Image shown: Helium Arts' Pop Up Picnic. Photo credit: Brian Cregan.

Helium Arts in partnership with Kildare County Council Arts Service is hosting ‘Engaging the Senses’, a symposium and practical workshop for arts, healthcare and early years professionals interested in exploring multi-sensory, creative play through the arts for very young children with complex needs. Taking place on Wednesday 30 May 2018 at Riverbank Arts Centre, ‘Engaging the Senses’ is informed by outcomes and learning from Helium Arts’ Pop Up Picnic, a multi-sensory performance project created in partnership with the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation. 

The morning symposium includes:

  • Keynote address by Tim Webb, Artistic Director of internationally acclaimed Oily Cart, a UK theatre company for audiences with complex disabilities. Tim Webb mentored the Pop Up Picnic creative team during the project development phase.
  • Presentation by Sinéad Roe, Senior Occupational Therapist with Sligo Early Intervention Service, exploring the long-term benefits of multi-sensory play on participation, learning and development.
  • Sharing of work developed on the Pop Up Picnic led by director Joanna Williams and performers Thomas Johnston and Niamh Lawlor.
  • Panel Discussion “Integrating sensory performing arts in health and community settings” chaired by Lucina Russell of Kildare County Council Arts Service. The panel includes Tim Webb of Oily Cart, Mary Joe Guilfoyle and Margaret Naughton, Specialist Liaison Nurses with the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation, the Pop Up Picnic creative team and a participating parent.

The optional afternoon workshop is a practical 2-hour exploration of how practitioners can engage multiple senses when developing early years work, facilitated by the Pop Up Picnic creative team.

The full programme can be accessed here:

Booking information

This is a free event and includes lunch but registration is required. Please note that the afternoon practical workshop must be booked separately to the symposium and that there are limited places available on the workshop.

Registration for morning symposium:

Registration for afternoon workshop:

Engaging the Senses is produced by Helium Arts in partnership with Kildare County Council Arts Service. This symposium is funded by the Arts Council, Kildare County Council and Creative Ireland, and is supported by Riverbank Arts Centre.

For further information visit


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