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Cloudlands: Artists in Residence Announced

Cloudlands, Helium’s latest Artist in Residence project, commences at the end of November in Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street, Dublin; Galway University Hospital and Cork University Hospital. Cloudlands is a performance arts and technology project for teenagers with chronic illnesses. The project will place an artist in residence in each of the three hospitals where they will work collaboratively with patients to develop new work based on the participants’ stories, interests and experiences. The project will use an online creative space where artists and teenagers will share their work and collaborate across the three hospitals.

Award-winning artist and director, Mark Storor (UK) will be working with Helium on Cloudlands as artists’ mentor. Mark has extensive experience of working in hospital settings and will be running a series of development days for the artists as well as providing ongoing mentorship as the project develops. Following a callout for artists in late August, we shortlisted 11 artists from diverse backgrounds who undertook a workshop with Mark Storor, kindly accommodated by the Dublin Fringe Festival.

The following artists were chosen for their innovative ideas and sensitivity towards collaborative arts practice with teenagers in hospital: Rachel Tynan (Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street), Emma Fisher (Galway University Hospital) and Eszter Nemethi (Cork University Hospital).

Rachel Tynan graduated from the National College of Art and Design (BA Art and Design Education) in 2009. In 2012, she completed her Masters in Design, specialising in textiles and examining the psychological, physical and emotional effects illness has on the human body through textile, sculpture and body art. The work has evolved through collaborative art making, studio practice, dialogue, case studies and consultations with a focus group to examine life with long term illness.Tynan’s solo exhibition Cut Throat at The Lab in 2012 pushed her work beyond the fixed manifestations of installation with an explorative dance performance. This exhibition and the accompanying talks she co-ordinated were supported by Dublin City of Science, Dublin City Council and formed part of Innovation Dublin. Through focusing on arts and health practices the talks developed a discourse between the artistic, scientific, and medical community. Tynan also recently exhibited at The Ark, A Cultural Centre for Children as part of their Art and Science summer programme entitled Awakening Curiosity. She currently works in The Life Centre, a holistic education programme for young school leavers from 12-16yrs who have been excluded from mainstream education.

Rachel has said of the project: “I am delighted to be part of Cloudlands and to begin working with Helium and the artist mentor Mark Storor. My exhibition Cut Throat has reinforced the importance of Arts and Health and I have experience and passion for working with teenagers. Cloudlands is exciting because it will challenge me to integrate and investigate the space between these two areas.”

Emma Fisher is a puppeteer, theatre designer and installation artist. Emma is the Artistic Director of Beyond the Bark, a Puppet and Installation theatre. She has been devising shows, touring to festivals and facilitating workshops with children and adults since 2005. In 2009, she was Nominated for the Irish Times Set Designer of the Year. In 2009 and 2010, she worked for Helium’s Puppet Portal Project as resident puppeteer in the Limerick Regional Hospital and is delighted to be working as an Artist-in-Residence on Cloudlands in 2012/13.

Eszter Nemethi is a director/set designer/creative producer originally from Hungary specialising in work with children and young people in various contexts. She has worked as a facilitator and assistant director with Boomerang Theatre Company, she was previously engaged as Artist-in-Residence with Helium on the Puppet Portal Project and was the Assistant Director on the production ‘FML’ (CAMPO/Cork Midsummer Festival), a play with and about 15 teenagers that toured extensively across Europe. She is presently Artistic Director of Makeshift Ensemble and the co-curator of Solstice.

Eszter has said of the project: “Cloudlands is a great project as it allows for freedom and space for both the artists and the participating young people to create something exciting together. It allows for huge freedom that is hard to come by, especially in a hospital environment.”

Mark Storor is an award winning British artist. Working in the space between live art and theatre, he has been described in the British press as: ‘a genuinely visionary theatre maker’ and ‘an alchemist.’ His work is devised, often site specific and always collaborative.

Below, images from Mark Storor’s For The Best, an award-winning play created in collaboration with kidney dialysis patients. Photographer Andrew Whittuck. Read the Guardian review of For The Best here.

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