Helene is a puppeteer and a clown doctor with a qualification in hospital play.
Helene has been specialising in the field of art and health for the past seven years and is working towards positively transforming the hospital environment and countering the negative effects of hospitalization. For children, the hospital can be an unfamiliar and frightening environment. The beds are unusual and machines are strange; tubing, plastic pouches, nozzles, equipment that sticks to you, sticks into you and nearly everyone is wearing plastic gloves. The effects of hospitalisation on children have been documented to include fear, anxiety, stress and harm to a child’s future development.
Helene devised an interactive performance, “The Bedmaker”, using clowning, storytelling and puppetry to inspire children to personalize and recreate their hospital bed space through the imagination. It toured hospitals throughout the island. “The Bedmaker” was also part of a programme of activity she piloted in a Dublin paediatric hospital.
In 2007 Helene was in the process of forming a ‘multi-disciplinary arts and health organisation’”, in order to further develop this work across the country. Her vision was a company that would design and facilitate cross-disciplinary, participatory, performance based projects in context and in discussion with paediatric hospital communities.
Helene was also an Awardee in 2009, with Helium, an arts and health company which connects children, their families, friends, and healthcare staff on creative common ground to achieve healthcare goals. Since Helium was established in 2009, 3,500 children and their families have taken part in their projects. Her profile can be viewed here.
I would like to support a more imaginative and creative childfriendly approach to children’s health service provision in Ireland… Hospitals are functional places in need of creativity and art to holistically support the wellbeing of a child as a whole.