Helium: Helene Hugel & Emma Eager

Helium is an arts and health organisation fostering a culture of creativity within Irish healthcare for children and young people, through the development of participatory arts programmes in community, primary, and acute healthcare environments.Helene Hugel is CEO and Artistic Director of Helium. Emma Eager works in the field of youth arts as the Communications Officer for Helium Arts and Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership. Helium's mission is to create positive experiences of hospital and healthcare settings for young people, to support a child-centred model of healthcare through the arts, and to innovate models of arts practice which give a creative voice to young people living with illness. BiographiesHelene Hugel began her professional career as a puppeteer in 1997, as co-founder and partner of the award winning Púca Puppets. She became freelance at the end of 2002 to specialise in the dynamic field of arts and health and commit her work practice to exploring the untapped potential of applying the art of puppetry to the unique needs of healthcare communities and their environments. She gained a qualification in Hospital Play Specialism and worked part-time as a member of Clown Doctors Northern Ireland for five years. In 2009, Helene founded Helium in order to overcome the limitations of her own practice, to provide a structure for collaborating with other artists, and to extend the work to more chidren and young people. Emma Eager is the co-ordinator of Helium’s Two Suitcases film project for teenagers living with chronic illness and of OAK a creative website developed by Helium for teenagers with health conditions. She has managed youth film projects for other organisations, most recently collaborating with young people from Marino School in Dublin who have intellectual disabilities. In 2012-13, she was acting editor of artsandhealth.ie, the national website for arts and health in Ireland.