STEAMworks recently celebrated the launch of the new Lithgow Valley Science Hub with a celebration at The Foundations in Portland. Community members from the region came together with politicians, educators and leading scientists to celebrate the potential of the latest regional NSW science engagement network to showcase the wonders of science.
With funding awarded to STEAMworks under the Australian Government’s Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants Program as well as a year round program grant from Inspiring Australia NSW, STEAMworks will lead the establishment of a new Lithgow Valley Regional Science Hub. A 2- year program of science, technology and arts engagement events will rebuild educational and economic resilience in the region.
About the celebrations
After a warm welcome to Wiradjuri Country by elder Aunty Sharon from Mingaan Wiradjuri Aboriginal Corporation, guest speakers included the Honourable Andrew Gee MP, Member for Calare, NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer, Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte, Jackie Randles, Inspiring Australia NSW and Artist in Residence Harrie Fasher.
Other guests included a wide representation from local community groups, artists, education organisations and industry including Lithgow City Council’s Mayor Maree Statham, Deputy Mayor Cr Cassandra Coleman and fellow councillors, Cr O’Connor, Cr McGhie and Cr Bryce.
Local Australian surreal artist Le Grizz was on hand to encourage guests to add their artistic element to an interactive STEAMworks mural. The mural captured the energy and excitement in the room through each individual’s contribution and will be installed locally.
A local musician performed while local beekeepers offered honey samples, and vegan caterers, Secret Creek provided delicious, locally produced food.
On the horizon
Working closely with the local community and other like-minded stakeholders, STEAMworks will deliver practical science workshops and community events to educate and inspire students, transitioning workers, community groups, local businesses and tourists. The aim is to empower people living in the Lithgow region to be job-ready for disaster resilient careers in healthcare, technology, art and science.
Project Lead and Science Educator, Luke Steller said that the project addresses real community need for STEAM engagement and job creation in the Lithgow Valley region.
“We are thrilled to have been awarded the funding from the Australian Federal Government and also Inspiring NSW. Our team are excited to create some unique events and educational opportunities for the local community, bringing together educators and stakeholders from all over the region,” he said.
The Foundations Re-activation Manager, Rich Evans said that realising the dream to create a STEAM education offering locally is really exciting.
“We would like to acknowledge and thank the Australian and NSW Governments for their continuing support, not only to affected communities as they recover from the devastating 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires, but also for them to connect science to the community.”
“It is fantastic that they are recognising groups such as STEAMworks who can facilitate a variety of STEAM-based initiatives and events and contributing to economic recovery and building community resilience.”
STEAMworks is a registered, not-for-profit, independent body that is developing and delivering STEAM initiatives in the Lithgow region. It was created by The Foundations to inspire and empower young people in the Lithgow Valley region to experience education, events and career opportunities not commonly or widely offered in regional areas of Australia.
Focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths and Medicine (or STEAM), STEAMworks draws on the rich industrial and cultural heritage of the Lithgow Valley region and will bring industry and students together to offer opportunities of hands-on learning and to develop skills in real-world applications.
The overall objective is to inspire innovation in community members with a passion for science, technology, engineering, arts, maths and medicine. STEAMworks
Supported by project partner, The Foundations Portland, STEAMworks has the capacity and resources to deliver these events, demonstrated through an excellent track record of facilitating STEAM education and community engagement projects in the Lithgow Valley region.
The Lithgow Valley Science Hub is supported by Inspiring Australia NSW. Learn more at STEAMworks