ESB Creative Tech Fest gets set to celebrate young STEM talent

24 Oct 2018341 Views

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TechSpace members Ciara-Beth and Stuart before hosting Creative Tech Fest 2017. Image: TechSpace/Facebook

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The annual celebration of young people and TechSpace educators getting creative with STEM comes to Dublin in November.

On Thursday, 1 November 2018, ESB Creative Tech Fest returns to celebrate the young people and educators involved in the TechSpace programme.

Hosted in the Google Foundry building in Dublin, this annual event is open to members of the TechSpace network of 285 young people, 108 educations and 42 youth clubs, schools and organisations. Last year’s event welcomed this entire network, representing 11 counties across Ireland, while a number of partner organisations ran exhibitions and workshops.

This year will be no different, with a wide range of workshops that will allow participants to try out different sci-tech and digital media skills such as coding, photography, 3D printing, paper engineering, DNA extraction, building Microbit robots, music technology, VR storytelling and mobile journalism.

What is TechSpace?

TechSpace is a not-for-profit consortium hosted and managed by Camara. The group’s mission is to inspire young people to be more than just technology consumers, and to become tomorrow’s digital creators, inventors and makers. They achieve this by training and supporting educators so they can introduce STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) activities and digital creativity to their youth education and development programmes.

For example, the STEM in Youth Work initiative of the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) is part of the TechSpace network. Through its Maker Project, 112 youth workers have been trained and an estimated 2,000 young people have been given the chance to learn STEM in new and fun ways outside of the school curriculum.

“We are particularly pleased that young people who previously may have been considered as being less likely to engage with STEM or take up further education and careers in STEM are being reached through this project,” said NYCI director Mary Cunningham at last year’s Creative Tech Fest.

“It is through events like this that we introduce young people to the wide-ranging opportunities in the tech sector and encourage them to consider future careers in STEM,” said Dr Ruth Freeman from Science Foundation Ireland, which funds the Maker Project.

Event sponsor ESB recently announced plans to fund a number of STEAM (which blends STEM and the arts) initiatives as part of a €7.5m programme called Generation Tomorrow, driven by research into how parents value play in education. This investment will be spread across the next five years and will work with a number of partners, including Camara Ireland’s TechSpace.

What’s happening at Creative Tech Fest?

The event will start with a tour of the digital creativity and STEM workshops led by young TechSpace ambassadors, followed by an exhibition from various TechSpace organisations.

Creative Tech Fest will also host two guest speakers – 18-year-old scientist and entrepreneur Ciara Judge and ‘The Juggling Scientist’ James Soper – and there will be music performances from trad-pop group Tógra and electronic music producer Daithí.

To close out the day, there will be a closing ceremony and presenting of digital media awards in photography, videography, design and sound production, as well as awards from NYCI STEM in Youth Work and CS @ Foróige, and Irish language awards from Clár TechSpace and Bliain na Gaeilge. There will also be overall awards presented to the ESB TechSpacer of the Year and ESB TechSpace Educator of the Year.

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Elaine Burke is managing editor of Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com