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18 year old Mary Bracken (left) pictured with Artist Rachel Tynan with a book they collaborated on called Colours of life. The book features poetry with Mary Bracken and Illustrations by Rachel Tynan. Mary was a patient in Temple Strret Hospital until she was 18.
Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Documentation from ‘Where Are We Now?’ – A symposium examining arts for children in hospital within the context of the Puppet Portal Project

‘Where are we now?’ – A symposium examining arts for children in hospital within the context of the Puppet Portal Project, was hosted by Helium, in collaboration with Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership, at The Ark, Dublin, on October 28th 2011.

Perspectives on the Puppet Portal Project were given by Helene Hugel of Helium; Paula Hicks of the Centre for Health Informatics, TCD; and Mary O’Connor, CEO of Children in Hospital Ireland. Sally Maidment and Una Jordan co-presented from the perspectives of an artist and a healthcare professional working together and artist Siobhán Clancy reflected on her personal experiences of interacting in the hospital environment. Artists who took part in the Puppet Portal Project gave workshops on the day and an exhibition showcasing the project took place in the downstairs theatre.

Martin Drury, Arts Director at the Arts Council chaired the panel, which included 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; and Ray Yeates, Dublin City Council Arts Officer.

Presentation by Helene Hugel, Helium, ‘Where Are We Now?’ symposium from Helium Childrens Arts and Health on Vimeo.

Helene Hugel: Where are we Now_Powerpoint presentation of project overview

Presentation by Paula Hicks, Centre for Health Informatics TCD, ‘Where Are We Now?’ Symposium from Helium Childrens Arts and Health on Vimeo.

Panel Discussion – ‘Where are we now?’ Symposium from Helium Childrens Arts and Health on Vimeo.

Check out photos, video and a PDF presentation from the workshops on the day below. The workshops were given by Siobhan Clancy, Anna Rosenfelder and Emma Fisher, Eszter Nemethi, Sally Maidment and Fionnuala Conway – all artists who took part in the Puppet Portal Project in hospitals throughout Ireland in 2009 and 2010.

Thank you to everyone who took part on the day.

Siobhán Clancy’s workshop, Adapting Technology, offered suggestions on potential arts activities incorporating technology for children and young people and tips on how to facilitate them. Download the PDF here: Adapting Tech Presentation

Some comments from attendees and participants on the day:

“Great to get access to see the work that is happening inside Irish hospitals.”

“Introducing arts and health at a college level to BOTH art/drama students and the students of various medical professions could really make differences in perception (maybe even having the same lecture for both disciplines sort of melting in the middle).”

“With many thanks for an opportunity to think collectively about work done mostly alone.”

“A fantastic day of discussion and creativity. What Helium are doing is so important and integral to our health system.”

“I thought today was so informative and thought provoking, both the content of the day and participants.”

“Inspiring and encouraging – hopefully this work can genuinely grow and continue.”

Learn more about the outcomes of the Puppet Portal Project by viewing SpiralOrchard’s evaluation online here .

This symposium was hosted as part of the 2011 International Puppet Festival Ireland and was 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.