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Gamer, Elissa Harris

Girls go full STEAM ahead at the WAG

News Article Date: 
Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Warrnambool Art Gallery (WAG) will launch a new digital art program to give girls the skills and confidence to forge careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and maths.

A $50,000 grant towards The Girls are Full STEAM Ahead program was announced by member for Western Victoria, Gayle Tierney, through Creative Victoria’s Engaging Audiences program, which supports council-owned galleries and performing arts centres to deepen engagement with their communities and grow their audiences.

“This is an exciting project that demonstrates the role creativity can play in education, in helping to build confidence and in preparing young people to be the creative and business leaders of the future,” Ms Tierney said.

“We’re proud to support this forward-thinking program that also shows how the Warrnambool Art Gallery team is thinking outside the box about the role creativity can play in all of our lives.” 

The Girls Are Full STEAM Ahead will see the WAG team working with young people and digital educators to create a program that will help female identifying students to overcome barriers and prepare them for the jobs of the future.

Recent statistics released by Google show that in 2016 only three percent of applicants for university science, engineering, technology and maths subjects were women, whereas 75 percent of future jobs will require these skills.

The Girls Are Full STEAM Ahead program seeks to counter this trend.

WAG Director Vanessa Gerrans said that the program would use art and creativity to challenge the prevailing perception of many girls that science, technology, engineering and maths are not for them.

“Through the application of technology in an arts institution and the development of an extensive program of events, activities, exhibitions and outreach programs, WAG will engage with female-identifying students in south-west Victoria on this important topic,” she said.

“The Girls Are Full STEAM Ahead program will empower girls from across the region by giving them the knowledge and experience to become the next generation of digital and multimedia artists, technical professionals and entrepreneurs.”

The WAG team will partner with leading technology educators including the Melbourne-based Geek Girl Academy and Academy of Interactive Entertainment along with Robotics Academy Warrnambool, which has a history of delivering successful robotics workshops at WAG to local students.

Participants will learn skills in digital and 3D printed jewellery design, coding, animation, game development, film visual effects and entrepreneurship. They will create digital artworks that will be shared with the community via an exhibition on the digital display wall outside the gallery.

Professional development programs will also be offered to local educators about the ways STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) learning can be integrated into all areas of the curriculum.

The program will coincide with WAG’s current exhibition Once Women Won the Vote, which celebrates the contributions of women to society, and the upcoming Code Breakers: Women in Games exhibition created by ACMI, which showcases the achievements of women in the games industry.

This latest Engaging Audiences grant for Warrnambool Art Gallery builds on the government’s ongoing investment in the gallery of $100,000 a year, supporting its annual operations and programming.

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