Sarra was born in Coventry, to her father, an engineer and musician; and her mother who was a writer. She grew up on the outskirts of a small hosiery town where she spent her formative years playing in wild habitats, blackberry fields, cow ponds and brooks, near where she lived. Together with other local children; Sarra had free access to the natural world.
In the early 1980’s, Sarra’s father brought home the families first computer. Together with her brother, Sarra spent many days producing simple motion graphics in BASIC, on the ZX Spectrum Sinclair. In code copied from the pages of Spectrum magazine; she avidly watched as a border flashed and a ball bounced across the TV screen. She also became interested in adventure games such as the Hobbit, at this time. Borrowing Tolkien’s book from the local library; she drew maps and compiled lists of action words to solve this epic adventure…but that’s another story.
Sarra’s brother went on to work with computers in the car industry and became involved in the local Demoscene. Sarra, in contrast went back outside to play in nature, grow trees and make things. Later she used her knowledge gained from writing code as a 10 year old to set up rudimentary computer systems in a surveyors office, painting portraits and sculpture to commission in the evenings.
Sarra returned to Coventry University later in life where she initially chose to study Fine Art and Illustration. However, she soon discovered Animation as her primary art form. Her early influences were artists such as William Kentridge, Theo Yansen and Len Lye, as well as eastern european animators such as Jan Svankmajer, Yuri Norstein and Lotte Reiniger.
In these early years, Sarra trained in drawn Illustration, CGI Animation and produced puppets, props and sets for the stop-motion animation industry. Many of these projects went on to be nationally recognised recieving awards which include D&AD New Blood, Student Award for Film Craft Animation and The Campaign for Drawing, Big Draw NADFAS Award for teaching animation to secondary school children.
Sarra produced concept models, created sets, props and puppets in the animation industry where she worked with some exceptionally talented directors, animators and model makers on many commercial projects. One project was nominated for Annecy, received award British Animation Peoples Choice Award and Golden Panda.
She went on to lecture at a number of respected Academies in the midlands. These included Birmingham City University, Coventry University, Loughborough University, Staffordshire University. She has delivered papers here and at University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA. Sarra’s experimental work has also been screened in London, U.K., Los Angeles, USA, and Hangzou, China. In addition to classroom and one to one instruction, Sarra has designed and developed blended course content to students in Higher Education and professionals working in the mental health service.
Sarra is currently experimenting with the Unity Game Engine to explore, virtual, natural and built environment ‘wayfinding’ and narration. The work is underpinned by psychological and contemporary transmedia research.