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STEAM: Launching Creativity into STEM

Staff and students of Hartlepool College are continuing to put the Art in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) with the second, annual STEAM event. The college’s STEAM event is the brainchild of Art & Design lecturer, Dr Sarah Gilligan.

“STEAM day at Hartlepool College is all about encouraging children and young people to communicate, discuss ideas, question, explore, experiment, solve problems, design, test, analyse, evaluate, and learn new skills.  We want children and young people regardless of where they live or their backgrounds, to have the opportunity to be creative, to think outside the box, aim high and have the freedom and confidence to strive to become whoever they want to be.  We want learning to be engaging, inspirational and aspirational.” said Dr Sarah Gilligan

Pupils from four Hartlepool primary schools attended the event and were given the opportunity to work with staff, students and graduates, together with collaborative partners to design, experiment and create a range of product prototypes, creative responses and visual explorations tied to a range of STEAM industries. The year 5s from Eldon Grove, Ward Jackson, West Park and Greatham totalled 150 visitors on the day and worked with experts from the likes of Beamish, DLI Collections, Space to Learn and portrait photographer Donna-Lisa Healy. Keith Bradley, the college’s Head of School for Art, Design and IT said:

In the 21st century, the economy needs innovation where ideas and inventions are transformed into goods and services. Whether it be developing jumbo jets for long haul travel, film production, fashion or branding for a local charity, ideas are essential. STEM specialists - those people who are working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths - often lead innovation; Art and Design (and the Arts more widely) need to be added to the equation and we are leading the way by starting with our younger creatives to inspire a future in STEAM.”

After completing sessions in aircraft marshalling, plane making, video game creation, green screen filming, fashion design, portrait photography and many more, pupils from the four schools left the event enthused by a career with STEAM. Andrew Richardson, father of Jasmine Richardson from Eldon Grove said, “It’s great what the college are doing. Jasmine absolutely loved trying new things and seeing the impact they could have on a number of industries. It has certainly opened her eyes and mine to the opportunities that are available to her in the future.”

The STEAM event is the culmination of a year’s work for many. Dr Gilligan describes how this is more than a one-day event: “The STEAM event is a key piece in the jigsaw of my larger collaborative scholarly research project into the creative and cultural industries, which has included being a visiting research scholar and presenting research at the End of Fashion conference at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand in December 2016. The project has been supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the New Zealand Society (UK), which has enabled us to support emerging and established artists, designers and cultural organisations, together with hiring specialist equipment for this wonderful event for children in the town. Work with our current students and FDA Design for the Creative Industries graduates has also taken place across the many months leading up to the event, both to feed into the activities and to inspire the design that has branded the event.

Former Foundation Degree in Design for the Creative Industries [link to the course] student and recent Sunderland University graduate, Paul Ferry, created the final branding for the STEAM event, including promotional motion graphics videos as part of his final year ‘live brief’ project. This work, along with the standard shown across other final year units, helped Paul to secure a first class honours degree in Graphic Design. Reflecting on Paul’s success Keith said:

The key objectives for events such as these have always been two-fold. Firstly, we like to support our local community, we have shown that with this annual event and other community based projects such as our Young Creatives’ programme. Secondly, we want to prepare our students for the world of work and we strongly believe there is no better way to do that than to work in a ‘live brief’ scenario. Paul’s final designs and his success at university demonstrate the high standard of work that our students create.”

Special thanks go to Dave Bennett of EDF Energy for the loan of the K’nex equipment, Percy Scrap Store in Middlesbrough for supplying resources for the event, together with Culture Bridge North East and Lynne Horton from Hartlepool Borough Council for their ongoing support.

With a history of STEM excellence and a highly successful School of Art and Design and IT as Hartlepool College is STEAMing ahead with creative jobs for the future. Find out more and see how you can #BeTheNext at >>  http://bit.ly/hcfeartdesign

STEAM Day II 2017

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