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SMASHfestUK: A Festival. A big story. An adventure

SMASHfestUK: A Festival. A big story. An adventure

Lindsay, Keith ORCID: 0000-0002-5324-1719 and Griffiths, Wyn (2016) SMASHfestUK: A Festival. A big story. An adventure. In: Engage 2016: Inspiring Innovation, November 29th and 20th 2016, Bristol Marriot Royal Hotel.

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Abstract

This poster was presented at the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) Conference in 2016, "Engage 2016: Inspiring Innovation". The poster discusses the SCENE methodology for public engagement, developed and created by the authors, and how it was delivered via a festival; "SMASHfestUK". The authors were awarded 1st prize by the NCCPE in the national competition for STEM engagement at this conference.

Introduction
SMASHfestUK is a new science and the arts festival, and with an explicit mission to increase diversity and widen participation in STEM and the Arts was founded in Deptford, South East London in 2015.

Following the development of a methodology coined NIDSM (Narrative and Inquiry Driven Smashfest Model)**, SMASHfestUK was developed with the purpose of identifying barriers to access for informal science education and access to and participation in the wider Arts for so called “hard to reach” audiences, including young black and minority ethnic (BME) people also (and including) young people in socio-economically deprived communities.

**NB LATER REDEVELOPED AS "SCENE" The SCENE model (STEAM-based, Community-focused, Enquiry-driven, Narrative-lead and Entertainment focused)

SMASHfestUK: the vision

“A World in which everyone holds the power to employ science and creativity for the good of humanity”.

The rationale for SMASHfestUK
SMASHfest UK tackles a critical issue in an imaginative and engaging way. Its goal is to engage young people from underserved and under-represented communities an in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) and The Arts (STEAM). This is a pressing issue: the take-up of STEM subjects in schools is declining, fewer students choose to carry STEM subjects on to tertiary level, and the workforce of qualified STEM professionals is under-resourced. Further, the workforce in STEM and in The Arts shows very little diversity; women are under-represented, as are black and minority ethnic people. The implications are serious: science and research are major contributors to the UK’s prosperity. For the UK’s economy to prosper, a highly skilled STEM is needed, as well as a citizen population that is engaged with and aware of the importance of these subjects. The case for increasing diversity in the work-force is not simply economic however. People with lower socio-economic status (SES) are under represented in most STEM subjects and careers, and this group (low SES) also includes a significant proportion of people from BME backgrounds. Therefore for both economic and social justice reasons, encouraging higher levels of engagement with STEM is critical.

“having a diverse intake leads to a more innovative and responsive STEM workforce. Moreover, as a largely publicly-funded institution, UK higher education has a responsibility to maintain fair access to all parts of society”.

SMASHfestUK is rooted in the conviction that making STEM real and fun for young people will open up possibilities that will empower their futures. The Festival provides new opportunities to introduce STEM subjects to young people aged 7 to 17 through inspiring, innovative and interactive STEM/arts experiences that appeal to their imaginations, stimulate interest and embed learning. The Festival strategically targeted those who are under-represented in STEM, including economically disadvantaged young people and BAME communities, women and girls, and young people living in poverty.

‘Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) are enabling. They enable people to make sense of the world around them, they enable people to make informed decisions, and they enable people to pursue a wealth of exciting and fruitful career opportunities. ….. For young people from relatively low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds in particular, STEM subjects can be invaluable. They can provide a means by which these young people can better engage with the modern world and take advantage of the opportunities it affords.’

Enthusing young people is especially important because ‘careers from STEM are not popular aspirations for students age 10 -14 and pupils from age 10 start to self-identify as ‘not STEM’. Teachers often have lower (stereotypical) expectations of under-represented groups in STEM.’ Several reports suggest that more must be done at school-age level, to redress the imbalance in STEM degrees/careers, and to sustain the STEM workforce.
‘The accepted response to these facts is that female, black and minority ethnic and disadvantaged young people are underrepresented in STEM study and the STEM workplace and that, if only we can enthuse / inspire / encourage these particular groups to enter STEM fields, then the skills shortfall will disappear.’

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Poster)
Uncontrolled Keywords: public, engagement, science, arts, social, community, education, pedagogy, narrative, storytelling, embodiment, disaster, ecology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities
Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities > Department of Creative Professions & Digital Arts
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2019 09:23
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: GREAT 2
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/17031

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