“STEAM is a movement championed by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and widely adopted by institutions, corporations and individuals.” — stemtosteam.org. This project is a student-initiated response to learning about the STEM to STEAM initiative (“STEM + art = STEAM”). It highlights and promotes the initiative, imagining a way to expand awareness of STEAM beyond its founding community into other STEM-biased university and public cultures in order to build momentum and understanding of the significant, added value of art and design in education. The hypothetical promotional/awareness campaign features a unique, art-centric, large-format poster series highlighting the creative perspectives of historically significant, iconic figures from each of the respective STEAM disciplines to add personality and a historical context to the subject. The posters tie into an app concept that would provide background information, details about the initiative, and ways to participate in and support it.
The project incorporates a smartphone concept that supplements the printed posters, which would be in physical, public spaces. QR codes included in the posters would facilitate digital access to more information as well as widespread, viral spreading of the campaign message, eliminating the need for greater consumption of natural resources in the form of brochures and other print material that would otherwise try do the same.
By putting the message directly in front of people in the form of large-format posters in an intriguing, systematic, visual delivery, and by offering ease of access to more information through widely popular smartphone use, it has the ability to have significant reach. It also personalizes the STEM topic by featuring images of and words by familiar, universally-accepted leaders of the respective STEM/STEAM disciplines.
This project promotes a healthy economy by attempting to change rigid, STEM-focused mindsets in education by offering perspective on the contributions that artistic/creative study has on innovation in STEM discipline categories, potentially spurring bigger, long-term, and more widespread financial gains for many people and organizations.
This project compels people by offering visual and textual content that is: human/relatable; substantiated through specific, iconic examples and quotes; and is immediately engaging because of the campaign’s artfulness. The net effect of the campaign is that it’s hard to argue against the proposed STEAM initiative because it points to STEM-based figures who exemplify the innovative gains possible through deep and strong understanding of art, creativity, and imagination.
With an emphasis being placed on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subjects both in the K-12 curriculum and in higher education, a sense of momentum is lacking, as well as an exclusion of creativity and the arts. Initiated by the Rhode Island School of Design, STEM to STEAM adds Art and Design into this equation and brings creativity back into a level playing field. Businesses seeking innovation are not only looking for those who excel in the STEM subjects, but also for those with new ideas and creativity. With a progressing lack of funding for the arts in education, STEM to STEAM can play a major role in fixing this funding problem.
The design strategy for this project was to visualize STEAM in a way that was both approachable and engaging. By putting a historical face to each subject, inspiration, learning, and wonder can occur for younger students who are still deciding their futures. Using QR codes on each poster invites audiences to dive further into each STEAM subject, and gives them the opportunity to help the STEM to STEAM initiative as well as increase funding for the arts in education.