Interdisciplinary Symposium: Try Walking in My Shoes: Empathy and Portrayals of Mental Illness on Screen

This interdisciplinary symposium invites scholars, filmmakers, mental health practitioners and consumers to explore questions about representations of mental illness in film and television across two days of papers, screenings and workshops. The symposium has a particular focus on women’s mental health and the portrayal of mental illness in Australian films.



Professor Raymond Gaita

The University of Melbourne

The Limits of Empathy


A key theme of the symposium is the emotion of empathy. If sympathy suggests feeling for someone (that is, feeling sorry for them), empathy is distinguished by feeling with them.

This sharing of emotion gives us valuable insight into how things are with another person. This insight can lead to a greater understanding that reduces stigma and discrimination, and helps us to see ‘the other’ as an equal human being. 

That is why empathy is such an important concept in philosophy, politics, psychology and human rights education.