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Team Photo

Our Team

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.

Image of Helene Hugel CEO and Founder of Helium Arts

Helene Hugel, CEO & 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.

Image of Mitzi Dalton Acting Programme Manager

Mitzi D’Alton, Programme & Operations Manager

Mitzi D’Alton is a cultural producer with 12 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, Dublin City Council led festivals, Science Gallery Dublin as well as a variety of independent projects with independent artists and theatre makers.  She graduated with First Class Honours in Business with Arts Management from IADT.

Image of Emma McKinley Development Manager

Emma McKinley, Development Manager

Emma McKinley joined the Helium Arts team in May 2022 as the organisation’s Development Manager. In this role, Emma leads on the strategic development and implementation of the organisation’s fundraising strategy. Prior to this, Emma worked from 2008-2022 for the Children’s Rights Alliance as their Head of Development and Communications. Emma also worked for six years with the ISPCC as Communications Officer. She holds a BA (hons.) in Philosophy and Classical Civilisation from Trinity College Dublin and a Masters in Globalisation from DCU. Emma also has certificates in Non-Profit Leadership and Management, Child Law and Constitutional Law. Emma is a passionate advocate for children’s rights, believing that what’s best for children should be a primary goal in a just society. In her spare time, Emma loves to sing, travel and enjoy good food.

Profile Picture of Kinga Tihanyi, Family Liaison for Helium Arts

Kinga Tihanyi, Family Liaison

Kinga joined the Helium Arts team in 2023. She recently relocated from Hungary and enjoys immersing herself in Ireland’s rich culture.

Kinga completed her MA in English literature in 2001, her postgraduate marketing studies in 2005, and holds a certificate in Arts & Business. She has valuable experience working for a private healthcare institution in Budapest, with a strong paediatric focus. In the past, she worked as a marketeer for brands like Deloitte, the Budapest Festival Orchestra and the Museum of Fine Arts Budapest.

Kinga is passionate about contemporary art, the theatre and her black whippet dog.

 

Headshot of Jenni Little Volunteer Coordinator

Jenni Little, Volunteer Coordinator

Jenni has worked in the Arts Sector for over ten years in a variety of roles varying from stage management, assistant directing and event management to visitor services and marketing. She has worked for a number of organisations including Dublin International Film Festival, Dublin Fringe, Culture Night, International Literature Festival and The Ark. In her spare time she attends gigs, theatre and takes pictures of birds.

Jenni joined the Helium Arts Team in January 2021

Headshot of Gloria Kavanagh, Finance Executive

Gloria Kavanagh, Finance Executive

Gloria joined Helium in December 2022. She has worked in a variety of finance roles for over 20 years, predominantly in accountancy practice with KPMG and PwC but also with the Healthcare Industry.
Gloria holds an honors degree in Commerce from National University of Ireland Galway and is also a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
In her spare time Gloria enjoys staying active, walking or jogging outdoors, playing GAA or practicing yoga.

Image of Cathy McGann Marketing and Communications Executive for Helium Arts

Cathy McGann, Marketing & Communications Executive

Cathy joined Helium Arts in May 2022 as Marketing and Communications Executive.  She joined the team straight from completing a level 9, Postgraduate Certificate in Digital Media and Marketing with Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT).  She also holds a Bachelor of Commerce International (with Spanish) from University College Dublin.  Cathy is an enthusiastic, innovative, and driven professional.  She has her own personal experience of growing up with a health condition and is passionate about the possibility of empowering children and their families through creativity and the arts.  Cathy loves to travel, learn languages and is very involved in her local community, working with children through the school.  Cathy has also worked as a volunteer, in the past, for Special Olympics Ireland and the Muiríosa Foundation’s Friendship programme.

Roisin McGannon Headshot

Róisín McGannon, Community & Hospital Programme Manager

Róisín joined the team as Programme Coordinator in May 2022 with a background in community engagement, arts management, youth participation and co-creation. She began her new role of Community & Hospital Programme Manager in January 2024. She has worked closely with a range of community groups and stakeholders including artist’s, young people, researchers, teachers, cultural practitioners and underrepresented, minority groups.  Róisín has worked as a Project Manager, Facilitator and Researcher in museum education, programme design and development to deliver inclusive and engaging learning experiences through arts and culture. She has worked at a number of institutions, art galleries and independent cultural spaces across Ireland most recently Science Gallery Dublin and the School of Education at Trinity College Dublin. She has managed and coordinated several European Funded Research projects and co-authored publications on the topics of Informal Learning and Art, Science & Society.

With a particular interest in access and inclusion, Róisín completed a certified course in Accessibility in Curation from the Node Centre of Curatorial Studies. She has also completed a level 9 Professional Diploma in Creativity, Innovation and Leadership with UCD. As a Visual Artist she has exhibited her work and been awarded residencies across Ireland and Europe, graduating with a First Class Honours BA in Fine Art Printmaking from the National College of Art and Design.

Profile picture of Lisa Callaghan, Grants and Development Coordinator

Lisa Callaghan, Grants & Development Coordinator

Lisa joined the Helium Arts team in December 2023 having recently graduated from a Postgraduate course in Creative Arts Management from the University of Galway. Lisa lived in Italy from 2017-2021 working with children and adults in English language schools.
Before this Lisa worked as a media planner in Dublin for four years working with a number of high profile clients such as Three Mobile, Mars Foods and Transport for Ireland.
Lisa was a participating artist in the Social Practice Toolkit for Children & Youth arts training programme in the Summer of 2023. She is passionate about the connection between the arts and health and is also a printmaker that has been awarded residencies in Ireland and Italy.

Image of Trudie Gorman, Youth Participation and Engagement Coordinator

Trudie Gorman, Youth Participation & Engagement Coordinator

Trudie is a youth worker with 10 years experience working across the youth, community and arts sectors. She joined Helium in 2023 as the Youth Participation and Engagement
Coordinator. Trudie has worked with a range of minoritised groups in community based and cultural contexts including LGBT+ young women, asylum seekers, members of the Travelling community, people with chronic illnesses and people experiencing poverty. She has worked as a youth worker, creative facilitator, and programme developer to deliver participatory and radically inclusive programmes with and for young people and adults.

Trudie is passionate about access and inclusion and using the arts as a tool of empowerment. Most recently she developed and delivered a creative writing programme for working-class adults with literacy needs in partnership with the Museum of Literature. She has also developed and facilitated multiple writing courses working with people with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

Trudie has a First Class Honours Masters Degree in Community Development and Youth Work and is also qualified as a Hatha Yoga teacher. When she’s not at Helium, she’s mostly at her writing desk or out in nature.

Headshot of Shannon Re, Helium Arts Programme Coordinator

Shannon Re, Online Programme Coordinator

Shannon joined Helium Arts in January 2023.  Shannon has worked in Gallery Education developing and managing visual art programming for all ages. Working with various stakeholders to create meaningful engagement and further access to cultural resources both in the gallery and community contexts. This year she completed an MA in Creative Practice from ATU with a particular focus on participatory art engagement and shared learning. She graduated in Printmaking and Contemporary Practice from LSAD in 2016.

Headshot of Veronica McGuire Hospital Programme Coordinator for Helium Arts

Veronica McGuire, Hospital Programme Coordinator

Veronica McGuire specialises in the field of the mental and emotional health of children aged 4- 12 years; focusing on behavioural difficulties and loss through sickness, bereavement, and separation. In her work, she draws on over twenty-year’s experience working with families and children in her ongoing work as a radiographer in Crumlin Children’s Hospital, Dublin. As a Creative Arts Therapist, she works in a variety of settings and services, offering therapy and creative arts to children with physical, intellectual and emotional disabilities. She has also worked as production manager with Barnstorm Theatre Company and a drama facilitator with the ARK Children’s Cultural Centre on their Healing Ark Programme across children’s hospitals.

Profile picture of Louise Hynes, CRM Development Coordinator

Louise Hynes, CRM Development Coordinator

Louise is an experienced technical project manager with seven years of experience in the tech industry, including five years working with a leading CRM software company. She has supported the development of numerous solutions for various companies to enhance their business development and increase operational efficiency.

Louise has an Honours Degree in Civil, Structural, and Environmental Engineering from Trinity College Dublin, a Postgrad Diploma in Software Engineering from TU Dublin, and a Master in Physical Theatre from St. Mary’s University, London. Louise also has 20+ years of engagement with the arts through her passion for dance and theatre. This has led her to create her own touring theatre company, dance across Ireland, UK, and France, and work as a freelance Production Manager for various independent artists and theatre makers.

Louise loves all things arts and crafts and exploring the outdoors. Having seen first-hand the impact that the arts can have on an individual’s well-being, Louise is passionate about supporting the mission of Helium Arts.

Headshot of Irene Hislop Operations Assistant Helium Arts

Irene Hislop, Operations Coordinator

Irene is Helium Arts’ Operations Coordinator. She has a BA from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and a Diploma in Community Development Practice from the National University of Ireland Galway. 

Irene has worked in communications for the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, and she has been a news reporter, clinic manager, and legal secretary. She is also a freelance copywriter. Irene’s creative passion is words, and she likes knitting too. She believes that creative expression is vital for every individual of every age, and that all children deserve to explore every creative medium that appeals to them.

She enjoys walking with her dogs, pottering around the garden and travelling anywhere she hasn’t been yet.

Theo Hynan-Ratcliffe, Programme Administrator

Theo joined the Helium Arts team in March 2024. Theo is a programme administrator, writer, sculptor and project coordinator based in the West of Ireland. She graduated from Limerick School of Art & Design with a BA Honours in Sculpture & Combined Media, and went on to co-found and co-direct Miscreating Sculpture Studios in Limerick city. Theo holds a masters in Cultural Event Management from IADT and recently graduated from Glasgow School of Art with a masters degree in Art Writing. She has a range of experience working in arts administration over the last seven years, working for Glasgow School of Art, Tulca Visual Arts Festival, Eva International Biennial, and the Irish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale among other cultural organisations in Ireland and abroad.

In 2022-2023 Theo worked as a project coordinator for Disability Equality Scotland, as part of this role she delivered a report on disabled peoples’ experiences and needs regarding accessible travel across Scotland. Theo is also a committee member with SaltSpace Cooperative in Glasgow, a studio holder at Spacecraft in Limerick city, and a co-editor of The Paper, an online visual arts publication. Theo was recently awarded funding to support her writing and sculptural practice, and spends her free time making work on the Burren in County Clare.