Out Loud Aotearoa succeeded in the goal of encouraging New Zealanders to participate in the arts through engaging 37 local artists (most of them identifying as queer, gender diverse and/or intersex (rainbow)) to illustrate 83 stories and wishes of rainbow people around the mental health and addiction system in Aotearoa. Those who submitted their stories and wishes were engaged in a feedback process related to the artwork created for their story/submission which led to a form of collaboration between the artists and those who submitted to Out Loud.
The art works were created by a broad range of artists – from those who create art professionally, those who attend art school, and those who create art in a personal capacity. The art works submitted covered various mediums.
The knowledge collected through Out Loud Aotearoa will be an invaluable resource for the queer, gender diverse and intersex community going forwards. Themes and recommendations based on the experiences and wishes shared through the project were presented to the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry Panel on 26th June 2018, with the full report being published and sent to them in the weeks after this.
The report prepared for the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry Panel has also been printed and sent out to various Mental Health and Addiction services to assist with their rainbow competency efforts while the panel put together their recommendations based on all the submissions they have collected. It will also be available online.
The submissions made through Out Loud Aotearoa have been made available to researchers conducting their research into mental health and rainbow communities and have been factored into two research projects as of August 2018. Our findings have also been presented at the Festival for the Future conference during a panel on mental health. We hope that the information provided through Out Loud Aotearoa will help influence ongoing positive change in the way our mental health and addiction services meet the needs of the rainbow community.