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STEAM INC kick-off meeting Amsterdam December 2019

Our kick off meeting and first partner meeting took place in early December 2019 in Amsterdam, not only was this a chance to meet the newly formed partnership for the first time, but it was an opportunity to discuss what we, as a team, mean by STEAM and bring together examples of STEAM approaches from across the European partnership. 

Each partner had a chance to present what their institution or organisation was working on related to STEAM practices.  After a lively discussion in the workshop session, our initial collection of what partners classed as key characteristics and fundamental aspects of their STEAM work were organised into seven categories:

Competencies – Paradigms – Motivation – Qualities & Characteristics – Process (methodologies etc.) – Mindset – Prerequisites. 

This was the basic structure, which enabled us to develop a working definition of STEAM in higher education. We agreed that by employing these characteristics together, STEAM creates a (mental, physical, creative) space that adds value, new perspectives and fresh thinking. Our agreed STEAM definition adopted the following format.

A Higher Education approach to STEAM (potentially) involves:

● a culture (or cultures) that puts the Arts and Sciences on an equal footing

● operating within a paradigm that is process-driven, student-centred, holistic and provides permission to fail alongside being comfortable with uncertain end-results

● being collaborative, diverse and delivered through safe spaces

● establishing a mindset of radical openness, flexibility, reflection, experimentation and curiosity

● generating qualities that promote learning, cooperation and multi-modality

● supporting practices that are transdisciplinary and emphasise prototyping and making whilst considering modes of assessment

● developing competencies of critical thinking, creativity and communication whilst investigating how these can be applied to generate solutions.

As this was our initial meeting and group discussion on the subject this outcome was not seen as ‘final’, however the partnership agreed that the working definition clearly signalled the set of baseline attributes a STEAM practitioner or process might exhibit and this would help us to develop the outputs for the project moving forward.

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