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Strategic Programme Manager for STEAMhouse Jan Gilder reveals what’s on the horizon for this new £70m Birmingham City University (BCU) facility and why the STEAMhouse community should get involved in making things happen in a new way…
We have entered 2022 and there is a lot to look forward to. For instance, we will finally be able to access the new STEAMhouse facility from April.
The building has had to overcome a number of challenges. For starters, the location – Belmont Works – lay derelict for many years after being gutted by a fire. Not only that, but redeveloping it with the new STEAMhouse building took place throughout a global pandemic.
Its opening will be a significant milestone, achieved with the help of our construction partners, including Bowmer and Kirkland, as well as BCU’s Estates and IT teams.
These colleagues have built a new facility that we can add our finishing touches to under difficult circumstances; often while having to work remotely. This is something to be very proud of.
STEAMhouse will be a place for learning, a place for students, graduates, staff, entrepreneurs and small businesses to flourish.
We hope that with the support of the BCU community, the facility can draw on different experiences to bring together commercial, industry, academic, student, artists, and SME members to prototype and make things happen in a new way.
It will house workshops, teaching space, training and meeting rooms, demonstration areas, project space, business accommodation, a business incubator and digital enabling support, making it accessible to a developing community of STEAM practice that is open to collaboration, exploration, conversation, newness and radical openness across disciplines.
It is a place for the curious, the creative, the problem-solver. It is a space for those who get a kick out of developing ideas in response to global challenges, including those with a social purpose who want to create impactful new products, services and programmes.
It is hard to appreciate the majesty of our new facility, and fully comprehend being a part of it, without first visiting the building.
Therefore, once we are open, I urge you to visit and take in this impressive facility.
Take a moment to reflect on the heritage of the façade that means such a lot to the city of Birmingham, take in our breathtaking atrium, and look out and admire the diverse, vibrant opportunity that we are offering.
It is an amazing landmark, a tangible example of what STEAM is all about, and a place that will benefit from your presence and output.
STEAMhouse is more than just a building; however, and we have ambitions for 2022 – and beyond – that are as exciting as they are far reaching.
We will be shaping and leading collaborative STEAM innovation activity in the UK and internationally, alongside the 26 institutions that we are already partnering with across six countries.
While this work is manifested in a range of internationally-funded projects – some of which support research and enterprise – there are others that specifically look at pedagogic approaches and best practice in teaching and learning as a result of STEAM thinking.
We are working to enable even greater opportunities for students, staff, stakeholders and business with a bespoke academic fit-out for the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment, which will be ready in September 2022.
These can be your possibilities, opportunities for the region, the University and students, so remember they can be about you.
Let’s look forward to 2022 and the enormous potential on offer through STEAMhouse for our students, staff and businesses that want to collaborate to build exciting futures.
If you want to be involved in STEAM, the wider community, business collaborations and projects, visit our space page here.
View a gallery of the site images here.