Immersive Tales evolved from two separate charitable organisations: Over and Above the Line and Immersive Sensory.

Background

Although Immersive Tales was only established in 2019, the genesis of the organisation goes back over 10 years.

2006

Mark Hildred and Niz Smith start working together investigating whether sensory equipment, traditionally used to support children with special educational needs and physical disabilities, would also support the learning of other children. They are particularly interested in those facing challenges related to living in areas of disadvantage and inequality.

2007

A sensory space is installed at an Infants School in a deprived area of Reading, allowing teachers to take children into a dedicated sensory space to explore different areas of the curriculum. The feedback from teachers and children is fantastic. The school finds that the space helps support speaking and listening skills, the amount the children understand and the learning they retain.

2010

Mark, Niz and another colleague, Kevin Jackson, start exploring how to develop the ideas from the Reading school and other anecdotal evidence from other projects.

2014

Immersive Sensory CIC is formed to formalise the organisation. The focus at this stage is on the best way to deliver the sensory equipment to schools, negating the need for a dedicated room.

2014

Noel White sets up the Over and Above the Line Project (OAL), having developed story writing workshops to develop creative writing and critical thinking skills in children, young people and adults. The workshops are delivered in schools in Oxford and Milton Keynes and also with homeless people. The results are very positive with many children writing their first stories and impressing themselves, their classmates and their schools with their achievements.

2017

OAL and Immersive Sensory join together to deliver a story writing project at Bayards Hill School in Oxford. This makes use of a custom-built sensory trolley designed by Immersive Sensory, with video, lighting and sound themes created to accompany the workshops run by OAL. Following the success of this project OAL and Immersive Sensory take the decision to merge approaches and organisations to form Immersive Tales.

2019

Immersive Tales is formally registered as a charity. We successfully apply for funding from the National Lottery Community Fund to start a pilot project with the first delivery of workshops planned for April 2020. The onset of the COVID pandemic puts paid to this and subsequent re-arranged dates.

2021

After several re-arranged dates the first workshops for 65 children are arranged for July.

2023

Workshops move out of the classroom and into heritage environments in Lincolnshire. 

Our practitioners

Noel WhiteDr. Noel White, Workshop Development & Lead Tutor

Noel has been a freelance writer for over twenty years, he was the founder of children’s charity Over and Above the Line, and works with Oxford University designing and running several creative writing courses.

Mark HildredMark Hildred MEng MSc, Sensory Technology

Mark is a freelance sensory consultant, who works to enable people of all ages and abilities to access creative technologies. His projects include the use of sound, light and video projection to create interactive spaces that respond to movements and gestures.

Noel White,
Workshop Leader
Noel White

Noel has been a freelance writer for over twenty years, he was the founder of children’s charity Over and Above the Line, and works with Oxford University designing and running several creative writing courses.

Mark Hildred,
Sensory Technology
Mark Hildred

Mark Hildred is a freelance sensory consultant, who works to enable people of all ages and abilities to access creative technologies. His projects include the use of sound, light and video projection to create interactive spaces that respond to movements and gestures.

Our trustees

Sarah Cunningham, Chair of TrusteesSarah Cunningham, Chair of Trustees

Sarah has spent most of her career developing direct marketing campaigns and events in the charity sector. She has also worked internationally to help build fundraising capacity in smaller network offices.

Niz SmithNiz Smith, Secretary

Niz has worked in the charity sector for 25 years primarily in managing small charities and developing and delivering projects for others. She has also served as a Trustee for small charities. She holds an MSc in the Management of Voluntary Organisations.

Julie Gilbert Julie Gilbert, Treasurer

Julie has worked in Accounts for over 20 years after first obtaining a certificate in Book Keeping in 1975. She also spent five years as Treasurer of the Methodist Church, Lincoln. From 1997 to May 2020 she worked as a registered Childminder.
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Sarah Cunningham,
Chair of Trustees
Sarah Cunningham, Chair of Trustees
Sarah has spent most of her career developing direct marketing campaigns and events in the charity sector. She has also worked internationally to help build fundraising capacity in smaller network offices.
Julie Gilbert
Julie Gilbert

Julie has worked in Accounts for over 20 years after first obtaining a certificate in Book Keeping in 1975. She also spent five years as Treasurer of the Methodist Church, Lincoln. From 1997 to May 2020 she worked as a registered Childminder.

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Niz Smith

Niz Smith

Niz has worked in the charity sector for 25 years primarily in managing small charities and developing and delivering projects for others. She has also served as a Trustee for small charities. She holds an MSc in the Management of Voluntary Organisations.

Supported by

James Kirby, Illustrator

Whilst pursuing a career in education, James has always maintained a keen interest in art and design and has produced illustrations for book covers, independent records and also for his sons to help them develop their own story telling and imaginative skills.

He has kindly created some images to help illustrate the exciting worlds we hope will be created in the imaginations of the children we work with.

Helen Frankel, Empathy Design

The creator of the Immersive Tales website, Helen runs Empathy Design, a website design and development company based in York.

“I’ve never actually wanted to write a story until now”, July 2021