Rhode Island School of Design Launches STEAM Map to Demonstrate Global Activity and Support for the Movement

May 7, 2014

PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is launching a new STEAM Map today during an industry briefing being held on Capitol Hill in collaboration with US House STEAM Caucus Co-Chairs Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Aaron Schock (R-IL). This innovative mapping tool visualizes STEAM activity worldwide to enable advocates, practitioners and followers of this movement to connect with each other, share best practices and show decision makers the impact and relevancy of art and design. The STEAM Map, which can be viewed globally or as locally as individual Congressional districts, can be found at map.stemtosteam.org.

A movement championed by RISD, STEAM calls for adding art and design to the national STEM agenda (STEM + A = STEAM) to develop a comprehensive educational model that will better prepare future generations to compete in the 21st century innovation economy. RISD’s advocacy of STEAM is spurring a growing conversation about how innovation and creativity – essential qualities nurtured by an art and design education and highly valued by employers – are what the US needs urgently to foster economic growth and competitiveness in the years ahead.

With the creation of the STEAM Map, individuals and organizations involved in the movement can add themselves to the online tool as a means of sharing their ideas, activities and successes in this arena, connecting with others and showing decision makers the impact of and support for STEAM worldwide. RISD is launching the tool with the aim of helping to facilitate and accelerate the growing STEAM movement.

“RISD is proud of our STEAM initiative’s continued momentum and growth, and its development into a broad national conversation on educational innovation and global competitiveness,” notes RISD’s interim President Rosanne Somerson. “The STEAM Map is a valuable tool in making that work visible and open to all. I'm confident it will help STEAM continue to spread and have lasting impact on our schools and national economy. We thank Congresswoman Bonamici, Congressman Schock and the entire STEAM Caucus for their support.”

In addition to introducing the STEAM Map, today’s Congressional STEAM Caucus industry briefing will focus on creativity in the workforce and the problem-solving and critical thinking skills required for success in a changing global economy.

The briefing agenda includes remarks from Bonamici and Schock, followed by a panel discussion led by Somerson with representatives from The Boeing Company, Intel and Lockheed Martin.

RISD last co-hosted a Capitol Hill briefing when the Congressional STEAM Caucus launched in February 2013. The bipartisan caucus is dedicated to furthering the incorporation of art and design into STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). In addition to Bonamici and Schock, the Caucus includes Rhode Island Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI) and Jim Langevin (D-RI), along with elected officials from 25 states, plus Guam and DC. At the start of last year’s Congressional session, Representative Langevin introduced House Resolution 51, which posits that “adding art and design” to STEM fields “encourages innovation and economic growth in the US.”

“To keep up with the evolving economy, we must expand our emphasis beyond math and science. Pairing the analytical nature of STEM with the creative potential of art or music will enable our students to push boundaries and challenge the status quo,” Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici said. “A well-rounded education leads to a workforce of adaptive, creative thinkers who will help us compete in a global marketplace.”

“It’s clear that the STEM disciplines will continue to be the engine of America’s innovation economy, but the jobs of the future will require far more than mere proficiency in these areas,” said Congressman Aaron Schock. “STEAM harnesses the synergy between the arts and STEM to raise student achievement and produce graduates with the skills industry identifies as vital in new hires, including collaboration, trial and error, divergent thinking skills, and dynamic problem solving.”

For more information visit stemtosteam.org or risd.edu. STEAM is also on Twitter at @stemtosteam and you can join the map conversation using #risdsteammap