I think I have met most of you virtually, and many of you in the pre-pandemic days, but it’s an honour to have the coveted guest blog spot this week to properly introduce myself! I was reflecting back on 2018, when both Camden Learning and STEAM held our official launch events at the Crick (those were the days…) – which was coincidental but fitting, as we’ve worked increasingly closely ever since. We cemented this in the autumn term, when the STEAM team moved into Camden Learning, bringing together STEAM, Music Service, the CLC and careers and partnerships.

This week the new Camden STEAM Board met for the first time, bringing together leaders from key local tech, creative and scientific institutions on our doorstep including the Knowledge Quarter, Google, Francis Crick Institute, LocalGlobe, UCL, Central Saint Martins, Bennetts Associates and Lendlease, as well as school and political representatives, who will work with us to develop a bold and ambitious long-term strategy for STEAM. The board’s chair, Dinah Caine, opened with a piece of wisdom that has stuck with her through her career on the importance of preparing during a crisis for the world afterwards, rather than waiting for the crisis to be over. This feels like almost impossible advice at the moment, but the meeting convinced me otherwise: each board member brought such drive and commitment to creating a future of opportunity for our young people. During the pandemic, these partners quickly stepped up to work with us on projects such as Virtual Work Experience, the STEAM Futures video series of interviews with Black STEAM Ambassadors, virtual STEAM Hub sessions and our Digital Divide work. We would really value your views on what careers and curriculum initiatives would be most useful in the coming months – but we’ll also be thinking hard and seeking your views on what we do now to enable our young people to thrive long-term in the uncertain economic landscape ahead and the change we want to see in ten years’ time, alongside the work on Camden’s Education Strategy and the Renewal Commission.

On that note, it was fantastic to be in the virtual lecture room with so many of you on Wednesday for the first in the series of fortnightly Camden Conversations and I’m looking forward to many more of these opportunities to step back and reflect together – and couldn’t agree more with Ed Vainker’s admiration for the “collective and community focused” approach we are lucky to have in Camden.

Danielle Tobin

Director of STEAM & Partnerships

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