Meet our fantastic team! We believe in the power of the arts to transform the healthcare experience of children and those who care for them.
Helene Hugel, CEO and Artistic Director
Helene Hugel is CEO and Artistic Director of Helium Arts. She has an Honours BA Degree in English from Trinity College Dublin and a qualification in Hospital Play Specialism during which she won the Eve Latimer Award for her dissertation. She was co-founder and partner of the award-winning Puca Puppet Theatre Company until 2002. As an individual arts practitioner developing arts and health for children between 2002 and 2008, she was awarded multiple Arts Council grants and bursaries to develop her practice working with children in hospital. She is the recipient of both a Level 1 and Level 2 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Award and in 2009 she founded Helium Arts in order to provide a structure for collaborating with other artists and healthcare practitioners to extend the impact of arts and health practice to more children and young people living with illness across Ireland.
Olive Power, General Manager
Olive Power joined the Helium team in June 2019, as General Manager. While she has a Certificate in Workplace Management from the National College of Ireland and two decades experience of setting up and managing family support projects, her love of Art brought her back to UCD as a mature student and she graduated with an Hons B.A. in English and History of Art in 2007. Having trained to work with the National Council for the Blind as a Technical Officer she also served on the Board of Rialto Youth Project and worked as a FAS Supervisor with Fatima Groups United and Youth Work Ireland adding to the experience she brings to her work with us.
Michelle Brady, Programme Manager
Michelle Brady manages our national programme for growth, the Creative Health Hub, and oversees the organisation’s ongoing artistic projects. She started out in festival management and has more than 10 years experience in the arts between Ireland and Scotland. Most recently, she was the National Dance Network Co-ordinator for Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland, responsible for the strategic support of Scotland’s dance community. Along the way, she helped establish artist studios in an old Victorian school building, served on the board of Edinburgh Contemporary Crafts, and was an advisory panel member for Creative Scotland’s traditional arts fund. She holds an MA in Arts, Festival & Cultural Management from Queen Margaret University and BA in Film and Documentary from Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. From her kitchen table, she manages contemporary folk group This is How we Fly.
John Sansome, Development Manager
John Sansome is Development Manager with Helium Arts, having joined in October 2020. John has worked in Fundraising and Development for over six years, which includes time with The Australian Red Cross, Dublin Simon Community, and The Soar Foundation. John has an undergraduate degree in Humanities with DCU, where he is also currently completing a Masters in European Law & Policy, hoping to focus strongly on Human Rights Law. In his spare time John plays guitar and also enjoys running. However, currently nearly all of his spare time is spent with his newborn son, Harry, who arrived August 2020.
Robert Higgins, Marketing and Communications Executive
Robert joined the Helium team as Marketing and Communications Executive in September 2020. Having previously worked with a number of arts and medical PR agencies, he brings with him a wide range of experience in communications, public relations and digital marketing. In his spare time, he runs the film production company Harp Media and his background in filmmaking and writing helps him bring a creative flair to the role. He has an MA in Media and Communications, a BA in English and History, as well as a diploma in Digital Marketing. He is represented by the Marianne Gunn O’Connor Literary Agency.
Emma Eager, Project Co-ordinator
Emma Eager joined the Helium team in 2011, first as Helium’s Communications Officer and now as Project Co-ordinator, co-ordinating the community programmes and managing the development of Helium’s new website in 2018. Emma loves working on the ground with young people, artists and healthcare professionals, exploring new ideas and ways of collaborating. Emma is also the editor of artsandhealth.ie, the national website for arts and health in Ireland. She graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a B.Sc. in Communications: Film and Broadcasting and with an M.Phil. in Popular Literature.
Monica Flynn, Project Manager
Monica joined Helium Arts in 2017 as Project Manager on the Fireflies Artist in Residence project at Temple Street Children’s University Hospital. Over the last couple of years she has supported work by artists Siobhan Clancy and Rachel Tynan and project managed the Fireflies Toolkit a set of creative tools for young people transitioning from paediatric to adult health services. She enjoys working directly with artists and seeing young people blossom creatively in the collaborative process. A visual artist in her own right Monica has an MA in Visual Arts Practices from Dun Laoghaire IADT and H.Dip. in Arts & Cultural Management. From U.C.D. She also works part time for the artists representative body Visual Artists Ireland as their Professional Development Officer.
Mitzi D’Alton, Project Manager
Mitzi D’Alton is a freelance cultural producer with 8 years experience in theatre, festivals, events and cultural community projects. She joined Helium in January 2019 as Project Manager of Pop Up Picnic. Over the years she has worked with a number of arts and cultural organisations including Dublin Fringe Festival, The Ark, Dublin Theatre Festival, National Gallery of Ireland, and Dublin City Council led festivals alongside independent projects with a variety of artists and theatre makers. She graduated with First Class Honours in Business with Arts Management from IADT.
Anna Mielewczyk, Finance Administrator
Anna Mielewczyk joined the Helium team in May 2019, taking on the role of Finance Administrator. She’s very detail-oriented and enjoys problem solving and working with numbers. Anna is also a college administrator in the International College of Personal and Professional Development in Athlone. She earned her BA in Business and Office Management, before going on to work as a bookkeeper for three years. Having spent the past 15 years in Ireland, establishing professional roots and starting a family, she is delighted to now call it home.
Gemma Rattigan, Arts Administrator
Gemma Rattigan joined Helium Arts in June 2019. She has a major award with an overall distinction in Advanced Business Management, and also has an award in both Business Studies and General Studies, which includes payroll and accounts. She has an excellent working knowledge of Ms office & Payroll Software and loves working with Helium Arts.
Lauren White, Arts Administrator
Lauren joined Helium Arts in October 2019 as an arts administrator. She has completed her ECDL and also finished a Medical terminology course all in one year! She came to Helium a few months ago and takes pride in working for an organisation that makes a positive impact on so many children and families and on the communities we connect with. She enjoys her work and loves that she has the opportunity to make a difference.