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In the face of adversity, creativity will out!
If the past two years has taught us anything, it’s that no matter what the outside world throws at us, it cannot dampen our creative juices. Not even a nationwide lockdown can keep us apart.
Collaboration is at the heart of what we do at STEAMhouse, so like everyone else, March 2020 threw us a big curveball. However, in the face of adversity we rose to the challenge and continued to offer most of our services online. And thank goodness for Teams (other video conferencing facilities are available!). This ensured our wonderful members – or STEAMmates as we like to call them – were able to continue inventing, creating, and growing.
Let’s find out more about their journey with STEAMhouse.
STEAMmates who make a difference
Textile innovator Sonia Reynolds is a true inspiration, and in March 2021, we celebrated International Women’s Day by acknowledging her achievements as a multiple award winner and the founder of Zephlinear, creating unique next-generation textiles and tools. Sonia wanted to create products which were both enjoyable and educational, encompassing the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Maths (STEAM). Sonia has created various educational design kits, including two that contain LED and wool fibre, to enable users to build stunning light-up artwork, also known as e-textiles. We were excited to work with Sonia and provide various means of support, including a £2,500 grant to help procure prototyping materials. This programme of tailored support and expertise enabled Sonia to progress her business rapidly, while also identifying and protecting her IP.
Simon Caulton is one of our longest-serving STEAMhouse Incubator members, and a heart-warming success story. In May 2021, we discovered what motivated Simon to design his innovative yet comfortable unisex leisurewear trainers. In 2017, his daughter was diagnosed with Leukaemia, which was followed by 2.5 years of treatment and uncertainty. Simon’s aim was to design a pair of comfortable shoes, enabling wearers to make their ‘one step journey’, which led to the creation of ‘Ones’. Although Covid presented many challenges along the way, including the loss of his supplier based in China, Simon emerged stronger than ever, receiving regular support from the STEAMhouse Incubator with weekly calls, and when possible, access to STEAMhouse’s state-of-the-art facilities. What transpired was a better product as a result of having more time to reflect.
Anna Nierobisz started her career in theatre but has since moved into the world of XR (Extended Reality). In August 2021, we explored Anna’s first foray into the world of VR (Virtual Reality), in which she helped create a VR experience which brought components of the theatre to life. Anna saw an opportunity to diversify and develop her business, so she joined STEAMhouse to learn how to fill the gaps in her knowledge. Harry Conway, Senior Technician, Immersive Media, says that Anna’s journey is a great example of how STEAMhouse can provide skilled experts and cutting-edge technology to support a creator in their journey of growth and discovery.
Who else inspired us in 2021?
With the mantra of taking hair health seriously, Hair popp is working hard to connect with black-owned hair care brands that encourage both women and men to take ownership and pride in their hair.
Meanwhile, Staying Alive UK Ltd provides an insightful and unique way of bringing an organisation’s story to life by bringing their mission, vision, and values into existence through AR (Augmented Reality).
And we’re currently supporting Leon Trimble, an artist, designer, entrepreneur, and technologist to create The Empathy Machine. This exciting piece of tech will detect the mood of a conversation between two people and feedback through the medium of sound and colour.
So, what can we expect for the coming months?
It’s an exciting time for us here at STEAMhouse as we prepare to throw open the doors to our new premises in Spring. The 100,000 sq ft work, research and design space will help us support an even larger number of artists, designers, academics, students and entrepreneurs.
Our networking and events calendar also remains packed for the year ahead, including asocial media workshops kicking off in March – geared towards those looking to boost their marketing and develop their skills.
If you’re an inventor, designer, or creative entrepreneur and like what you’ve heard, find out how you can become part of the STEAMmates community today and bring your ideas to life. You never know, you might be our next big success story!