Story Dress is a storytelling and technology performance project for children in hospital which ran from 2013 to 2014 at a children’s hospital in Dublin. This artist in residence project revolves around a uniquely designed interactive storytelling dress which has in-built lighting effects and an embedded soundscape, activating music and sound effects as artists Eléonore Nicolas and Fiona Dowling tell children stories on the wards.
On our first hospitals residency programme in 2009-2010, children created puppets and shared their stories, performances and short films with peers in other hospitals via an online live video-link facility developed by the Centre for Health Informatics at Trinity College, Dublin. The project sought to help counter the isolation that children can feel when they are hospitalized by connecting them to a wider community in a shared creative conversation.
Providing children and teenagers with the opportunity to express themselves creatively in hospital was at the heart of Scales & Tales, a six-month residency of music and storytelling at Cork University Hospital in 2011. The project was produced by Helium in collaboration with MusicAlive.
Infant Imaginings was Helium’s central early years project from 2009-2011, a performing arts project bringing creative play to toddlers 0-3 and their carers in local health centres. The project aimed to promote relaxation, communication and learning between babies, toddlers and their parents through music, performance, puppetry and the visual arts.
Helium delivered training workshops for Community Mothers in Longford and Westmeath in spring 2012. Participants learned new, accessible, creative and imaginative play techniques which they could apply to their home visits with parents and babies. As part of the training, Helium also facilitated a Winter Workshop for mums and toddlers in Athlone and Mullingar.