The value of instability: lessons from reviewing how and why creativity and the arts might interact with STEM education

Richard Davies, Jo Trowsdale


In late industrial economies, STEM education in schools has significant political support. In recent years interest has been shown in bringing ‘the arts’ into some integration with STEM practices; the ‘STEAM agenda’. A recent review of the STEAM literature and practices in the UK struggled with the difficulty of developing a coherent and meaningful account of the STEAM literature as a whole. This review noted that the majority of the literature was concerned with pedagogy and only to a limited extent with issues underpinning the purposes of education. In this paper we consider, through the lens of curriculum theory and use of a specific case study, three of these underpinning issues: the place of the arts, the rejection of monodisciplinarity and value of new conceptions of science. Whilst making sense of STEAM literature and practice is difficult, we argue that there is a need of a more nuanced analysis of these issues which challenges an easy political accommodation; pays attention both to educational foundations and educational practice; and promotes the need for critical and ongoing dialogue between STEM practitioners, artist, teachers and educators.

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Euro-JCS is indexed in CAPES/QUALIS (Category: Education |  Classification: B3)

ISSN: 2182-7168



Associação Portuguesa de Estudos Curriculares (NIPC: 506240061)

Instituto de Educação da Universidade do Minho, Campus de Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal

The journal is associated with the European Association of Curriculum Studies.