) a link to the files - the video is too large to email (but it is still within the acceptable size that you accept via the online submission).



Hi team! 

Naturally, have left it to the final minute to upload the proposal, and have noticed it needs to be approved before submitted - ahhh! Can you advise on a final time for the initial submission, so it is improved in time to re-submit for the deadline?


Hey Rachel,

Apologies - I'm not sure what you mean? The submission doesn't need to be approved from our end to be submitted.... hmmmm any tech questions can go to our super tech support at:

Apologies - a misunderstanding from the timeline. I though as the submission approval step was situated before the deadline it meant it needed to be approved. 

Hi there,

I am interested in submitting a proposal for a short audio/video presentation that could be run in a loop.  Do you have projectors/screens available, or do I need to budget for this?  Also, is there likely to be a theatrette, or enclosed space available, or should I look to the construction of a booth?

Hey Kim

Good question. Just pitch the idea and how it connects to theme at this stage. Don't worry about budgetting for the tech (if it is just standard projection) or the construction of a booth unless that is what you'd prefer to show it in and it is intergral to the project.  

Hello my application keeps not saving, I have lost work three times now.  I'm I doing something wrong?


Thank you. 

Oh no. That sounds really frustruating! If you contact they may be able to help. Let them know the name of your work and they can look into it. Sorry for the hassle. 

Thank you - the deadline is midnight yes? 

Yep! It was 11am but we’ve had a few panicked people who didn't see the time, only the date. As such, the open call deadline has been extended to midnight tonight to acknowledge that not everyone reads the fine print and that’s ok!

My apologies, myself and two other younger artists had decided and were writing a submission. Is there anyway you will except submissions again soon. 

Hi there,

I just heard about this fantastic program! I have a work which I think could be a good fit for the program, but sadly, it seems submission have closed. Is there any chance of submitting a late proposal? (I assume not, but thought worth asking, just in case).

Many thanks,