STEM based learning and Art: STEAM

I have recently come across a number of articles about science and art.  I read an interesting article on scientists trying to quantify and explain our personal taste in art, and came across another article showcasing filmmaker Alice Dunseath’s petri-dish Beta and Theta wave artworks.  There is always some great news story out there about science used to explain art, or the marrying of the two.  As subjects they are very different but they are also very similar.  Much like maths and art.  And come to think of it, engineering.  And also technology.  When you really come down to it, art straddles many, if not all, subjects, and all learning is interwoven.  Young children learn so much from creative play, they develop fine motor skills, empathy and social skills, and it is also a form of sensory exploration.  Older students and children can embrace broader subjects and understanding through their creativity.

So it was not surprising when I came across an article about the art based learning of STEM, or STEAM. [STEM programs are Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).  The article appeared in the Huffington Post on 7 December 2015, and it is titled Arts Based Learning of STEM Works Says NSF Funded Research Firm.

It discusses, with huge statistical evidence, the benefits of learning through creativity.  It’s an interesting read, and it almost seems obvious that creative thinking, as a model of holistic learning and through incorporating all learning under the umbrella of education as opposed to individual subjects, is the way forward.  The Finnish are doing it already… When I studied special education and areas of art therapy many years ago at University, this was an intrinsic aspect of the learning experience.  It is also an aspect of Montessori and Steiner education, student led creative learning experiences.  I may be thinking very broad here to be linking STEAM with Steiner, but


Since writing this post I have come across more articles in the area of creative learning and STEM.

STEM based learning and Art: STEAM

Share don’t scare: we need to nurture (and learn from) young cultural leaders -16 Oct. 2015 article

I came across this article in The Conversation, titled Share don’t scare: we need to nurture (and learn from) young cultural leaders , from the 16 Oct. 2015.  And even though it is discussing a tertiary education, or older, generation of young cultural leaders, it is still important, I think, to have the same sentiments for secondary art education.

The article is authored by Lizzie Miller, who is the Director of the Master of Curating and Cultural Leadership degree at Art and Design UNSW, so her perspective is based on that cohort.

My background, apart from teaching, is grassroots.  In particular ARIs and emerging artists.  I have dabbled in Arts Marketing and Cultural Policy and other all rounder arts professions, (I once took photos of kids with Santa, and in between managing art galleries I used to dabble in construction, they count as well right?) and it always comes back to the grassroots, for me anyway.

This is a refreshing article, I find, as even though it discusses UNSW specific activities, it does discuss and point-out the new methods and approaches education research is taking by linking leadership to Indigenous cultures and to feminist approaches.

Being an educator is about empowering students to be the best they can be (even though at times it can be just like herding cats).  And as current politics and culture is rapidly changing and evolving, so too does our methods of nurturing the next generation of leaders, (or cats).

Share don’t scare: we need to nurture (and learn from) young cultural leaders -16 Oct. 2015 article