At Inspirefest 2015, the topic of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) kept cropping up as technologists, scientists and designers converged on the stage of the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin.

This discussion was furthered during a panel on design thinking and its application in both academia and industry, led by Ciarán ÓGaora, founder and director of Zero-G, in association with Irish Design 2015.

In this discussion, IADT director Dr Annie Doona explained how students at the institute are introduced to new perspectives on design and technology, and how a fruitful partnership with IBM has brought separate disciplines together.

Prof Susan Schreibman, national co-ordinator of DARIAH Ireland, is based at Maynooth University and has overseen practical projects working at the intersection of technology and humanities, such as the digitisation of Ireland’s 1901 and 1911 censuses.

Prof Schreibman noted how interdisciplinary work such as has a lot to do with translation, and applying different modes of thinking. ‘Designers as translators’ was a concept introduced by Swrve director Kathryn Parkes, who sees user-centred approaches catching on in business through methodologies like lean start-up.

Words by Elaine Burke