A creative programme for families who have one or more children who are neurodiverse
Neuro-spectacular! is a creative workshop programme for families who have one or more children who are neurodiverse. This pilot programme works with one family at a time, over two sessions. A family can include parents/guardians/caregivers and children. Other family members who would like to take part, such as grandparents, are welcome. However, the primary focus will be on the neurodivergent child/children of the family. The workshops are led by a professional visual artist from our panel of professional artists and guides. We talk to each participating family in advance of these workshops about the nature of the neurodivergent child’s needs and their interests. Using this information, we tailor each workshop to the child and family. We are delighted to be consulting with actor and writer Jody O’Neill, who has experience creating work for neurodiverse audiences.
Workshops are led by artists Michelle Hall and Helen Barry, who are on the Hugh Lane Gallery panel of professional artists and guides.
Read more about the artists and contributors facilitating the Neuro-spectacular! programme
Jody O’Neill is an autistic writer and actor for theatre and screen. Since her autism diagnosis, she also frequently works as a public speaker and consultant. She is a recipient of the 2022 Markievicz Award, is Theatre Artist-in-Residence at UCC and Cork Opera House, and was a finalist for the 2022 Virgin Media Discovers Award. Her play, What I (Don’t) Know About Autism, a co-production with The Abbey Theatre, received the award for Best Script at the WGI Zebbie Awards 2021. She is currently writing animations for a Cartoon Saloon series and is co-writing an animation feature funded by Screen Ireland.
Helen Barry is a visual artist, inventor and classically trained dancer. She has over 35 years experience working creatively and playfully with the very young to the very old. Helen’s practice is imbued with the responses and stimuli offered through direct engagement in providing and developing arts experiences with and for others. This collaborative process is what drives her work, from the initial concept through to the design, making and sharing of the creative output with her co-creators and new audiences. Since 2016 Helen has specialised in co-creating with children living with mild, moderate, profound and neurodiverse needs. The creative output takes many forms including interactive multi-sensory sculptural works, installations, performances, sound works, textiles, printmaking, poetry, children’s books and artist residencies. ‘Placing the emphasis on verbal literacy perpetuates the belief that the relationships we have with others are more important than the one we will have with ourselves’ directs her methodology. The synergy created by using a cross-disciplinary approach provides a sensorium palette from which Helen draws from. Everything exists on the horizon; a perpetual visual and aural palatte of sensations, frequencies and movements through which we interpretate the world around us. Helen’s ambition is to design arts experiences that allow us to explore and discover our bodies’ receptors that will stimulate growth, wellbeing and an ability to focus and thrive. Helen has been awarded several bursaries and commissions for her work with early years children. The National Concert Hall is also supporting her foray into music and sculpture.
Michelle Hall is a neurodivergent artist and educator. Over the past 16 years Hall has facilitated workshops with a wide range of participants of varying ages and abilities. Hall has also trained in Visual Thinking Strategies with Dublin City Arts Office, an exploratory tool for looking at and interpreting art with all types of audiences. In her visual arts practice, Hall has exhibited widely in Ireland and abroad. Her practice has been generously supported by Fingal Arts Office and the Arts Council of Ireland. She works across multiple disciplines using symbolic materials and gestures to create narratives that investigate modes of healing, both real and imagined.