A call to arts: Julian Hall

The founder of Ultra Education is the sixth and final expert in our series exploring how best to connect STEM and the arts

In your opinion, is the connection between STEM and the arts still important?

Very much so, in fact it’s my opinion that creative arts are central to getting the most out of STEM. The application of STEM, be it in the workplace or business and entrepreneurship, require a creative approach to developing solutions. The creative arts foster this way of thinking so I view it as essential.

Do you think the connection between STEM and the arts is more important in a school or university setting, or is it the same across the board?

I think it’s the same across the board, but as students get older the connection between creativity and everything else becomes lost. Primary schools are much better at keeping students creative, whereas universities tend to foster students who are so compliant that they’re almost afraid to be creative and think outside of the box.

Have you seen any particular developments in the STEAM arena over the last 12 months?

Sage have been talking about launching a series of AI events for young people run in partnership with the charity Tech for Life. This is great because still in 2018, the majority of young people do not connect themselves to tech-related jobs or indeed the creative industries given the cuts in creative arts across education. AI isn’t just about tech – it’s going to be about the creative application of that tech which is very exciting. 

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“There’s a need to address situations where young people who are strong in sciences are positively discouraged from considering arts to complement to other qualifications so early on in their education.”

Is technology playing an important role in STEAM, and if so how?

Yes, NESTA are a big innovation foundation who want to ‘fix the pipeline for STEAM talent in the creative economy’. According to them, employers are crying out for talent with a mix of arts and science knowledge. 

Do you have any examples of education providers that are emphasizing the connection between STEM and the arts particularly well?

Yes – there’s Hudson Valley Seed who bring vegetable gardens to schools with reading lessons, maths problems, and science instruction. Also Jason Teal’s non-profit Change the Play works to foster entrepreneurial development in at-risk and gifted youths.

How can education providers continue to ensure that the connection between STEM and the arts is emphasised for today’s students?

It’s about increasing the visibility that creative disciplines have among the metrics used to rank schools. They need to recognise creativity as a cross-cutting theme that should inform all subject areas and improve the visibility of the arts. Lastly, there’s a need to address situations where young people who are strong in sciences are positively discouraged from considering arts to complement to other qualifications so early on in their education. 

Ultra Education: julianhall.co.uk

 

 

 

 

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