Born in Coventry in 1972 to her father, an engineer and musician; and her mother, a spiritualist and automatic writer. Sarra grew up in a small hosiery town where her formative years were spent playing in wild habitats, blackberry fields, cow ponds and brooks near where she lived. Together with other local children; she had free access to the natural world.

In the early 1980’s, Sarra’s father brought home a Spectrum computer on which she and her brother spent many days producing simple motion graphics coding in ‘basic’. She also became interested in adventure games such as The Hobbit. Borrowing Tolkien’s book from the local library she drew maps and compiled a list of action words to solve this epic adventure game… But that was another story.

Sarra’s brother went on to work with computers in the car industry and became involved in the 80’s Demoscene. Sarra, in contrast, went back outside to play in the mud, make things and grow trees. She went on to work in a surveyors department, keeping sketchbooks while painting portraits in the evening.

Years later, Sarra returned to Coventry to complete her undergraduate studies at Coventry University. She began working in Fine Art and illustration only to discover Animation as her primary, and most importantly to her, an interdisciplinary art form. Her early influences were artists such as William Kentridge and Len Lye as well as eastern european animators such as Jan Svankmajer, Yuri Norstein and Lotte Reiniger.

In these early years, Sarra produced puppets, props and sets for stop motion Animation. She also trained in 3D CGI Animation and became interested in the sense of ‘disconnection’ she experienced when using CGI tools.

It was by recalling her early experiments and explaining these to others that she recognised she could formally investigate the ‘disconnect’ experienced in practice while also resolving the problem of communicating practice based research in the Academy (a problem not evident in the studio).

For the next ten years , she followed her nose as she pushed the boundaries of animation as she explored the many disciplines of the art form working as an independent artist-animator and in many different roles in the Animation industry.

Sarra’s practice-based research activity produced a large body of art work that is applicable theoretically within the fields of contemporary 3D animation, Visual Communication, HCI and Interaction Design. Sarra’s experimental work has been screened in Birmingham, London, Hangzou, China and Los Angeles, USA. Extracts from this work can be viewed on this website.

Her commercial work has been awarded New Blood D&AD Yellow Pencil for Film Craft Animation and NADFAS Big Draw (2009) and she has worked with Chris Randall, Second Home Studios and Jim Turner, BBC on a number of projects, one of which went on to win multiple awards, namely the British Animation people’s choice Award, Golden Panda and an Annecy nomination. This work can be viewed at 

Recent experimental work tracks connections between climate change, mass migration, war and the depletion of natural resources. In this work, she engages with ancient, traditional materials and processes as she explores clay, natural dyes, print making, painting, modelling and carving as well as advanced technologies. She is interested in how interactive human behaviour reveals aspects of human will, social cooperation and the ‘survival mind’ when facing uncertainty in an unpredictable world.

Sarra asks,

“What does it mean to be human in a technologically pervasive, ecologically unsound world”.





Sarra Hornby © 2005 – 2018 All Rights Reserved