Hyunsu Yim

SMASHfestUK is back in Deptford for second time running

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SmashfestUK, a free STEM/Arts festival based in South East London exploring STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) through the arts and design, is back for the second time this year.

Featuring comedy shows, music, film,experiments and theatre, this year’s festival will be taking place from 18th to 20th February at the Albany, Deptford, South London with interesting stories to tell; a massive solar storm is forecast which wipes out our electrical and electronic infrastructure, throwing us back to the mechanical age: How will we cope without our phones, tablets and social media? How will we survive as our networks, power, transport, medical and supply chains collapse?

Solar storms-themed events will be also held alongside the main event at the Deptford Lounge library all week, including the SMASHfestUK planetarium, the Mechanical Mobile Phone Exoskeleton, a code-club, a solar exhibition, an artist’s residency and a film programme.

Created with the intention to encourage diversity in STEM fields, SmashfestUK is tackling the lack of racial diversity in science head on by bringing art-based learning of STEM to boroughs like Lewisham where black and ethnic minority students account for around 75 % of the school population.

Festival Director Dr Lindsay Keith says: “Science festivals in the UK tend to cater to people who are already engaged with science, and an audience that tends to be ‘non-diverse’. So we thought – ‘why not bring a festival to the young people of Lewisham?’

She adds; “You won’t find lectures or debates at SMASHfestUK – we’re about mass entertainment, bums on seats and science by stealth! If it’s not fun, it’s not in the schedule – simple as that.”

Art-based learning of STEM is a method backed by the likes of the National Science Foundation, which is scientifically proven to work and sometimes even beyond expectation.

Harvey Seifter, head of the NSF funded project and founder of the Art of Science Learning firm says; “We found a strong causal relationship between arts-based learning and improved creativity skills and innovation outcomes in adolescents, and between arts- based learning and increased collaborative behaviour in adults.”

For more information on SmashfestUK, visit their facebook page or follow them on twitter @SMASHfestUK

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