Talking Point: How Three Sides of the Coin performances empower people with lived experience of gambling harm to educate the community and professionals, Presented by Judy Avisar, Catherine Simmonds OAM, Anna Bardsley and Fiona Read on 19th April 2023

Deakin University in collaboration with Three Sides of the Coin (3SOC) evaluated the use of lived experience performances as an education tool for professionals. Three Sides of the Coin empowers people with lived experience of gambling harm to educate the community and professionals about gambling harm and its intersection with alcohol and other drug use, mental health, family violence and crime.

This presentation will explore how being fully immersed in the lived experience of gamblers and affected others through performance was a powerful way for professionals to connect with the issues at an emotional and cognitive level. The evaluation showed there was an increase in the understanding of gambling harm, as well as changes in attitudes and practice among professionals including a greater empathy and confidence to ask about gambling, and a willingness to discuss gambling harm and support those affected. The research findings will be complemented by a short 3SOC Recovery Gamble video story, crafted artfully with animation and music, exemplifying the power of lived experience stories in understanding the intersectionality of gambling addiction.

Watch the presentation

About the presenters

Judy Avisar, (from SHARC Self Help Addiction Resource Centre VIC) has coordinated Three Sides of the Coin gambling harm project since its inception 11 years ago. Judy has passionately carved a pathway for 3SOC over 11 years so that today it is recognized as a successful model for Professional Development in allied sectors (mental health, drugs, alcohol, family violence, criminal justice). Judy established the partnership with Deakin University and oversaw the data collection.

Catherine Simmonds, OAM is the artistic director of 3SOC. Her focus is the space between the ‘lived experiences’ of communities and the language of art. For 3 decades she has provided people with a creative space in which to ‘discover the need to speak and speak the unspoken’. She works together with participants to transform their stories into performance.

Anna Bardsley, a retired businesswoman, lost ten years of her life to poker machines. Her work as an advocate for reform began ten years ago. She is a founding member of Three Sides of the Coin and is committed to changing the conversation about gambling harm in Australia by elevating the voices of people with lived experience. Anna has numerous television and speaking credits including the ABC production ‘You Can’t Ask That’, podcasts, radio and television interviews.

Fiona Read, Senior Manager, Health Promotion and Engagement, Access Health and Community. Fiona coordinated the research, supporting the study design and ethics with Deakin University, and reviewed the evaluation from a public health perspective when working at Link Health and Community.