• Romanie Assez


"I'm the CEO and co-founder of Listen Up Music a registered mental health music charity. Through our events and services, including Australia's first mental health songwriting competition, we work across the country with music industry professionals.

COVID-19 has affected my work immeasurably. As a charity built on connection and support, COVID-19 has forced us to rethink our entire portfolio. We are best known for our events, with Torch Fest (Australia's only mental health music festival) having to be postponed just 3 weeks from taking place, after 18 months of planning. That festival, combined with other events that were due to take place face to face had to be moved online and we used technology more than we ever have done. What's difficult about that is that connection is really difficult across the internet and our sense of building community was really challenged. What we didn't account for was the strong bonds we already had with people who are already part of our community. The challenges of COVID-19 actually brought us closer together.

We have been deep in planning, rescheduling Torch Fest for Jan 2021 and focusing our energy on The Songwriting Prize (which at the time of publishing this has 3 days left for people to enter) and our regional Semi Finals in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney between 1st Sept-16th Oct. We also ran a concert series online for previous entrants of our competition to check in on everyone and hear what they've been up to.

Connecting with people right now is more important than ever. Whilst a large number of people in the creative industries have found themselves uninspired by the situation it's a great time to connect with others. Isolation has shown us that everyone is struggling with something right now so checking in on a friend, colleague or family member may be just what they, and you, need right now."

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