Reviewing the potential and challenges of developing STEAM education through creative pedagogies for 21st learning: how can school curricula be broadened towards a more responsive, dynamic and inclusive form of education?


This project is part of a major initiative launched by the British Educational Research Association with the aim to identify and address issues of current importance to the study and practice of education. The Commissions’ findings will provide both theoretical rigour and an evidence base that can help set the strategic direction and aspirations of BERA and influence how it engages with other learned societies, Research Councils, Government and the education community more broadly (for more details see:


Reviewing the potential and challenges of developing STEAM education…

The profound transformations affecting societies, the environment and knowledge systems as a whole, together with increasing complexity and uncertainty of current problems, are challenging conventional ideas of what counts as relevant scientific - and more broadly - disciplinary knowledge.  The focus of the commission is to explore, analyze and collate new understandings of science, how these relate and interface with changes in education and how this might enrich current debates in education.

This one-year project will look at the innovative potential of introducing the Arts in the teaching of Science, Technology, and Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects. The project is led by the University of Aberdeen (Dr. Laura Colucci-Gray and Dr. Donald Gray) in collaboration with a core team of colleagues from the University of Cambridge (Prof. Pam Burnard), University of Warwick (Ms. Jo Trowsdale) and University of Aberystwyth (Dr. Richard Davies).

Throughout the course of the project participants will review existing work in STEM education with a particular focus on issues of engagement of pupils taking account of gender issues, cultural backgrounds and languages. In addition, it will explore new forms of education taking place in partnership contexts and aiming at engaging society and the collective imagination for a re-visioning of sustainable futures.

Four seminars will be organised through the year involving a range of different partners.

Seminar 1 - Aberdeen (18th February 2016).

Reviewing subjects, contexts and identities in science and technology. Understanding “making” as learning across the arts and the sciences 

Contributions from Tim Ingold, Donald Gray, Sibel Erduran and Geraldine Mooney-Simmie. Provocations by Jan Van Boeckel. Facilitated by Laura Colucci-Gray.


Seminar 2 - Cambridge (15th April 2016)  

The focus of the Cambridge forum will be on the pathologies of stuck mindsets, subject silos, and issues of inclusion and gender around STEM - to - STEAM subject learning.  Conbributions by Invited Speakers Patricia Murphy, Yvette Solomon and Liz Whitelegg along with STEAM facilitators and science, maths and design educators across diverse education sectors.  Facilitation by Pam Burnard and Susan Steward. 


Seminar 3 - Warwick 14th July 2016 

Partnership across the arts and sciences involving schools, industry and community: The Imagineerium project (Warwick); CREATIONS; (Exeter). Contributions from Pat Thomson, Kerry Chappell  / Lindsay Hetherington, Rebecca Cain / Antonis Micheledis, Gaynor Sharp, Jane Hytch, teachers. Facilitated by Jo Trowsdale.


Seminar 4 - Aberystwyth (TBC).

STEAM in rural, disadvantaged contexts. Using arts-based methodologies to engage communities in the production of new knowledge and identities.  Contribution from Gabrielle Ivinson, facilitation by Richard Davies.

Ongoing Updates on our blog:

Further Results will be presented at the BERA Annual Conference to be held in Leeds in 2016


Other partners include: