Flying Free

Our journey into freedom

Inspired by the hunt for freedom

Combining art and engineering

Blending technology and traditional crafts

Stories to be told

The aim of this project was to create artwork that tells the stories of young people's experiences in Nottinghamshire throughout 2020 and 2021.

Students from the Minster school in Southwell took part in this groundbreaking project.

A ‘moving picture’ was made by the young people in practical sessions with help from internationally acclaimed artist, Martin Smith.

An automata is an engineered machine that may include pulleys, cogs and cams.

The young people’s experience of lockdown and the COVID 19 pandemic was used to inspire them to create fictional stories on the theme 'flying free'.

Each student made an automata that reflects the stories they created

Literacy links

This project is linked to the Nottinghamshire multimodal literacy project. The students drew their inspiration from key literature.

Some of the books include content about making inventions, automatas and machines.

One of the books tells the story of a mouse who lives in the sewer and creates a machine for him to escape to freedom ( Linbergh by Torben Kuhlmann).

The students used this text to craft a story of 'freedom' and from there they created a moving masterpiece.

New worlds

In addition to the mechanical artwork, the children engaged in a virtual reality experience that gave them the freedom to explore the landscapes and settings of the texts they studied. The VR environments were designed by VR experts Fuzzy Brick - delivering a fully immersive and interactive experience which was truly multimodal.

Partners involved in this project

Nottinghamshire County Council

Virtual school

The Harley Gallery

Mighty Creatives

Fuzzy Brick

VR specialists

Martin Smith


The Minster school