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Bridging the Art/Science Gap
Visitors to the NSF-sponsored workshop explored the connections between art and science in the evocative setting of the Nature Lab.
Leonardo DaVinci was famously an engineer, architect, scientist and, of course, a painter. “Why
choose just one?” asked Shirley Malcolm of the American Association for
the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in addressing participants at a national
workshop RISD hosted on January 20 and 21. “Why was this artificial bifurcation
made [between art and science] and how can we reconnect it?”
STEM to STEAM from STEM to STEAM on Vimeo.
Sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Bridging
STEM to STEAM: Developing New
Frameworks for Art-Science-Design Pedagogy looked at ways
educators and policymakers can begin to bridge this gap. In particular, the goal
of this gathering of minds was to develop strategies to enhance STEM [Science,
Technology, Engineering, and Math] education by integrating art and design –
transforming STEM into STEAM by adding Art.
Hosted by RISD President John Maeda and Provost Jessie
Shefrin, the workshop brought together 60 leaders from the fields of
science, creative IT, engineering, art and design, mathematics and education
research to strategize about innovative
ways to fuse these fields and teach new approaches to creative problem solving.
RISD educators and Principal Investigators Christopher Rose and Brian
K. Smith organized the workshop, and half a dozen other key RISD educators
participated in the series of provocative and inspiring discussions.
STEM to STEAM Conversations from STEM to STEAM on Vimeo.
"It’s not about adding on arts
education,” noted Margaret Honey, president and CEO of the New York Hall of
Science, in addressing the group. “It’s about fundamentally changing education
to incorporate the experimentation and exploration that is at the heart of
In their presentations and discussions, participants gave
examples of successful creative collaborations. For example, Michael Benson, a
photographer and illustrator at Kinetikon
Pictures talked about his solar system photography and Jonathan Harris,
co-creator of We Feel Fine, showed
examples of how he uses art and design in the form of information visualization
to reveal the secrets and human empathy hidden in datasets.
to Maeda, America’s ongoing focus on STEM
education and ever more advanced technology to the exclusion of other subject
areas is shortsighted. “Art and design are essential to humanizing technology,”
he points out. “You need both in order to create balance and fuel true
Summary by Dan Wieden from STEM to STEAM on Vimeo.
Bridging Stem to Steam: Developing New Frameworks for Art/Science Pedagogy
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