Synnøve Fredericks running a creative workshop with students of Trinity Academy Lockleaze for the Trinity Vortex Public art project

Trinity Vortex

Trinity Academy, Lockleaze, Bristol

Trinity Vortex is a celebratory aerial ash sculpture, created collaboratively by artist Synnøve Fredericks and students from Trinity Academy, Lockleaze. 

Commissioned by Bristol City Council and produced by Bricks, this public art programme supports and celebrates Trinity Academy’s cultural ambition for every pupil to have ‘access to enrichment opportunities, in particular in music and the performing arts’.

Concept devised 2021. Created and installed 2022

Artist: Synnøve Fredericks

Clients: Bristol City Council & Trinity Academy Bristol

Local Authority: Bristol City Council

Trinity Academy, Romney Avenue, Lockleaze, Bristol, BS7 9BY

The public artwork Trinity Vortex in situ at Trinity Academy in Lockleaze by Synnøve Fredericks
Trinity Vortex
Photography: Ruby Turner, January 2023.

Spearheaded by Bristol artist Synnøve Fredericks, this stunning aerial steam bent ash sculpture Trinity Vortex was collaboratively designed with year 8 students of Trinity Academy Lockleaze and crafted with support from a Bristol based team of wood millers, boat builders, lighting designers, engineers, and riggers.

Bricks was commissioned by Bristol City Council to deliver the public art programme for the new Trinity Academy.  Synnøve Fredericks’ proposal was selected from an open commission call to local artists in 2021.

“’It’s been such a joy to see the collaborative creative work done by Synnøve and our amazing students lead to such a dramatic and meaningful installation. The piece captures so much of what Trinity is about – Head, Heart, Soul, creativity, aspiration, dynamism and inspiration. I am reminded of these things every time I see it and I know it has captured the imagination of the whole community.”

Eiron Bailey, Head Teacher, Trinity Academy Lockleaze

The Creative Process – Devising a sculpture

The form of this ambitious artwork was devised by the artist and students using a series of movement and music workshops and takes inspiration from the school’s values of ‘Head, Heart and Soul’. 

Students from the school’s first intake worked with artist Synnøve Fredericks to select a piece of music which would embody the intentions of the school and their aspirations for education at the Academy. Beethoven’s 5 Secrets by The Piano Guys was selected to represent the Academy’s inclusive ethos and act as creative inspiration for the workshops and final design.

The students then worked together with Synnøve in a series of workshops to translate their chosen piece of music into a physical form, first developing the concept using movement, then translating this into a physical form using lengths of ribbons, card and finally strips of timber veneer.

Two students from Trinity Academy interacting with timber veneer in a workshop with artist Synnøve Fredericks for Trinity Vortex
Workshop with Synnøve Fredericks
Photography: Josh Adam Jones, July 2021.

Synnøve then took this concept and worked the idea into a large suspended sculptural vortex, using a series of steam bent sections of milled ash.  The location of the piece is the interior of the main entrance atrium – the welcome piece for the school.

The wood for the sculpture was gifted from a felled ash tree from the National Trust’s estate at Tyntesfield, and the steam bending process took place at Rolt’s Boat Yard, Spike Island. The sculpture was installed over two days in December 2022.

The form of the sculpture is designed to be open and welcoming, instead of inward looking.  The moving, dynamic, growing spiral symbolises an open, inclusive group where others can join in. It is a vortex of movement, beginning as a smaller spiral and then growing up and outwards. Through the process of making it, music, movement, determination, openness and generosity became key themes for the artist and students.  

It is a testament to the pioneering students who began at the school, and their collaborative roles in building its community.

“I think it was transformational because it was just a small idea the artist had to create a sculpture, and then it’s actually something that you can see here… I think we’re really lucky to be a part of it, to be part of the process and then actually see the result”.

Filsan, Trinity Academy Student

Bricks involvement 

Bricks facilitated a series of workshops to allow the commissioned artist and a core group of students to devise the concept and form of the artwork. Bricks then worked alongside the artist, her support team and the Academy to see the artwork installed.

Bricks produced the public art programme and ran an open call for local artist submissions for the commission. Bricks worked with a local commissioning group made up of Trinity Academy’s Head Teacher, a student from the Academy and Bristol City Council, to shortlist local artist submissions and to support the selection of the final commission. 

Commissioned Artist

Synnøve Fredericks
Photography: Josh Adam Jones, July 2021.

Synnøve Fredericks is a local sensory designer, artist and maker.

Creating installations, sets and furniture that communicate emotion, orientation and story through the senses. Trained as a designer and furniture maker, she uses a wide knowledge of sustainable materials, plants, light and sound to create tactile and welcoming spaces.

Her artistic work looks to craft and landscape, to explore belonging and connection. She has researched palaeolithic processes, from fire by friction and green woodwork to leather tanning, to uncover the origins of how we consume and design. These techniques reveal our most basic requirements to feel at home and guide the objects she produces.

Art: @common_land

Furniture: @arms_and_legs_and

As part of the Planning Application for the new Trinity Academy secondary school, the public art programme was commissioned by Bristol City Council.

This project would not have been possible without the input of many contributors. 

Special thanks to:

Mark Rolt and team at Rolt’s Boat Yard for guidance with the steam bending

Jeff, Reza and Nigel at Chelvey Designer Makers Partnership for milling the timber

Joel at Tyntesfield, National Trust, for the very special ash tree!

Lucy Record Lighting

Engineers James Walker (Milner Associates) and Lloyd Evans (Spark Structures)

Riggers Fanna Augustine, Chris Price, Designs in Air and Tom Ryan

Unit 15 Circus space

Eiron Bailey and the Trinity Academy team

Arilda Tymko, Phil Lawrence and all at Bristol City Council

The city of Bristol for having such a willing and pioneering community in Lockleaze

Students of Trinity Academy: Abdullah Butt, Anastasia Manioti, Anika Mistry, Ben Macleod, Caleb Renshaw, Evie Williams, Filsan Muhamed, Huzaifah Awaisi, Joshua Hunt, Louie Relton, Maja Kupiec, Mia Cavender, Morag Carver Brown, Oscar Mckee and Zainab Shaikh.

All who support these people, habitats and artists. 

Artist Bio

Creative Commissioning Group

We have worked with a Creative Commissioning Group made up of the Headteacher and a pupil from Trinity Academy, the City Council and Bricks, to run an open call for artists, to shortlist submissions and to support the selection of the final commission.

  • Eiron Bailey

    Headteacher at Trinity Academy
  • Trinity Academy Pupil

    Trinity Academy Creative Commissioning Group
  • Arilda Tymko

    Arts Officer for Bristol City Council
  • Philip Lawrence

    Senior Project Manager for Bristol City Council
Trinity Academy Lockleaze, aerial view - midway through the build process. Purdown hill to the top of the image and housing around the rest of the site
Trinity Academy, Lockleaze, mid construction aerial view


Trinity Academy, Brangwyn Grove, Lockleaze, Bristol, BS7 9BY