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An image of a Helium participant making a neon pink hand print on a blank page of white paper surrounded with scrabble letters

Photo Credit: Soft Day Media

Helium’s DIY Together – Galway Youth Showcase 2023

This Helium Arts Youth Showcase presents a collection of individual works by young people from Galway. The showcase reflects the creative journey taken by these young people with artist Niamh Gibbons during a programme of meetups and camps throughout 2023, organised by Helium Arts, the national children’s arts and health charity. 

The work presented, Helium’s DIY Together, has emerged from creative workshops which critiqued access issues in Galway city through a series of creative interventions. 

The variety of accessibility challenges we faced as we navigated the city to visit cultural spaces led to critical conversations amongst the group. 

The work is realised through themes and aesthetics of youth culture informed by diverse perspectives, access needs and requirements, and collective identity. 

The need to occupy space and be seen as young people, a gesture of solidarity. 

Representation from the perspective of individual youths with health conditions.

Coming together to connect through collaborative art making and share in experience and support each other. 

Making art , self-expression , navigating streets , accessing arts venues , cafes , eating doughnuts , all these things are better ‘together’. 

This showcase is strongly informed by our shared experience as individuals with distinct ideas of what access is for people with different needs.

Conversations around access, identity and how we can create an inclusive space.

“What would an accessible showcase look like?”

Everyone benefits from accessible and inclusive cultural spaces. Nothing is taken away but much is gained, everyone wins.

A message from the artist Niamh Gibbons 

I am grateful for the opportunity to share in this  journey over the last few months with such a creative and encouraging group of individuals. I would like to acknowledge and thank the participants for sharing their time and trust during this project. Also for their kindness in sharing themselves, their life experience and contribution to a collective artwork which I hope will do justness in sharing each persons voice. 

Participants: Ailbhe, Alex, Emma, Henrietta, Lauren, and Óisín. 

Thank you for being part of this and to their families and friends.

And thanks to the volunteers, workshop assistants, medics, youth advisory group, librarians, artists, colleagues, and venue staff – to all who helped make these series of meetings possible.