Meet the Associate Artists supporting Helium Arts’ mission of bringing joy and creativity to children living with illness and disability across Ireland.
Rachel Tynan has been an artist in residence with Helium Arts since 2012, collaborating with teenagers at Temple Street Children’s University Hospital in Dublin on the Cloudlands and Fireflies Projects and with teenagers in the community on our community arts programme.
Rachel graduated from the National College of Art and Design (BA Art and Design Education) in 2009. Her Masters degree in Design examined the effects illness has on the human body through textile, sculpture and body art. A solo exhibition Cut Throat at The Lab (2012) pushed her work beyond the fixed manifestations of installation with an explorative dance performance which further explored the experience of living with an illness. www.racheltynan.ie
Ciara Harrison is Helium’s Children’s Creative Health Programme artist in Dublin. Since graduating with a B. Des. in Textile Design (2011) and an MA in Design History and Material Culture (2016) Ciara has focused her artistic practice in socially-engaged and participatory art with themes centering around hospitality, education and the preservation of skills and knowledge. She endeavours to create social change through collaboration with individuals, communities and institutions in the creation of participatory art. She is particularly interested in creative interventions in non-formal art settings, creating projects where tea, biscuits, play, craft and other domestic processes act as prompts for collaborative curiosity, conversations and exchanges of ideas.
Working as an Artist in Residence in the Waterford Healing Arts Trust (2017), Ciara further developed her interests in facilitation, partnership building, outreach, access and reflection. The residency centred on the development and management of a large-scale, participatory arts project entitled Wild Thing (you make my heart sing).
Rachel Doolin is a visual artist, arts facilitator and project designer based in the South of Ireland. She has been working in the realm of participatory arts since 2010. To date she has worked with a variety of persons from birth to adulthood in a diverse range of community, arts, health and educational contexts including higher level institutions and art galleries across Ireland. Doolin’s participatory arts practice is fundamentally rooted in collaboration. She works closely with young persons, adults, caregivers, artists and arts organisations, nurturing creative partnerships and absorbing the input and ideas integral to producing meaningful work that carefully considers the social and emotional landscape particular to each individual setting.
Sarah Fuller is a visual artist and puppeteer and founding member of Dog and String Theatre.
She is committed to making work for children’s audiences in many forms and has years of experience working as an artist in schools and health care contexts with people of all ages and abilities. A large percentage of her practice is collaborative or involves a participatory process, incorporating, drawing, illustration, puppetry, animation, and storytelling.
She holds a BA, Hons. in Textile Design, Central St. Martins college of Art and Design, London and an MA in Visual Arts Practice, IADT, Dún Laoghaire. She is a Creative Associate with the Arts Council’s Creative Schools program and recently appointed Associate Artist with Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership.
Ana Colomer is a visual artist based in Ennis Co. Clare. Ana works as a community artist and arts educator. She is a tutor for Creative Youth, LCETB, Creative Associate for Creative Schools, Arts Council, and for Helium Arts as Associate Artist.
Ana’s creative practice includes painting, puppetry, animation, film, and multimedia installations that combine three or four elements.
Ana holds a Bachelor Degree in painting, H Dip and Art’s Therapy Foundation Certificate by CIT.
Ciara Keegan is an artist, facilitator and youth worker with a passion for working with young people through the arts. Ciara has led arts projects with children and young people in education and community contexts, working with organisations such as Finglas Youth Resource Centre, Teach Tearmainn and Refugee & Migrant Solidarity Ireland. Ciara recently completed an MA in Social Practice & The Creative Environment at Limerick School of Art & Design.
Paul Bokslag is a visual artist and designer from the Netherlands, based in Callan, Co. Kilkenny. He was a co-founder of KCAT Arts Centre and was involved in starting Helium’s Creative Health Hub in Limerick in 2019.
He works across a range of media, from drawing, painting, printmaking, papercutting, photography and type design to sculpture and murals. He was a recipient of the 2011 Healthway International Arts and Health Fellowship with DADAA in Fremantle, Western Australia.
Paul is on the Butler Gallery Artists Panel and regularly facilitates workshops for Workhouse Union, Open Circle Arts and the National Design & Craft Gallery. He is passionate about participative and inclusive arts practice. He loves being immersed in a creative process and is always looking forward to sharing that with others.
Fiona Dowling is a visual artist, cartoonist and storyteller based in the West of Ireland.
After collaborating with Helium from 2010 to 2014 on such projects as “Scales and Tales” or “Storydress” visiting children in hospitals with her bag of stories and tricks, Fiona has recently joined Helium Arts’ Associate Artists Panel.
Fiona’s practice is multidisciplinary at heart and includes telling folktales in primary schools and libraries, making autobiographical comics and painting, creating participatory pieces of public art as well as interactive events for Festivals which have included singing, badge-making, karaoke, knitting, and telling bedtime stories.
Fiona holds a Bachelor Degree in Fine Art Painting from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, and an Arts in Group Facilitation Certificate from Crawford Art College, Cork.
Emma Fisher is a puppeteer, animator and production designer (for theatre and film). Emma has worked with children for 20 years in hospitals, schools, community centres etc. She started Beyond the Bark an inclusive puppet company that makes both theatre and film for all ages. Emma creates theatre for young audiences with Ceol Connected since 2014 with productions like The Far Field, Treehouse and Wunderground. Her film Marcach Dearg recently won best animated short at The Richard Harris International Film Festival 2021. She is delighted to be working with Helium Arts again as an associate artist.
Tom Meskell is a professional artist for 30 years and over that time has developed a substantial catalogue of work in Ireland and abroad. Working within community contexts has profoundly influenced his core principals as an artist – namely that his work is authentic, celebratory and respectful of citizen participation. Tom’s work has allowed him to learn from the communities he has engaged with, which is continually enriching his practice. For years Tom has been exploring the capacity of translucent materials & illuminated forms as accessible materials to engage with communities to explore existential themes such as built heritage, citizenship, bereavement and memory.