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a kid looking through a window with the logo our world in a window

Helium Arts © Anita Murphy 2021

Our World in a Window – an exhibition of animations from the children on our Distance Creates programme

This past July, we were delighted to launch ‘Our World in a Window’, a window exhibition featuring the animations and mechanised artwork produced by 49 children in 18 counties in Ireland as part of our remote ‘Distance Creates’ programme. The exhibition toured to Dublin, Cork, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick and Longford.

Since February 2021, children aged 9-12 living with long-term health conditions have been exploring the world of animation guided by Helium Artist Chelsea Canavan. From tinfoil and claymation characters to foam sculptures and hand-drawn illustrations, the children’s stories have come to life in unique and imaginative ways, showing persistence and creativity in the face of adversity.

The project origins date back to the onset of the pandemic, when we began adapting our programmes to digital and postal formats to allow many vulnerable young people to practice their creativity from the safety of their homes. The goal was to offer respite during these difficult times of social distancing, and support their mental health.

Designed by Helium Artist Chelsea Canavan and creative engineer Gerry Byrnes, the exhibition toured to 6 locations throughout the country.

One of the participants on the course said: ‘“We loved it. We found it helping us when we are bored. It’s an amazing program and we felt it was a huge help with our time.”

A parent of one of the participants said: “Everything looks so magical… Inside it will tell you what you need – tape, scissors, glue, markers. We aren’t an artsy family. But now we have a big box of art. ”

Helium Artist Chelsea Canavan said: “I found it really exciting that the window exhibition was brought into the communities and shown in spaces and places that were easily accessible for all the families that participated in it over the past 12 weeks.

“It was also exciting that the kids participated of their own accord and self initiative to create GiF and Animations without any direct supervision. The final six weeks were very experimental in lots of ways for both myself as an artist and for the participants. The way the materials were presented to the participants was a big deviation from the regular box drop, and the format of the activity sheets were far more self-led and experimental than previous sessions, and to see their responses off their own initiative was really cool.”

Distance Creates is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland, Creative Ireland, Limerick City and County Council and Limerick Culture & Arts Department. The programme is also supported by Rethink Ireland through the Innovate Together Fund, a collaboration between Rethink Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development (via the Dormant Accounts Fund).