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Rejuvenating Art-making

26th May 5.– 5.45; 7-7.45pm - livestream event (involving launch of digital platform)

3rd June Learning Space 2, The Herbert - live event

An inventor helps a young girl create something

What will it take to continue Coventry’s tradition as a place of high quality, innovative industry? What kinds of educational experiences do Coventry’s pupils need in order to be part of this tradition, to become confident and inventive people? These are the kinds of questions that Dr. Jo Trowsdale has been exploring in her research over the past 10 years. Working with cultural organisation, Imagineer and Coventry schools this research has been investigating how to engage and develop the city’s pupils.

This is not just a Coventry problem, there is, globally, a lack of skilled, creative engineers, technologist and designers. This is despite a range of national policies and funding to improve the situation. Jo’s research takes a different perspective and focuses on how the arts, and particularly art-making, can support more pupils to see learning in STEM (sciences: technology engineering and mathematics) as relevant and appealing to them, to see careers requiring STEM skills as attractive and possible. She is part of a growing international community of researchers interested in STEAM (STEM plus the arts) or hybrid education.


She has been working with a number of world-class Coventry based socially committed cultural organisations, especially Imagineer, who have been working with engineers to make changes in how we teach out pupils. In 2012, Imagineer led ‘Godiva Awakes’ inspiring engineering companies, business organisations and the community to work together towards a series of engineering-rich cultural events. The project drew together scientific, artistic and social skills. This led to the idea of ‘The Imagineerium’, a melding together of engineers, educators and artists to develop new educational experiences for Coventry’s upper primary aged children. This project has led to others, including work with NEETS and most recently supporting teachers to develop new STEAM schemes of work.


Jo has researched a number of these projects, most significantly the five years for the Imagineerium, drawing out the key ideas and features of the initiative that contributed towards its success. Her present work, Teach-Make, explores how these features can be embedded fully into the everyday lives of schools. She has published this work in a number of academic papers, and is preparing a full length book about ‘art-making as a site for education’ based on her study of The Imagineerium.