Culture Victoria

The Dax Centre

Kenneth Myer Building, The University of Melbourne, Genetics Lane off Royal Parade MELBOURNE Phone: (03) 9342 2394 Visit Website

The Dax Centre promotes mental health and wellbeing by fostering a greater understanding of the mind, mental illness and trauma through art and creativity.

Our Collection

The Dax Centre houses and manages the Cunningham Dax Collection and its associated archives. The Collection comprises over 15,000 artworks created by individuals with an experience of mental illness or trauma. The artworks consist of a variety of mediums including works on paper, paintings, sculptures, photography, artist books, and film. The Collection?s founder, Dr Eric Cunningham Dax, assembled the core group of artworks from hospitals and institutions between the 1940s and the 1980s. More recently the Collection has also accepted donations from individuals, community groups and mental health organisations. The artworks in the Collection offer a unique insight into the personal experiences of those with mental illness and trauma. It is one of the three largest collections of its kind in the world. It is also registered with Heritage Victoria due to its historic significance as a record of the lived experiences of mental hospital patients during the Collection?s earlier period. Some significant recent acquisitions include the Safe Havens Collection of over 760 artworks created by child refugees from Kosovo and East Timor who were granted temporary safe haven visas in the late 1990s, and the Bushfire Collection, an initiative to develop and preserve a collection of creative works that were made in response to the 2009 Victorian bushfires.