Exploring the Design Thinking ? STEAM Nexus: Third International STEAM Conference 2022

Claudia Carter, Kathryn Burns, Charmaine Stint

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    Our central question ‘How might we realise the benefits of a STEAM curriculum through Design Thinking?’ is based on the authors’ experiences of two Erasmus+ funded projects: DT.Uni and STEAM INC. Both projects highlight the need for user- or socially relevant framing and the transformative capabilities of creative approaches to address contemporary complex challenges.

    STEAM stands for Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. In our thinking, Arts encompasses artistic, cultural and creative practices, including design. Similarly, Sciences includes not only natural sciences, but also the social and environmental sciences. STEAM has been viewed as a means of equipping workers of the future with an interdisciplinary understanding that embraces a creative approach (Catterall, 2017). Its inter-/transdisciplinary approach encourages links to policy and practice through private sector innovation projects as well as public sector programmes. Concurrently, design thinking (DT) has been gaining momentum for developing solutions to issues in areas such as health, education and business management. It is seen as a tool for addressing ‘wicked problems’ and for promoting inter-/trans-disciplinary working among students and professionals.

    Our contribution explores some commonalities and differences between DT and STEAM approaches. It critically examines their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges for use in curricular and extra-curricular activities to foster transdisciplinary activities. We also explore the progression from multi-, to inter- and trans-disciplinary ways of learning and working. Our aim is to help provide a strong methodological basis and academic grounding for a Higher Education (HE) STEAM curriculum.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 20 Oct 2022


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