Farewell to 2021 – a message from the Head of School

As 2021 draws to a close, now is the time to look back and celebrate the achievements of our staff and the School over the past year.

A silhouette sits in a hammock on the beach.

A couple of items I wanted to particularly note. We were delighted to announce the establishment of the Contemplative Studies Centre (CSC) in March, the first point of entry into the world of mindfulness, meditation and contemplative practice at the University. The CSC aims to build a truly inclusive community of novice and adept practitioners, scholars and academics, clinicians and researchers, and secular, spiritual and Indigenous leaders. Our changemakers are focused on using these profound practices to transform not just individuals but the entirety of human society, through greater connection and compassion.

In September, the Centre launched its Meditation for Lockdown series for staff and students experiencing mental health difficulties during the pandemic. Facilitated by expert teachers from secular, faith and wisdom traditions, the program attracted almost 900 attendees and was well-received by the University community.

The CSC has now opened the first round of their Academic Seed Funding Program (ASFP). Open to academics from across the University of Melbourne, ASFP is aimed at small to medium-sized academic projects of all kinds that advance the interest, capacity, and impact of contemplative studies and practice at the University and in the broader community.

Science Gallery Melbourne's new exhibition, Mental, is the first exhibition to be presented at Science Gallery Melbourne’s new purpose-built gallery and reflects a range of different perspectives on mental health. In this interactive exhibition, science, technology and art come together to showcase stories and experiences from across the mental health spectrum.

Professor Sarah Wilson, Dr Simon Cropper, Dr Chris Groot, and academic staff from the Functions of Emotions in Everyday Life (FEEL) Research Lab were all involved in the development of this fantastic exhibition, which opens to the public on 20 January 2022. Simon and Chris investigate visitors' perceptions of the experience and attitudes in relation to the work, while research, conducted in collaboration with FEEL, champions the importance and benefits of fully experiencing emotions in our everyday lives.

We've also got plenty to look forward to in 2022, through the continuation of our current work and the establishment of new projects. Our 75th Anniversary celebrations will also resume, and we'll share more about those events in the new year. Until then, I want to wish you all an enjoyable and safe summer break.

Rob Hester– Professor Rob Hester,
Head of School, Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences