Researchers from CONFIRM, the Science Foundation Ireland funded research centre for smart manufacturing based in UL have been working alongside students from Technological University of the Shannon (formerly LIT) Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD) on a unique project that aims to make STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Maths) research more accessible to the public.
The ED-smART project, conceived by CONFIRM as part of its Education and Public Engagement programme is funded by Science Foundation Ireland under the Science Week 2021 umbrella.
Artists working on the project will each create a work of art representing an element of CONFIRM’s research in collaboration with experts from CONFIRM. Topics explored for this project include Artificial Intelligence, Wearable Technology, the Future of Work, Wireless Networks and Cybersecurity.
Sean O Brien, Education & Public Engagement (EPE) Manager at CONFIRM and project lead for ED-smART project says “There is a perceived gap between STEM research and the public, with people often thinking that very technical elements are beyond their understanding or have no real impact on their daily lives. Our EPE programme addresses this issue and facilitates connections to and engagement with STEM research for stakeholders outside of academia”
The EPE programme at CONFIRM seeks to create opportunities for the public and other stakeholders to learn more about the impact of research on society as whole and to engage with and voice their opinions when it comes to STEM research in Ireland. This is achieved through a broad range of activities delivered by CONFIRM researchers nationally.
Sean continues “We are delighted to be working with students from LSAD to deliver this project. The arts are a fantastic medium for engaging audiences that may not necessarily attend purely STEM focused events such as public lectures or workshops. The aim of this project is to use the arts and the artist’s interpretation of our research to stimulate discussion around the various topics portrayed in the exhibition.”
Prof. Conor McCarthy, Director of the CONFIRM Centre adds, “At CONFIRM, we see engaging with the public as one of our key missions and actively facilities this through our EPE programme. Being located in Limerick and with TUS being one of the Centre’s research partners we are very lucky to have access to such a diverse range of skill sets and expertise. One of CONFIRM’s goals is to create a community of practice, bringing together a range of stakeholders, including the public, to collaboratively discuss the challenges and opportunities of the 4th Industrial revolution (Industry 4.0). This project brings together two communities that would not necessarily collaborate on a regular basis and, having seen some of the work produced so far, demonstrates the power that this type of collaborative effort can have.”
The exhibition will be open to the public on Saturday, November 13, and Sunday, November 14, between 12pm and 3pm. Entry is free, however, bookings must be made in advance via the Hunt Museum.
For more events happening in Limerick as part of Science Week 2021, check out the Limerick Festival of Science which runs from November 7 to 14.
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