Thingamabobas in Schools


Making Connections

Inspired by our installation Thingamabobas, we delivered a workshop programme in two schools, one in Hong Kong and one in Nottingham, to explore design thinking and tinkering. We worked in collaboration with Lakeside Arts at The University of Nottingham, Djanogly Strelley Primary School UK, Hong Kong artists Agnes Pang and Zoie So and Sam Shui Natives Association Huen King Wing School, Hong Kong.
We delivered 6 workshops to children aged 6-7 and 9-11 and presented our findings at Spark 2021. In conceiving Thingamabobas installation it was always our intention to create a complementary learning pack for schools focused on Design Thinking and Tinkering. Our aims were to use creativity as a developmental tool to raise aspiration and attainment, to identify new ways of working to embed creativity at the heart of the recovery curriculum, and to build confidence amongst the children. Critical to the project was to receive feedback from the class and Head Teachers, the artists on both continents, and the children to enable us to refine the learning pack so that it will be of greatest use to all future schools that chose to engage with it.

Short Documentary Film by Georgianna Scurfield

 in schools 

A short documentary following the project adventures at the two schools. You will see the children at work and hear from them and the artists about the project .


The Thingambobas Workshops 

The workshops were designed around design thinking and tinkering philosophy, because it affords childen the space to generate ideas that can be explored, tested and re-built without losing heart or feeling that they have failed. 

Workshop 1

A hands on practical session where children made  scribble bots and mechanical sculpture using cam mechanisms. They used recycled materials, cardboard, pens, battery packs and motors to make their own creations. Their understanding of how these contraptions were put together and moved would help to inform their final sculptures.

Workshop 2

Design thinking formed the basis of this workshop. The children voted for their favourite theme for their exhibition from a range of ideas they generated. The classes chose the themes of playgrounds, animals, gaming and robots. The children  mind mapped their design ideas, made drawings and shared their final designs with their class.

Workshop 3

Building contraptions and kinetic sculptures!  The children worked in groups to re-design and build their sculptures using recycled materials, old toy parts, cardboard, sticky tape, batteries and motors. Encouraging quick prototying, embracing trial and error with materials, many ideas moved away from their initial design concept.


Meet The Artists

Agnes Pang

Multi-media HK artist, Agnes obtained her Fine Arts degree from the University of Hong Kong. Agnes is the founder of Draw 2- Art and Language Studio. Her art programs emphasise the creation of attractive art and craft works from everyday materials. Agnes believes art can bring joy and happiness and it’s originated from our daily life. She initiated a project called “I am everywhere “ with the aim to promote art in the community via talks, workshops and events, as well as sharing her creative ideas and artwork in media.

Rachel Ramchurn

Rachel began her artistic career in 2000, involving participatory methods to inspire chainsaw sculpture. She has spent over 15 years as a freelance artist creating and exhibiting works of art in public spaces and delivering social engagement workshops to families and children. Rachel’s socially engaged practice has become more focused on utilising digital technology to tell participants stories who’s voices are seldom heard, and engage audiences with dynamic storytelling. Rachel is an artist and producer.

Roma Patel

Roma is a scenographer and digital artist. She has designed interactive and site-specific performance, theatre and digital installations in the UK and Europe since 2000. Her recent PhD at the University of Nottingham focused on the points of intersection between scenography and interactive technologies in Theatre for Early Years. She is interested in how current electronic and wearable tech can be developed for performative installation.

Zoie So

Zoie So is a Hong Kong artist with an interdisciplinary background in science, digital technology and studio art. Zoie’s work features the spheres of innovative materials, light art, electronic art, mechanical design, digital graphics and programming at interplay, communicating to yield sculptures, multimedia installations and performances of diverse nature. She is currently in a material science & nano-technology postgraduate programme at City University of Hong Kong.

Bringing people together

Lakeside Arts

Lakeside Arts is the University of Nottingham’s public arts programme. Over 200,000 people of all ages and abilities engage annually with Lakeside’s cultural programme across the visual, performing and participatory arts and heritage. Lakeside has a strong commitment to supporting the development of artists and the creation of inspirational work for children and families, one example of which is the relationship with Makers of Imaginary Worlds.



A special thanks to all the teachers and the young artists from Djanogly Strelley Primary School, Nottingham UK,  and Sam Shui Natives Association Huen King Wing School, Hong Kong who particpated and and helped us to make this wonderful exhibtion of work.