How did the A get into STEM?

14 October 2020

Power of STEM; Art + Science = Progress

STEM sets the framework for a multidisciplinary understanding of technology and automation systems engineering. There even exist industry 4.0 companies which address such issues e.g. by using bionic systems – quasi models of living things or inspirations from nature are used as references for their technological developments. This process requires not only multidisciplinary competence but also tremendous creativity. But what fuels creative engineering more than arts and artistically inspired invention?

Even the European Commission in its current Framework Programme in Research and Development sponsors the inclusion of artists in engineering teams, arguing as follows: “Arts are increasingly gaining prominence as a catalyst for an efficient conversion of Science & Technology knowledge into novel products, services, and processes. More and more high-tech companies embrace the Arts to boost their innovation capacity. To encourage collaboration of research projects and artists, a special program called STARTS funds residencies of artists in technology institutions and of scientists and technologists”.

How do we mobilize STEAM education in the area of digitalization to advocate future generations in mastering fundamental change of the 2020s?

Adding the A in the STEM education framework will attract students, and especially female students, who first-hand seemingly might not be interested in technical or natural science education.

No doubt that the current student generation is highly skilled in the use of computers, software and of entertainment programs such as games. Thus, such skill is not their barrier of access. Systems development in the 2020 needs technically sound knowledge, but as well impulses and inspirations of integration of technology in social and human contexts. Arts open such complementary spaces of integration and foster motivation to create playful and joyful processes of systems developments.

About the author

Professor Günter R. Koch, President of Humboldt Cosmos Multiversity, a global discourse and education platform located in Tenerife, Spain, and of GRASPnetwork, Vienna, an association devoted to explore and to make evident how nowadays immaterial productions can be visualized through contemporary art. GRASPnetwork also serves as a network for knowledge creation through “artful thinking”, i.e. using art as a creativity booster. Before Koch had been Head of Austria’s largest Technology & Research Organisation, today called Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), engaged in a broad range of technological disciplines.

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