A Forest of Things: Arduino, electronics & coding course with Matt Mapleston

Session 1 – FRIDAY 24 FEB, 1.30PM – 5.30PM

Session 2 – TUESDAY 7 MARCH, 1.30PM – 5.30PM

Session 3 – FRIDAY 21 APRIL, 9.30AM – 5.30PM

OPEN SCHOOL EAST – 39 Hawley Square, Margate CT9 1NZ

Join OSE Associates Jamie Lee and Emily Stapleton-Jefferis for a three part course exploring networks, ecology and sensors with Matt Mapleston (The Geekery). 

In this short course we will consider these themes whilst learning to use Arduino, an open-source microcontroller kit for building digital devices, and explore different possibilities for sensing and reacting to our environment. Through this course, our intention is to build a community of makers interested in the physical and conceptual processes of collecting data and monitoring environments, addressing the relationships between ourselves and other beings. The course will culminate in a collaborative installation of our ‘things’, modified and hybrid sensing-objects reacting to themselves and one another.

You can find a full breakdown of each session below. If you have one, please bring a laptop to each session. Partcipants will be sent a link to download the Arduino software prior to our first session.

This course has a capacity of 6 – There are 2 spaces left for the final session on Friday 19 April – to book a place please email: george@openschooleast.org

If (for any reason) you’re unable to attend after booking – we ask that you cancel your ticket via Eventbrite and free up a space for another participant.


Session 1: Introduction to Arduino. 

FRIDAY 24 FEB, 1.30 – 5.30PM

On day 1 we will learn about and discuss different forms of sensors (inputs) and actuators (outputs) that can be made with Arduino, using images and examples. We will then decide as a group what inputs and outputs we want to use as well as starting to think about what other materials we will need to build our ‘Forest of Things’ installation. By the end of this session we will know what the Arduino can be used for and how to program it to turn an LED on and off, plus some more complex functions depending on progress made. Everyone will be given an Arduino Nano to keep. 

Session 2: Introduction to sensors and actuators for Arduino.

TUESDAY 7 MARCH, 1.30 – 5.30PM

Assuming no prior knowledge, we will understand how the Arduino can sense the real world and cause effects using actuators. We will be guided through a simple example of coding an Arduino to use a sensor and actuator. We will discuss individual pieces to build in the next session which will interact with each other and to their environment.

Session 3: Practical workshop: One Day Build

FRIDAY 21 APRIL 9.30 – 5.30PM

We will put together the skills we have learnt and build our ‘Forest of Things’ installation. Everyone can bring materials with them, in order to give our ‘Thing Forest’ some shape. This may include materials and art objects to be manipulated by the actuators. We will work on our individual pieces using an Arduino and any sensors/actuators required. 


In between Sessions 2 and 3 we hope to continue to design our ‘Forest of Things’ installation. There will be an opportunity for us to ask questions and have our designs reviewed before Session 3. The aim is to allow us to hit the ground running for Session 3 and complete our build. Everyone is encouraged to seek help at the Thanet Technology meet up, running every last Thursday of the month at 7.30pm.


OSE Public Programme 2022-23

This event is held as part of Open School East’s 2022-23 Associate-led Public Programme. This year’s Associate-led Public Programme responds to themes of social & ecological hybridity, as set out in the Associate’s first term curriculum entitled When The World Looks Back At You: about storytelling, ecology and the weird led by artist Saelia Aparicio. Through explorations of the voice, the body and sensitive connections with natural and man-made networks that unite the world around us, the Associate-led Public Programme looks to and explores creativity and collectivity in green spaces.

This year we’re excited to announce our partnership with Turner Contemporary, who are generously hosting part of the public programme. 

Turner Contemporary is one of the UK’s leading art galleries. Founded to celebrate JMW Turner’s connection to Margate in 2001, the David Chipperfield designed gallery opened in 2011. Turner Contemporarys work extends beyond showcasing world-class exhibitions, to driving the social and economic regeneration of Margate and East Kent and transforming lives in one of the most deprived areas of the UK. Since it opened, Turner Contemporary has welcomed over 3.8 million visits, put over £70million back into the Kent economy and connected with thousands of people from the local community through our world class programme. 

You can find more Public Programme events at: openschooleast.org/events