laneway of lived experience

stories and artwork from the lived experience community and their experiences of covid

About this work: 


The Our Experiences of COVID Project was a two-stage project providing a platform for the lived and living experience community to communicate their experiences and learnings during and from COVID. Laneway of Lived Experience is the culmination of Stage Two. This interactive art exhibition showcases the stories we gathered from members of the lived and living experience community through one-to-one interviews and artwork created by them. 

We invite you to join us and take part in witnessing these stories, to truly hear and learn from them together.

The Artwork: 

 The Story Tellers:   


Cat is an emerging creative and mental health advocate who believes strongly in the power of lived experience and encouraging creativity in the mental health recovery space. She is studying Psychology and Disability Studies at university. In her space time, she enjoys playing the clarinet and being in nature.

‘Sometimes, you might just notice beauty in the melancholy.’ – Cat 


Lana is a mother of two boys and a wife. Her husband had his work reduced by 50% during COVID and she lost all her working opportunities and her children missed school. Lana and her family still haven’t seen the children’s grandma, who resides in Victoria, due to COVID.

‘I struggled with the messiness of everything because messiness was everywhere.’ – Lana


AJ has been interested in art all her life. She attended Art school in the  80’s however life got in the way and she didn’t have time. SHe found my way back to art in 2010 after some traumatic experiences left her in a dark space. It has helped her to work through some of the subsequent challenges she was facing at the time, to help her find some relief from the extreme anxiety and depression she experiences. A way to practice mindfulness.  Since then she has experimented with different mediums. Abstract collage, photography, still life drawing,  portrait drawing, charcoal, water colour and acrylic. Her inspiration comes from the natural world around her, and from the fantasy worlds in her imagination.

‘I love the freedom of experimenting, expressing my feelings and my playing with memories… I love to see what happens when I do something different and then follow that through to see where it finishes.’ – AJ


Rumination and Relief: We’ve experienced both once or twice, if not, more times in our life.’Niccy


Mario is Lauren’s dad. He is a 60-year-old who has devoted his life to playing an active role in systems changes since the tragic loss of his daughter. He is an active Consumer and Carer Advocate in the mental health space – not because he wants to blame the mental health system for what happened, but because he is committed for it to do better. He also started a Facebook group to ensure Lauren’s Legacy Lives On. The photos he has chosen to share with you include their cat, called Back, who Lauren and Mario got at the beginning of her recovery journey with an eating disorder. Back gave her hope and unconditional love.

‘My heartache as a father of not knowing if I could have done more, if I could have done something sooner or if I failed, will inspire me to help others in my situation. ‘ – Mario


Michelle has a grateful artist soul which thrives in daily ocean immersion. For her, recovery and wellness are linked to thinking and working creatively and kindly and she loves to share with others ?

The Woman with 1,000 Hearts.’Michelle


Our Experiences of COVID report [Stage One]: 


This report provides insight into the experience of members of the lived and living experience community during COVID in 2020. The report explores the ups and downs that accompanied the global pandemic. It addresses issues of social injustice, power and privilege, and solution ideas and actions for change within the COVID recovery and response areas.

it is LELAN’s role to gain unique insights into what it means to be a person… to be a human navigating an uncertain and unsettling time like COVID, and to be an ally who uses their platform for change.



Care not Treatment Film: 

As part of the Laneway of Lived Experience we are also highlighting our Care not Treatment film. This film was a core component of LELAN’s Learning from Lived Experience (LfLE) Suicide Prevention Project in 2020 and has recently been awarded the South Australian Communities in Action LiFE Award by Suicide Prevention Australia.

The specific focus on what helped, what harmed and what could be done better for people experience suicide distress or crisis was chosen as the lived experience community frequently tell us that service responses at those times are inadequate, and even compound the distress they are experiencing.


The film centres the lives and wisdom of eleven people who have been personally affected by suicide distress or crisis (read more about the project and the people we interviewed here). They generously share their experiences so that the broader voice, influence and leadership of people with lived experience may collectively drive the changes we so desperately need.