Local has head on Steam

2017-08-08 06:01

A Tokai resident is a driving force behind a movement to encourage the use of art and design thinking in education.

Suné Stassen is the co-founder and festival and programme director of Open Design. The annual Open Design Cape Town Festival includes a symposium on how art, design, maths, science and technology go hand in hand to ignite innovation.

The movement has three broad pillars: To transform research policy to place art and design at the centre of science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) learning, to encourage the integration of art and design thinking into education across all learning areas (from kindergarten to graduate-degree level) and to influence employers to hire artists and designers to drive innovation and add meaning to their ­businesses.

Stassen says the symposium will explore how art and design add value to teaching Stem subjects, and how this will help develop problem solvers, change makers and successful social entrepreneurs.

“This is going to be an exciting event for anyone who believes it is possible to design a greater future for our country and continent. The programme is specially designed to not only include a focus on education, but also a wide array of industry experts who will testify how the integration of creative and design thinking skills leapfrogged their business into another dimension,” says Stassen.

“In order to empower our children with much-needed 21st-century skills we urgently need real systemic change. We need to redesign our education system so that the youth and future generations can confidently participate in, and add value to, the economy and our society at large.”

It will be Africa’s first international Steam symposium when the festival returns this month. Steam is a global movement that adds the creativity and vision of art and design thinking to the traditional Stem subjects.

The festival will take place from Sunday 13 to Saturday 20 August at City Hall in the CBD and at various locations throughout the city from Sunday 21 to Friday 25 August. The symposium will be held at City Hall on Monday 14 August. The festival will bring together an extended community of thinkers, designers, entrepreneurs, educators, students and members of the public for a series of experiences, talks, workshops, exhibitions and more. Open Design Cape Town, now in its fifth year, aims to illustrate and explore how creative solutions and sustainable design can benefit South Africa’s economy and society.

Prof Mugendi K M’Rithaa, an industrial designer and researcher at CPUT, president of the World Design Organisation and one of the speakers at the symposium, says future global citizens will need a strong educational foundation underpinned by a creative and practical knowledge of the Steam subjects.

Other contributors at the symposium include Kristóf Fenyvesi, a Steam researcher in Finland, Abbas Jamie, director of innovation in Africa at engineering firm Aurecon, Richard Perez, founding director of the UCT School of Design Thinking, and Marco Rosa, managing director of Formula D.

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