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‘Where are we now?’ – A symposium examining arts for children in hospital within the context of the Puppet Portal Project

Date: Friday, October 28th
Time: 10.45am-4:30pm
Venue: The Ark, A Cultural Centre for Children, 11a Eustace St, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 (map)
Booking: http://puppetfest.ticketsolve.com/shows/126519215/events or phone (01) 272 4030
Tickets: €10

Hospital School Window

Helium, in collaboration with Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership, is hosting this symposium as part of the 2011 International Puppet Festival Ireland for artists and healthcare professionals who are interested in participatory arts with children in hospital.

The day will include presentations from artists and healthcare workers who participated in the Puppet Portal Project, hands-on workshops, and plenary discussion on the future of participatory arts with children in hospital with contributions from a panel of healthcare professionals and arts professionals.

View the agenda for the day here


Helene Hugel, Artistic Director of Helium
Paula Hicks, Centre for Health Informatics, Trinity College Dublin
Mary O’Connor, CEO Children in Hospital Ireland
Una Jordan, Hospital Play Specialist
Sally Maidment, Artist
Siobhan Clancy, Artist


Chair: Martin Drury, Arts Director at the Arts Council
Dr. Emma Curtis, Medical Director of the New Children’s Hospital
Dr. Veronica Lambert, Lecturer in the School of Nursing at DCU
Denis Roche, Curating Artist of the Open Window Project at St. James’s Hospital
Dr. David Vaughan, Directorate of Quality & Clinical Care at the HSE
Ray Yeates, Dublin City Council Arts Officer

For further information on the speakers and panel view here


Siobhán Clancy, Anna Rosenfelder, Sally Maidment, Eszter Nemethi,
Emma Fisher, Fionnuala Conway, Niamh Lawlor, Helene Hugel

To learn more about the artists who participated in the Puppet Portal Project and who will be giving hands-on workshops at the symposium view here

The Puppet Portal Project was a national arts and technology programme with children in hospital which was produced by Helium in partnership with The Centre for Health Informatics, Trinity College, Dublin, and in collaboration with Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership. Over 2009 and 2010, the artist-in-residency project saw 7 artists working collaboratively with approximately 800 children for 30 weeks across seven hospitals using Ait Eile, the hospital webportal, to share their puppet making, stories, and films.

 Puppet Portal Project Puppet Portal Project Puppet Portal Project Emma Puppet Portal Project Puppet Portal Project

A small exhibition showcasing artwork from the Puppet Portal Project will be on display during the symposium.

This symposium is brought to you as part of The 2011 International Puppet Festival Ireland. The Puppet Portal Symposium is kindly supported by the Arts Council. Helium would like to gratefully acknowledge the in-kind support of The Ark, A Cultural Centre for Children, for providing the venue for this event.

Puppet Portal Partners

Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership is a non-profit organization that has been in operation since 1997. Kids’ Own aims to provide children and young people with the opportunity to engage with professional artists and take part in high-quality arts experiences that nurture their creative spirit. Kids’ Own champions children’s creativity and believes in the creative process as an enabler and as an essential component of learning and personal development. Kids’ Own advocates for the professionalization of arts practice with children and young people. It is a pioneer in terms of developing models of best practice, in particular through its exemplary support of artists who work in this field. www.practice.ie was developed by Kids’ Own in 2008 and is the first all-Ireland online network for artists who work with children and young people. It provides a joint space for artists to come together and share their work, as well as to support them in the development of their practice.

Trinity College Dublin – The Centre for Health Informatics (CHI) at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), is a multidisciplinary research centre engaged in national and international research in the field of Health Informatics. Health Informatics is broadly defined as the application of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to healthcare. The Puppet Portal Project brought together expertise in arts and technology and built on technology developed at the Centre for Health Informatics. The CHI has played a key role in researching and developing virtual environments for children in hospital since 2001. The culmination of this work has led to two key award winning research projects exploring this use of technology: Áit Eile (eEurope Award for eHealth 2004) and Solas Irish Healthcare Awards 2008 and Astellas Changing Tomorrow Award for Innovation 2010. These virtual environments explore a variety of technologies to provide for communication, social support, relaxation, entertainment and distraction. Áit Eile is an on-line community for children in hospital which allows children to communicate with one another, their classmates, families, and teachers via e-mail, live chat or even a video link. The aim is to empower children in hospitals to combat the medical and emotional challenges they face on a daily basis, to educate them and help them to cope with the difficulties of hospitalisation. There are also games and activities, educational resources and lots more to do in the Áit Eile community.