The yearly design and innovation gala, the Open Design Cape Town Festival, will be held in conjunction with a new symposium on the way in which art, design, mathematics, science and technology can collaborate to ignite innovation.
Open Design Cape Town 2017 will run from August 13 to 20 at the Cape Town City Hall and at various locations throughout the city as part of the City Wide Activation programme from August 21 to 25.
Open Design Cape Town is set to introduce Africa’s first international STEAM Symposium. STEAM is a global movement that adds the creativity and vision of art and design thinking to the traditional STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects. The STEAM Symposium will be held at the City Hall on August 14.
The 12-day citywide festival aims to bring together an extended community of thinkers, designers, entrepreneurs, educators, students and members of the public for a series of exciting experiences, talks, workshops and exhibitions.
Open Design Cape Town, now in its fifth year, is focused on illustrating and exploring how creative solutions and sustainable design can benefit South Africa’s economy and society.
STEAM is a concept championed by the Rhode Island School of Design, in the US, under its ‘STEM to STEAM’ motto. It comprises three broad pillars: transforming research policy to place art and design at the centre of STEM learning, encouraging the integration of art and design thinking through education across all learning areas from preschool to postgraduate level, as well as influencing employers to hire artists and designers to drive innovation and add significance and meaning to their businesses.
Future global citizens will need a strong educational foundation underpinned by a creative and practical knowledge of the STEAM subjects, says Cape Peninsula University of Technology industrial designer and researcher Professor Mugendi M’Rithaa. He is also World Design Organisation president and will be one of the speakers at the symposium. “Proficiency in STEAM not only guarantees competence in a wide range of professional disciplines but also fosters an appreciation for lifelong learning, as well as a transdisciplinary and collaborative ethos in young learners.”
Among the other contributors at the symposium will be Finland-based University of Jyväskylä STEAM researcher Kristóf Fenyvesi, Aurecon innovation director Abbas Jamie, University of Cape Town School of Design Thinking founding director Richard Perez and Formula D MD Marco Rosa.
Open Design cofounder and festival and programme director Suné Stassen says the symposium will explore how value is added when art and design are integrated with STEM subjects, and how this will help lay the foundation for and develop a new generation of problem solvers, change makers and successful African social entrepreneurs.
“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 propelled their business into another dimension.”