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Participatory Science Film Festival brings STEAM to the big screen

Updated: Sep 29, 2023

The Curious Minds Participatory Science Platform (PSP) has been bringing research and innovation funding to schools and community groups in south Auckland since 2015.

In 2021, a complementary programme, WeSTEM, was extended into west Auckland with a focus on engaging Pasifika youth in STEAM.

These funds create opportunities for students to engage in real-world research and innovation, working alongside community stakeholders and STEAM experts. An essential objective of every project is to share their findings with their communities. Making a short film was the perfect challenge to encourage groups to hone their science communication skills and celebrate their learnings and achievements.

In October 2022, over 300 attendees gathered in the impressive Aviation Hall at MOTAT to watch the Participatory Science Film Festival, hosted by Te Hononga Akoranga COMET. Fourteen groups submitted videos for the film festival, with participants ranging in age from toddlers to secondary school students. The films were largely produced by students and supported by teachers and science partners.

Curious Minds Project Manager, Ying Yang, says, “It is important for young people to talk about their science learning because it allows them to reflect on what they know and retell it in their own voices. It makes learning so much more powerful and encourages others to get excited about science. I was impressed by the knowledge, enthusiasm and humour in many of the films I watched.”

Alongside watching the short films, project groups were greeted by two guest speakers, Hon Carmel Sepuloni, MP for Kelston and Minister of Social Development and Chris Muller, Director National Programmes at the Ministry of Pacific Peoples. Ms Sepuloni shared her own science learning journey and her vision for all tamariki and rangatahi to be active lifelong learners.

Mr Muller shared that Pasifika peoples are expected to make up 30% of Auckland’s workforce by 2026. He expressed MPP’s desire to see a higher percentage of those jobs be in high value, creative and innovative industries such as science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths. Mr Muller says, “We need to see STEAM celebrated within our communities and that’s what is happening here today.”

Check out the highlights video above for a taste of the day. All project videos can be viewed here.


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