New Automata Tinkering Workshop

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A woman working on automata, surrounded by tools and components.

We are delighted to introduce our first online workshop starting this September.

Our automata tinkering workshop is an online course for artists, makers and educators, where you’ll learn about the world of automata – playful, humorous kinetic sculptures.

It will take place in six, 2-hour sessions on Wednesdays from 16th Sept – 21st October 2020. 4-6 pm in UK (8-10am PST, 5-7pm in Europe)

This workshop is suitable for all abilities as long as you are prepared to develop your own creative ideas and experiment with us. 

It is perfect for you if:

  • You want to find out more about automata and how they are made. 
  • You want to develop your artistic practice in a new discipline. 
  • You are an educator who wants to inspire adults and children with tinkering or STEAM activities.

We generally limit the age to 16 years old+ though exceptions can be made where appropriate. 

You will need 

  • a computer with a good internet connection, 
  • a place to work (kitchen table, workshop, garage) 
  • the ability to procure a set of common household materials from a provided list. 

Kit components, including a prototype version of our new Automata Tinkering Kit and a copy of our book, Cabaret Mechanical Movement, will be mailed to you before the course of workshops commences. 

Experienced facilitators from our friends at Wonderful Idea Co. will guide participants through the workshops. We’ll meet automata artists and together we’ll reflect on the ways that constructing kinetic sculptures can influence your practice.

Course outline 

16/09 – Week One – Welcome and Introductions – What is automata? – Practical Session: Cranky Contraptions

23/09 – Week Two – Practical Session with Stephen Guy – Cardboard Automata 

30/09 – Week Three – Pre-recorded exclusive interview with Paul Spooner – Ryan Jenkins of Wonderful Idea Co. talks to Paul about his working practice and current projects.

– Practical Session: Introducing CMT Automata Tinkering Kit 

7/10 – Week Four – Practical Session and Personal Development

14/10 – Week Five – Best Practices for online Tinkering Facilitators – Roundtable 

21/10 – Week Six – Prototyping with motors/programming – Next Steps 

About our course facilitator Wonderful Idea Co:

Wonderful Idea Co. is a creative design studio developing resources to support the exploration of art science and technology through making and tinkering founded in 2017. They have led workshops around the world for hundreds of creative educators.

Learning Online:

This workshop has been adapted to function in the current covid-19 moment of experimentation with making and tinkering in virtual settings. While not the primary focus of the workshop, the session will be a chance for participants to develop their own practice for online workshop delivery. 

Price:  Early Bird until 14th August £275.00

Full Price until 1st September £325.00

Registration closes 1st September to allow for materials to be sent to participants.

You can book your place using the button below or via the workshop Eventbrite page.

A group of women working on cardboard automata
Stephen Guy working on an automata kit
Building cardboard automata
Paul Spooner in his workshop
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  1. Dana Raviv says:

    Only now have I seen the publication of the workshop.
    I wanted to know if there would be another workshop.
    Or will there be a workshop that was filmed and it will be possible to watch the workshop that was.
    Thank you

  2. Annie Rawle says:

    I’d love to have done this but can’t this time. Will it be repeated? I do hope so.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Annie, Good to hear from you. Yes, we are planning to run future online workshops. All the best, Sarah

  3. aleece Abramsky says:

    I live in the USA, will supplies reach me in time? Please let me know about prerecorded classes. The time diffference with live classes may not work!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi there, yes, supplies will reach you in time for this class if you are in the USA.
      We will send announcements about future prerecorded classes to our mailing list when these courses are available.

  4. Barry McGregoir says:

    Brilliant idea – say no more!!

    My website is not ‘flash’ but I can put something on about this also I can post on Twitter and Instagram if you want

    • Sarah says:

      Thanks Barry, that’s great.

  5. Eric J Ahrweiler says:

    If you are unavailable at set times are you still able to view the classes. Thanks Eric

    • Sarah says:

      Hello Eric, this course is being delivered as a real-time class, where participants and facilitators will interact live. We will not be recording the sessions for later viewing. However, we are planning to release pre-recorded courses, demonstrations and interviews in the future. I hope that helps. Please e-mail me at to discuss further if you need to.

Our mission is to promote engineering and creativity through workshops, exhibitions and automata kits.

As a Community Interest Company all profits go toward this valuable work.

Cabaret Mechanical Theatre Learning CIC
Company Number: 14598590
© 2024 Cabaret Mechanical Theatre. All rights reserved.
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