Helium has been working in partnership with Kildare County Council Arts Office to provide training, mentorship and support to fourteen artists engaged in an exciting programme at Barretstown Camp. In the spring, artists joined activity leaders at Barretstown to learn about their model of working with children with serious illnesses and their families. These artists have been invited to develop their own participatory arts projects during the Summer and Autumn Camps. To coincide with this opportunity, Helium has come on board for three training days, to assist artists to reflect on this learning experience; facilitating peer-learning, training and mentoring.

At the first training day in March, the Barretstown model was introduced and puppeteer Helene Hugel and artist Susan Boyle shared their perspectives on working with children in health contexts. The latter part of the day concentrated on different types of documentation and reflective practice techniques. The second training day, led by Niamh O’Connor, took place in May. The emphasis here was on deepening the peer learning experience and focusing on proposal making for collaborative participatory art projects with mentoring available during the summer period. The final training day will take place in November.

Founded by Paul Newman, Barretstown is a specially-designed camp that provides Therapeutic Recreation programmes for children with serious illnesses, and their families. Activities include visual arts, drama, music and photography.


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