Adviser and researcher on the development of the education strand of The Imagineerium, an innovative STEAM (Science, technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) education model formed from an arts-industry-education-community partnership. The project, led by cultural production company Imagineer, grew following the company’s journey in partnership with local mechanical and technological engineering companies to create a mechanised 6 metre tall 21st century Godiva.
2014 A pilot project with 75 children in 3 Coventry primary schools commissioned the 9-10 year olds to work as ‘Imagineers’ and engage in arts-rich, experiential and embodied practices alongside professional makers: artists, engineers, technologists. The process was documented in a slideshow. A research and evaluation report highlighted its potential to motivate STEM learning (STEAM) and develop positive attitudes towards engineering sciences and making in future career choices. (Funded by Arts Connect West Midlands, IET, Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Partnership, Shaws Engineering, Imagineering technologies)
2015 An adapted model targeted at young adults aged 16-25 who were not in education, employment, training or school (NEETS) and again proved highly successful. 90% of the young people involved became engaged with some form of employment, education or training during or following this experience, which they attributed to the project. (Funded by BIS, Talentmatch)
2015-6 Following interest stimulated by the pilot project, 5 Coventry primary schools worked with Imagineerium professionals to pilot a more sustainable model of this STEAM education initiative. Through a CPD programme supported by Imagineer Productions, Imagineer Technologies, University of Warwick and Samphire STEM, teachers were supported to lead and co-deliver more bespoke practice addressing Science, Maths, Design Technology and Arts curriculum needs in creative ways. The 150 children involved in the current model imagined, designed and made moving animated Boggis, Bunce and Bean ‘machines’ for a 2017 outdoor performance of Fantastic Mr Fox. Their designs were exhibited and demonstrated in Coventry in July 2016 and October 2016 and will inform a performance planned for 2018.
2017 – 2021 As a result of a ‘More and Better’ arts-based learning, funding award from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The Imagineerium Initiative is being developed across the city. Artists, engineers and teachers are working together to support Young Imagineers to design ‘Marvellous Mechanical Machines’ – interactive, site-specific ‘milestones’ on a cycle trail within a new heritage park in Coventry. Each machine articulates an aspect of a moment of local history that the children identify as important. The first two design ideas from 2017 were selected by a team of local, national and international artists, makers and developers on 26th September 2017. A mixed method approach to research is being piloted to investigate the impact of this model of learning.