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DkIT Participate in International STEAM Week in Belgium

26 November 2018

Three DkIT lecturers are travelling to Antwerp this week (26th to 30th November 2018), to participate in the 2018 International STEAM week being hosted by Artesis Plantijn University College Antwerp. The central theme during this year’s STEAM week will be ‘climate’ and DkIT’s team will bring a special focus on pollinators, developed as part of research projects at DkIT over the past twelve months.

Dr Daithí Kearney and Richard Price from the Department of Creative Arts, Media and Music and Dr Bridget Kelly from the Department of Life and Health Sciences are travelling to Belgium to be part of the fourth edition of AP’s ‘International STEAM Week’. It follows last years’ very successful editions in which educational partners from Norway (Western Norway University of Applied Sciences), Ireland (Dundalk Institute of Technology), The Netherlands (Stenden University of Applied Sciences, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, HZ University of Applied Sciences, Iselinge University of Applied Sciences), Portugal (Curso de Música Silva Monteiro), Slovenia (University of Maribor), Spain (Mondragon University and University of Granada), UK (Birmingham City University) and Turkey (Hacettepe University) were involved. Different student groups totalling around 150 individuals will join this International STEAM Week during which the working language will be English.

STEAM seeks to integrate learning and research in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics and researchers from DkIT have been working on specific intellectual outputs that will inform and enhance future educational practices in this area. For International STEAM week 2019, the lecturers will utilise research developed as part of Summer Undergraduate Research Projects funded by the DkIT Research Office in 2017 and 2018. These projects provide valuable experiences for young researchers to engage with research during the summer months that may inform their future careers or provide a stepping stone to postgraduate research.

Speaking about preparations for this year’s event, Science lecturer Dr Bridget Kelly notes:

Climate change has had a huge impact on pollinators and we can recognize this impact all around us. Taking various examples of pollinators in everyday life, we can consider the role of pollinators primarily through science and arts in this workshop. The workshop will include experiences of art inspired by pollinators, their soundscape and the results of their work. Other activities include making a pollinator and greenhouse and exploring the science and technology behind how these work.”

Bridget has recently led a series of workshops with Primary Schools in Louth and beyond as part of this year’s Science Week (12th to 17th November), involving a number of students and graduates from DkIT.

Members of the DkIT team will also participate in a meeting of the Strategic Partnership: Agents for Change in Education while in Antwerp. This is an Erasmus+ funded project with partners from Belgium, Holland, Ireland, Norway, Portugal and Wales, including DkIT. Researchers from the Department and the Creative Arts Research Centre have been collaborating with colleagues from Western Norway University of Applied Sciences for over six years on Erasmus+ funded projects and the partnership has been very fruitful. They are working towards a major international conference on STEAM education to be held in Porto in March 2019.

Speaking about the SPACE partnership, Head of the Department of Creative Arts, Media and Music, Dr Adèle Commins, who initiated the international partnership comments:

DkIT have been pioneers in STEAM education in Ireland over the past number of years. We established links with international partners as part of an Erasmus+ funded programme (2012-2015) that explored Creative and Aesthetic Learning. This was further developed in an Erasmus+ STEAM focused project (2016-2019). These projects have led to a number of research presentations at academic conferences at other forums including the European Scholarship of Learning and Teaching Conference (UCC, 2016), Society for Music Education in Ireland Conference (CIT, 2016; DkIT, 2017), and the HEA Internationalisation Conference at Dublin Castle (2017). Alongside these European projects, the Institute has facilitated STEAM projects as part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Programme funded by the DkIT Research Office in 2017 and 2018.”

International collaborations have led to very exciting opportunities for students across a range of disciplines at DkIT. As well as participating in transnational projects in Norway and Belgium in recent years, and hosting visiting lecturers and students in Dundalk, researchers from DkIT had the opportunity to visit the European Space Agency centre ESTEC in Holland in 2017. Following this, DkIT became participants in the 2017 Global Science Opera Moon Village with collaborators from 27 different countries including the European Space Agency (ESTEC).

Commenting on the project, Dr Daithí Kearney, co-director of the Creative Arts Research Centre at DkIT, noted:

The Global Science Opera provided us with an opportunity to expand our teaching and learning beyond both the classroom and the discipline of music. We engaged with ideas and knowledge about space exploration and also worked with collaborators from RehabCare in Dundalk. In addition to our contribution to the Global Science Opera, we hosted our own special night of songs from the project at DkIT, Space for Everyone.”

Lecturers, researchers and students from across the Institute are engaged in continuing research in the development of STEAM and it has become part of both the DkIT Strategy and the Research Strategy of the Institute. Researchers from DkIT are collaborating with a team of international partners for a conference to be held in Portugal in March 2019, which will also involve students from DkIT who will present on their experiences of STEAM in both Irish and international contexts.


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