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.
Lucy Hill is a visual artist, facilitator, and academic and was recently awarded a PhD in art education from NCAD (2021). She completed her M.F.A at Winchester School of Arts in Barcelona, after her degree in painting at Crawford College of Art in Cork. She has won several awards for her studio painting practice, including a residency on the artist’s work program at IMMA. She has completed four public art sculpture commissions and has exhibited her work in numerous solo and selected group exhibitions.
Lucy was The Ark Cultural Centre for Children’s inaugural John Coolahan Early Years Artist in Residence during 2018/2019 and was an invited speaker at the International Art Education Week in Seoul Museum of Modern Art, Korea. She has also been a voluntary resident artist with Woodland Park Preschool in Westport since 2007, collaborating on documentation projects, exhibitions, installations, toddler and sibling workshops, education programs for parents and educators, family art events and research. Lucy has also worked with agencies, consultants and institutions on long and short term Arts Council funded projects that have culminated in interactive child-friendly exhibitions. Her training and professional development in this area includes a study visit with Early Childhood Ireland to visit Reggio Emilia inspired preschools in Italy. Lucy was a Creative Associate with the Arts Council/Creative Ireland Creative Schools program from 2018-2021.
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.
Early Years Team
Joanna Williams is Early Years Director with Helium Arts, developing and directing Pop Up Picnic, a multisensory, interactive piece of home theatre for children with complex disabilities and their families. Joanna is a visual theatre artist and performer creating original work for early years audiences as Little Bigtop. She has been consistently developing her working methodology with this age group since 2002. Her process begins with the child: ideas and themes for new work are developed through explorations with young children, using a child-centred approach, driven by play & observation. Little Bigtop shows tour nationally; they are interactive, highly visual & playful. Work includes Sunflower Show, Elf Factory, Footprints in the Bog and Whatever the Weather. www.littlebigtop.info
Niamh Lawlor is a performer on Helium’s Pop Up Picnic, which she developed with Joanna Williams and Thomas Johnston. Niamh (BDes MA) is a founder and Artistic Director of Púca Puppets since 1997. She has extensive experience as a maker, performer, director and designer for Púca and others including The Ark, The Abbey and Wide Open Opera/Dumbworld. She was an artist on Helium’s Puppet Portal Project and is a member of Dublin City Council and DLR County Council’s Artist Panels. Her work has won several awards including Guinness Living Dublin Award, AIB Better Ireland Award, and most recently the Fisín Award from Dingle International Film Festival. www.pucapuppets.com