Fuse was a multidisciplinary Arts & Health Programme for older people in locations around Cork City and County managed by MusicAlive and kindly funded by the HSE South Cork Arts & Health Programme. Fuse provided high quality creative projects in health care contexts including a range of art forms (music, creative movement/dance and visual art) and interdisciplinary collaborations that engaged both participants and artists in a meaningful manner. It focused on developing an awareness and culture of Arts and Health forming a part of life and a model of best practice for working with older people in health and community care contexts.
From 2014-2016 Helga worked for MusicAlive as project manager and lead artist for movement on Fuse Arts and Health. This included managing and evaluating artist residencies and organising events for the programme as well as facilitating a range of creative movement projects in day care centres, hospitals and nursing homes.
While the format of the creative movement projects varied depending on the settings and context in order to best meet the needs and abilities of the participants (e. g. working with groups of up to 15 people, workshops with small groups of 4-5 and one-to-one sessions on the wards), experiencing movement as a medium of expression, communication and connection was at the heart of Helga's work at all times. Playfulness and spontaneity was encouraged and participants were supported in discovering their own personal movement responses. Participants contributed generously with their ideas and movement suggestions, sharing memories, stories and experiences. Working with props such as feathers and chiffon scarves, exploring creative tasks and structured improvisations playful, light-hearted and imaginative movement interactions emerged. Participants often became very immersed in the movement. It was observed that the work had a very calming and relaxing effect which promoted well-being by reducing stress levels. Contrary to the expectations from many staff at the settings it also became evident that a lot of men engaged very openly and enthusiastically with the movement work.
Feedback from project participants and staff at the settings "The sessions were always something to look forward to, I will miss them." - Participant at St Luke’s Home "I really enjoyed the movement, I am looking forward to the next session." - Participant at St Finbarr's Hospital "It was very soothing and calming and the relaxing atmosphere offered a welcome contrast to the busyness of the day to day work on the ward." - Staff at St Finbarr’s Hospital "At the end of this movement programme I have realized that my preconceptions about men’s activities have been broken wide open." - Staff at Ballyphehane Day Care Centre "I felt like crying, it was so beautiful." - Staff at Ballyphehane Day Care Centre