Wigan S.T.E.A.M is strategically designed in response to an education system and social structures that are failing to provide learning opportunities, enriching social spaces, and collaborative working environments that children, young people and adults need in order to lead rich, fulfilling and empowered lives. Built on the 7 C’s of learning developed by Guy Claxton and Bill Lucas – confidence, curiosity, collaboration, communication, creativity, commitment and craftsmanship – this project is an intervention that will equip people with the creative resilience and digital capacities to navigate the workplaces of the future with confidence and competence, and to have the critical thinking skills to adapt, respond and innovate throughout their lives.
Lizzie Griffiths, co-founder of Wigan S.T.E.A.M is passionate about providing these types of opportunities for people in Borough and beyond:
We were concerned about the lack of opportunities in the Borough for people to get involved with cutting-edge activities, to network, meet, and connect with other people with similar interests, and to access high-quality, innovative cultural events and exhibits, so we decided we’d start programming our own activities as a response to this issue.
Underpinning this vision is the fact that STEM industries (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) are the sectors that are growing within national and international contexts, yet access to such careers are not as open or as equal as they should be. In order to counteract this, Wigan S.T.E.A.M bring Arts into the equation, using creative practices as a way of breaking down barriers to STEM education and support the people we work with to open doors into new opportunities. As co-founder, Hayley Trowbridge explains:
What we’re trying to do here is supporting the development of the next wave of digital, creative and cultural innovators. We’re investing a lot of our attention into the STEM subjects because they are the subjects future industries will rely on, but we are using the Arts as a hook into these worlds and using creativity as a way of developing problem-solving skills and new ways of thinking.
Wigan S.T.E.A.M will offer people meaningful learning opportunities, work placements and mentoring, as well as an annual S.T.E.A.MFest, one-off workshops and specific creative and heritage-based projects, a programme of cultural events and exhibits, and flexible learning and maker spaces for the wider community to access. The project is based largely at The Creative Hub, Library St, Wigan, but our S.T.E.A.M Pods will be popping up in community settings across the Borough!