The Mission of the STEAMplant initiative is to foster interdisciplinary collaboration between the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and “art” as defined by the diverse disciplines pursued at Pratt.
Why interdisciplinary collaboration?
Interdisciplinary collaboration leads to the generation of new scientific ideas and approaches, the creation of novel and cutting-edge artistic projects, and innovation within and between fields. In the context of our academic campus, projects which result from interdisciplinary collaboration impact the mindsets and working methods of both current practitioners at the top of their fields—our faculty, staff, and guest residents—and the future generation of creative professionals and industry leaders: our students. We believe the expanded point of view and lived experience that interdisciplinary projects provide leads to an invaluable skill set applicable at all levels of a diverse array of academic and career pathways.
STEAM on & beyond campus
Each STEAMplant project includes and culminates in a public-facing engagement, such as an exhibition, workshop, demonstration, lecture, performance, publication, or website. Housed on Pratt Institute’s campuses in New York City, our projects not only engage our students, faculty, and staff, but the greater area community, with all events free and open to the public. Often, STEAMplant projects go on to live in other places, as they evolve and grow following their start at Pratt.
What We Do
The STEAMplant supports its mission through two programs:
Sirovich Family Student Fellowship Program supports, with up to $5,000 in funding, graduate and upperclass undergraduate students at Pratt doing STEAM work in their major or thesis.
Sirovich Family Residency Program supports, with up to $7,500 in funding, creative and scientific professionals outside of the Pratt community seeking to work on a STEAM project in residency at Pratt.
Both programs involve collaboration with at least one faculty or staff member from the Mathematics and Science Department and at least one faculty/staff member from another department at Pratt. Visit our people page to see the range of past, present, and potential collaborators.
Projects are additionally supported by the broad array of resources that are available at the Institute, including vast knowledge and a wide range of technological capabilities, especially those that can be used to produce creative work. STEAMplant projects produce work that can be exhibited or shared publicly on or off Pratt’s campus, and communicated to a targeted audience through organized events, social media, and our mailing list.
STEAMplant is generously supported by the Sirovich family.
Why the name STEAMplant?
STEAM is an idea popularized by proponents at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) that encourages the mending of the counterproductive split between STEM (Science / Technology / Engineering / Math) and Art/Design. Since the STEAM acronym applied to the kinds of projects that we wanted to support, we merged it with one of Pratt Institute’s most iconic buildings, its steam plant, which is the oldest continuously-operating, privately-owned, steam-powered electrical generating plant in the country.
Founded in 1887, Pratt Institute is a global leader in higher education dedicated to preparing its ~4,600 undergraduate and graduate students for successful careers in art, design, architecture, information science, and liberal arts and sciences. The Institute’s main campus in the historic Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn is adjacent to the emerging Brooklyn Tech Triangle, a nexus for innovation and entrepreneurship. As one of the world’s multicultural epicenters for arts, culture, design, and business, New York City provides the Pratt community with an exceptional environment that extends beyond the Pratt campuses in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Pratt is a living laboratory of craft and creativity with an esteemed faculty of accomplished professionals and scholars who challenge their talented students and each other to transform their passion into meaningful expression.
STEAMplant is one manifestation of the numerous interdisciplinary collaborative networks that exist at the institution which produce engaging work.