Magnetic Fields

  • Deadline:
    Nov. 8, 2021, 12:11 p.m.
  • Location:

School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe presents a 5-wk online class on creating electromagnet movement with coils and motors

About this event

How can developing an intuitive understanding of electromagnetic fields through hands-on experimentation help us better understand the world around us?

/ Five-week Live* Online class begins 8. November ends 6. December

/ Every Monday, 8pm-10pm, CET

/ Small class of participants

/Tickets available through Eventbrite

Course Description

All around us, the forces of electromagnetism are at play! Motors, radios, speakers, and more recently, inductive charging and Radio-frequency identification (RFIDs) are all working on the same principals that use coils, resonance, and electromagnetism. Sometimes these forces feel mysterious and magical, but in this class we will explore them tangibly through hands-on exploration. This class will not use math, but will focus on an experiment-based intuitive understanding of these technologies. Each participant will receive a kit which will be used to build weekly examples.

In this five-week course we will focus on a handful of embodiments of electromagnetic forces. We will produce motion and movement by creating our own motors, solenoids and electromagnets with coils.

This course covers both audio outputs, in the form of making our own speakers out of embroidered coiled wire, and inputs in the form of electromagnetic field sensors. Throughout the class students will be guided to use these concepts in their own work, which we will present to each other in the final week of the class.

*Please note, due to the fact that this is a hardware-based class, sign-ups are open until 18. October, three weeks before class begins in order to have enough time for you to receive your kit. Thanks for your understanding.

What tools does the course aim to teach

Basic concepts of electromagnetism

Building your own motors and creating masic electromagnetic movement

Building your own speakers and EMF listening devices

Course Outline

Week 1: Introductions

In this class, we will introduce ourselves and our backgrounds, discussing how this class might fit into our existing practice or curiosities. We will cover the basics of what is inside our kits and cover a few key concepts. We will discuss our intended projects for the upcoming five weeks and how we will track our progress.

Week 2: Magnets & movement

In our first hands-on week we will learn how electromagnetism is used in motors. We will review basic types of motors and actuators, and then build our own. We will create homopolar motors which create circular motions, and solenoids that create linear motions. We will explore how these concepts can be used in creating non traditional types of movement.

Week 3: Soft Speakers & Audio Outputs

In week three we will build our own speakers. Through using embroidery and magnets, we will use the same materials from week 1 to make our own speakers. Students wil have the opportunity to explore how materials used influence the sound quality and volume, and hook up their speaker to a music player.

Week 4: Exploring EMF and audio Inputs, RFID & inductive power

This week will consist of building EMF sensing devices that can sense the EMF fields produced by everyday electronics. We will explore the relationship between materiality and sensing, and how different circuits can be used to hear and create different frequencies. We will also explore RFIDs and how power can be transferred wirelessly, and build a small wireless circuit.

Week 5: Presentations

In the final week we will dedicate time to answer remaining questions and present our final work.

Who is this course for?

This class is for artists or creative people who are looking for a hands-on way to explore electromagnetism and EMF through examples and experimentation. There is no math or engineering knowledge needed for this course. Some knowledge of textiles or soldering may be helpful, but expected knowledge is entry level. This is a great course for sound or fibre artists looking to add an extra dimension to their work.

The classes are live?*

Classes are 'live' meaning that you can directly interact with the instructor as well as with the other participants from around the world. Classes will also be recorded for playback in case you are unable to attend for any reason. For specific questions, please email info[at]

About fees

We realise we're living in uncertain times. During this time, we are offering a limited number of pay-what-you-can solidarity tickets for this online class. These are reserved for women, POC, and LGBTQ+ who would otherwise be unable to attend. We are a small organisation with no outside funding and like many, we are also in survival mode and we ask you to consider this when making your donation. For more information, see the FAQ page here.

Additionally, as this class requires a kit, it should be noted that solidarity ticket holders will still be responsible for purchasing the kit and any auxillary materials. Thank you for your understanding.

Note: Due to the fact that we are receiving way more requests for Solidarity tickets than we can accommodate, we ask that if you have already taken three that you please purchase a regular ticket in order to make them available to other people. Also, please note that we may send a follow-up email asking you to confirm your eligibility for these tickets. We are trying to make our classes accessible to as many people as possible and greatly appreciate your understanding and support.


Please Note: For tax purposes, we need to include the 19% VAT on top of ticket price.


In order to utilise this feature at checkout, under Registration Type & Tax Receipt Information, select Business (which as a freelancer you technically are). Then enter in your USt.ID.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch: info[at]


Lee Wilkins

Lee Wilkins is a cyborg, and educator currently based in Montreal. They have a bachelors from Concordia University, a MFA from OCAD University, and are currently completing a PhD at the University of Toronto on posthuman space suits. They are interested in curious electronics and whimsical robots. Lee is co-executive director at Little Dada and co-organizes events like Make Change Conference, Make Friends Meetup, Long Exposure Festival, Stupid Shit Hackathon Toronto, Defcon Biohacking Village, and was previously Director at Site 3 coLaboratory. Lee is part time faculty member at OCAD University, Ryerson University, where they teach electronics, programming, and wearable tech.