Mar 07 2024 Posted: 09:00 GMT

In a rapidly changing world, educational expectations are evolving at an unprecedented pace, and the need for a new approach to learning has become essential. To that end, CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at the University of Galway, along with 12 other partners, are part of a new Horizon-funded EU project entitled STEAM Learning Ecologies (SLE), which aims to develop open schooling models in community settings.

13 pilot Steam Learning Ecology (SLE) projects have occurred across Europe in 2023/4. CÚRAM is the national coordinator for Ireland's project entitled - Intertwined- Mosaics of the Community Brain - a collaboration between CÚRAM, Ballybane Library, Galway Community College and artist Alison Mac Cormaic. This project aims to drive policy change in science education on a national and European level and to that end, the projects were presented in EU parliament in January 2024.

‘Intertwined’ was launched on Thursday March 14th during National Brain Awareness Week by Deputy Mayor, Councillor Donal Lyons. The mosaic was developed through a co-creative approach with library staff and students learning side by side and included workshops at Superhuman, CÚRAM's medtech exhibition housed in Galway City Museum, as well as the Centre for Microscopy and Imaging in the University of Galway and in the School of History and Philosophy.

The theme of the mosaic and the programme was that of exploring perceptions and different viewpoints – looking at the same thing from far away and up close and how those viewpoints can inform attitudes and opinions. The library wished to rebuild a connection with their teenage audience post-pandemic and this science-based workshop enabled that. The mosaic will take up permanent residence in the library’s newly refurbished Maker’s Space and is open to the public to view.

Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, said: "CÚRAM is delighted to join the Horizon-funded EU project STEAM Learning Ecologies as a national coordinator for Ireland. Our public engagement programme, notably our Art and science residency, is vital to our research centre's commitment to engaging diverse audiences. It is significant for us that this new project  - Intertwined- with Ballybane Library, Galway Community College and artist Alison Mac Cormaic is operating on a European scale
and working towards creating new science education models."

Lisa Martyn, Manager of Ballybane Library, commented, "The staff of Ballybane Library are delighted with this unique opportunity to connect with Galway Community College transition year students. By collaborating with CÚRAM and the library staff, the Galway Community College students, through the medium of art, under the excellent guidance of Alison Mac Cormaic,  are taking ownership of their local library and leaving an eternal footprint in the shape of the resulting artwork, a mosaic to enhance the walls of our Maker Space."

Olive Flynn, TY Coordinator for Galway Community College, said, "This collaboration is an amazing opportunity for the students of Galway Community College. It has encouraged them to become active participants in the local community while rebuilding their relationship with the Ballybane Library and utilising the Makers Space to its full potential. It has afforded the students the opportunity to gain exposure to an environment where the artistic and scientific communities synergise to co-create a mosaic for the entire community to enjoy. The project has allowed the students to improve communication, teamwork and critical thinking skills in a fun and creative way." #STEAMecologies

Funded by the European Union’s Horizon programme under grant agreement No. 101094648.



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