STEAM: Everybody deserves to share in tomorrow’s world

CNJ and Tribune publishes special edition

Monday, 4th July

steam

WHETHER we like it or not, the tech revolution is well and truly under way and changing everything we do: from the way we order food in a restaurant to hailing a cab, from working from home to learning online.

People, of course, will lament the loss of a human touch and the comforts of the past, but the force of change is so powerful now that it’s sensible to see if communities can be strengthened by science and technology, rather than weakened.

Maybe it’s possible to embrace the good and reject the bad.

Certainly, those options need to be made available to the next generation, which is why we are publishing our STEAM special today.

It’s a celebration of the inventions and advances and that have been developed here in Camden and Islington – and look out for history bubbles explaining some of the host of local breakthroughs.

But it also looks forward and pushes for more doors to be opened to all people – young and old, whatever their background.

Perhaps this is most relevant in the changing landscape of an area like King’s Cross where some of the world’s biggest tech firms are moving in.

This sometimes comes with suspicion, as if Willy Wonka factories are being built for us to peer through the gates and only wonder about the fantastical inventions being dreamed up inside.

It’s up to these companies to make sure this does not happen and a meaningful relationship is forged with the people living all around – and the New Journal and the Islington Tribune can play a connecting role.

Students at City and Islington College [CANDI]

Let us write about what is going on behind the doors of the “Knowledge Quarter” institutions.

And, put simply, let our borough’s residents be a big part of it.
Five years ago, an event of this nature was held in the Google building as Camden explained the work of its STEAM commission and the plans to

try and make links between employers and those learning new skills here in north London.

A guest speaker was the Bend It Like Beckham film director Gurinder Chadha (pictured right) who spoke eloquently about what was happening – and what potential lay ahead.

“When I was at university, there was one group that everybody said was the lowest of the low, these were the nerds, they never went to parties and were all really boring and wore glasses and very bad sweatshirts, these were the students in ‘comp’, or computers,” she said.

“In my time, we looked down on them. That’s not the case now. We’re all scratching around – and they’re big. That’s how things can change in one generation. In our world, we can’t be divided in that way any more.”
At the same event, council leader Georgia Gould Council told of what Camden could be.

“I think we are the home of innovation, we are the place where science and creativity fuse,” she said.

“But we also have deep poverty and deep inequality, and just down the road from here we have some of the poorest communities in London. One resident said to me they felt like an island in the middle of glass, and I think it’s incumbent on all of us to make sure these amazing buildings aren’t just buildings that our young people walk past on their way to school but they are buildings that they aspire to work in, that they feel part of.”

You don’t have to be in the same political party as Cllr Gould to wish for that, as the “Knowledge Quarter” and other tech hubs grow further in size and influence.

This week’s CNJ  has a supplement written by our team of journalists in a bid to show that science can be inspiring – ever tried sending a spaceship to the Sun? – and to break down the myths about who can and can’t be involved. The answer is simple: we all can.

If there is a teenager growing up in Somers Town and walking past the new developments, feeling it’s a different world, we can all work together in trying to connect the dots for them.

That’s an ambition the New Journal and Islington Tribune will carry over the coming months and years: an opportunity for everybody.

Support for our STEAM special

IF one reader picks up today’s issue and feels inspired by our STEAM special and thinks about all the possibilities that lie ahead, then we will have been on the right track.

There may be many fears about the state of the world right now and even more pressing worries about the future we are leaving for our children,

But there are also reasons for optimism about tomorrow’s world, if we push for a fair and inclusive digital revolution.

Why should anybody be left behind because they cannot afford a computer or the fastest smartphone on the market?

This is the view that motivates our coverage today and we have been able to pack so many articles into the following pages due to support of sponsors who see the importance of access to STEAM and innovation.

With their help, we have been able to strip the pages of regular advertising, allowing for more space for this debate.

We thank all of them for their support in doing this.

We’d like readers to join the debate too, and we’d love to hear your views and ideas on how to make STEAM as accessible as possible.

 

 

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