How you can help us!

Teens at Temple Street Hospital experiment with robots, graffiti art and gaming on the Fireflies Project

Teenagers on Helium Arts’ Fireflies project at Temple Street Children’s University Hospital are currently experimenting with robots, graffiti art, ideas of play and gaming in collaboration with resident artist Siobhán Clancy. These experiments follow on from work initiated by artist Rachel Tynan, through the Play Department at TSCUH. Siobhán now continues this valuable collaboration with young people transitioning into adult health services.


Siobhán Clancy and Rachel Tynan are also developing an exciting art project of their own, building on the work methods that Rachel created in Year 1 of Fireflies, with the aim of creating an art-pack that will benefit more teenagers moving into adult healthcare.

Patient-centred approach

Working alongside the dedicated team of play specialists in the Play Department at Temple Street, Siobhán is drawing on their practice to shape the development of her residency, focusing specifically on play and gaming, with the young person at the heart of the process. The residency is also inspired by a patient-centred approach to care at Temple Street. Placing the creation of games and the rules of engagement into the hands of the young programme participants allows them to initiate meaningful and fun interactions.

Image: Artist Siobhán Clancy recreates the process of syringe painting in her studio

“Can you play the game even if you are not in the hospital?” – young participant

By making their own entertainment and creatively communicating their needs, young people can claim a sense of authorship, in the real and imaginative spaces they occupy, to share with their peers, their carers and the artist.

Part of this ‘gameficiation’ of the hospital involves play with everyday medical instruments, reinventing artistic purposes for them. Recent colourful experiments by the young participants and Siobhan include the use of hospital paraphernalia such as plastic syringes and fluorescent paint (inspired by the bio-luminescence of fireflies).

The paint-filled plastic syringes are squirted onto Japanese rice paper, in collaboration with the helping hands of friends and parents, turning the act of painting into a collaborative event across a bedside table. The syringes are also used to inject colour into a water-world captured by our underwater camera. The results are spontaneous, playful artifacts from a moment outside ‘the everyday’.

Image: Artist Siobhán Clancy recreates the process of syringe painting in her studio

What’s next

Collaboration is at the heart of the work with the young people involved and with our partnership with Temple Street Play Department. Plans are next under way to bring the project to young people in the National Children’s Hospital Tallaght, in collaboration with the National Centre for Arts and Health, Tallaght.  We look forward to bringing you further updates on our work in partnership with the Play Department at Temple Street, made possible by the BNP Paribas Foundation, the Arts Council, Cork Street Fund and The Ireland Funds.

For more information on Temple Street Children’s University Hospital, please visit

Image: Artist Siobhán Clancy recreates the process of syringe painting in her studio

Join our mailing list

We would love to keep in touch to tell you about what's happening in our creative programmes supporting children and teenagers managing long-term health conditions across Ireland to access a meaningful creative and social outlet. We will also send you details from time to time on our events, fundraising activities, funding and sector news.

Donate to Helium

Your donations help sick children and their families (it also makes you sound!)


Contact Us
+ 353 (0) 44 93 96 960


Helium Arts is a registered charity and compliant with the requirements of the Charities Regulator, the national regulatory authority for charities in Ireland


CHY Number: 19236
Registered Charity Number (RCN): 20075200
Companies Registration Office: 486621


Design by New Graphic


Helium Arts
Top Floor
22 Pearse Street
Co. Westmeath
N91 VYP0



This website has been part funded by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.