The other week we ran a few school day sessions about the #ARTofENGINEERING as part of Tomorrow’s Engineers week with sessions in Sheffield, Hull and Birmingham.

The following weekend the Headteacher from the Birmingham school emailed us to say that he’d heard that the John Lewis Christmas advert was to feature ‘Rocket Man’ by Sir Elton John.

As it happened they didn’t.

So that was that. Or was it?

If at first you don’t succeed

We were blown away by the ad that John Lewis did release the next morning, featuring Sir Elton John. A beautiful film, by the ad agency Adam and Eve who co-funded STEAM Co.’s first ever event at the Royal Institution in 2015.

It showed Elton’s story in reverse back to the day he was given his first piano.

It showed how that gift of music, of a career of art sowed a seed for a passion that would power both Elton’s life and the UK economy, generating millions of UK £GDP.

With a few hours, the STEAM Co. video elves had released the STEAM Co. remix you see here that highlighted the looming creativity crisis in our schools with arts and creative education under severe pressure due to both government policy and a lack of awareness among some parents, teachers and policy makers of the opportunities that creativity and creative industries offer our young people.

WIth 24 hours that film had received over 50,000 views and even Elton John had ‘like'd’ it on Twitter.

What do you think of that?

The next day Nick ran the STEAM Co. #RocketKids session (see below) in a really challenged school in Cardiff Bay, South Wales.

This was particularly poignant given that ‘Rocket Boys’ was set in a dead end coal mining town in West Virginia back in the 1950’s and told the story of four boys who escaped that dying world using their creativity, support of their community and a determination to succeed.

They learned to make rockets and ended up working for NASA.

Nick told how his 83 year old dad had found Rocket Boys’ in the Oxfam bookshop he volunteers in and then showed the John Lewis Christmas advert to the 500 children and parents and other carers in the assembly and discussed it with them. He was blown away by some of the responses from the children.

He then showed them the amazing official video for ‘Rocket Man’ that Elton and YouTube had commissioned from Iranian filmmaker and refugee Majid Adin which tells a new story of adventure, loneliness and hope.


In the afternoon Nick gave a talk at the National Education Show in Cardiff, Wales’ biggest gathering of educators. In a poignant session, Nick showed a film of his equivalent gift to Elton’s piano, a film of himself aged one with his dad and his first train set.

He described how, like Elton, that gift had inspired his passion, but for Nick it was engineering, making and doing, maybe even co-founding STEAM Co.

He also told how special this day in South Wales was, as his other great inspiration as a child was his recently deceased godfather ‘Uncle Arthur’, a Design Engineer in Cardiff and how his other god parents lived back along the Great Western Railway line in Newport.

His talk was titled ‘It takes a whole village to inspire a child (and two elephants)’ and told how STEAM Co.’s community engagement model brings those two elephants in the room - parents and the wider school community of other carers like artists, engineers and employers - into primary schools to run mini creativity festivals called STEAM Co. Days.


After that special day, a few things dropped into place for Nick and he had an idea to make a film to launch a campaign. He found a quiet room in Cardiff CIty Hall and shot some clips and edited them together on the train back to London.


Nick launched STEAM Co.’s latest campaign to help Advocate, Inspire and Action Creativity - a tour from Land’s End to John O’Groats taking the #ARTofROCKET Session to #RocketKids in challenged school communities who might not be able to cover the £300 donation we hope for at other times.

It will be the first 12 Days of Christmas 1-12 December, starting down in Cornwall and ending up in Scotland, as close as we can get to John O’Groats.

The plan is to ask individuals, organisations and companies to make the donation and to help generate funds for the upcoming #ARTCONNECTS19 Festival of Creative Schools Work and and LIves, a ten day national event to celebrate and showcase creativity, tech and people to connect.


We’re looking for sponsors to help make these 24 #ARTofROCKETS sessions happen, to help with transport and other costs.

Film of STEAM Co. event at the top of Barclays Skyscraper in Canary Wharf.

We don’t want one sponsor to cover everything, however unlikely it is that anyone might be so generous.

No, in the spirit of ‘it takes a whole village to inspire a child’ we’re looking for 24 or so sponsors, and, importantly more than one company from otherwise competitive sectors.

We’ve had generous support in the past from companies as diverse as Barclays, Google and National Grid.

While you’ll rarely see two banks or two technology companies sponsoring the same thing, we really want to see that competitive nonsense cast aside this time.

This is not a race to sponsor us and get in there first with an exclusive, as we’re looking for companies who share our passion for the power of creativity, tech and people to connect, to connect with us and this initiative.

We want them to put #Creativity First, to #CollaborateforCreativity.

To sponsor STEAM Co. as a non-profit, social enterprise to do this with sponsorship donations as follows:

Session Sponsors:

  • Individuals - £300

  • Small/Medium Sized Co. - up to £500

  • Enterprise - Up to £1,000

All funds over the costs to deliver this will go towards staging the #ARTCONNECTS19 Festival 1-10 Feb across the UK, paying speaker fees, expenses and subsidising tickets to the unwaged, etc.

Each sponsor will get their name/logo/photos included on a webpage entry for that session.


  • Transport - we’d love to be able to borrow a car/4x4 with tow-bar for 2 weeks as we’re not sure ours can make it

  • Fuel - can someone help us with a petrol card, or better still an electric vehicle

  • Accomodation - we love staying with AirBnB, to meet locals. Would they sponsor us? Any connections?

  • Anything else - an anyone else help with anything else we haven’t thought of? Helicopters, jetpacks, bionic prosthetics?


We want to hear from schools that are keen to have this session. We’re keen to take it to schools that really would appreciate it and hope to enable this through sponsorship but even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for a free session but are able to pay for it then sign up anway. Even if we can’t get to you this time we can come back to you next year.


Some children have everything, many have nothing but either way all parents want to give their children the best start, the most interesting and inspiring presents they can within their means.

Everyday of our 12 Days of Creative Christmas tour we’re going to showcase a creative present ideas. Some will be all idea and imagination and cost next to nothing, others will cost a bit more but will encourage children to create and not just consume. We want to hear your ideas whether you’re a company with a product you’d like to feature or a creative parent, teacher or creative with an idea to go in the mix, do let us know.

(You can be sure we’ll crib a few off the great list that Nesta publish every year. Here’s last years)


While we’re on the road, we’ll be telling everyone about our national ten day #ARTCONNECTS Festival of Creative Schools, Work and Lives. Donations for #12CreativeXmas will go towards making that happen.

We want #ARTCONNECTS19 to inspire Schools and Communities across the UK to run small events during the week under the #ARTCONNECTS banner - art shows, concerts, hackathons, dances and other gatherings where you celebrate their art.

We hope that schools who are lucky enough to be chosen for a free #ARTofROCKETS session on thsi tour will consider, even pledge to run an independent local event as part of #ARTCONNECTS19, even if just the smallest art show in the school or reading.

Then, we’d love to see everyone come down to London for a big weekend of short talks, activities and a dance.

It is scheduled as a week of activity across the UK 1-10 Feb 2019 with a weekend climax in London 8-10 Feb:

  • Fri Day - A STEAM Co. Day for schools

  • Fri Day Eve - Fringe social

  • Sat Day - Creative Schools Day

  • Sat Eve - #DanceConnects party

  • Sun Day - Creative Work/Lives Day

Saturday and Sunday will be a day of short talks, performances and activities for all the family. This is not an academic conference, but a Festival, without the mud and camping.

Find out more and sign up here to be sure you get the updates and 3 minute video blogs of last year’s event as we release them.


Whether you’re a school, a sponsor or have a creative Christmas present idea sign up here now.

Any problem email us at yourturn@steamco.org.uk but bear with us for a reply.


A half day session for Primary and Secondary Schools, based on the best selling book and movie 'Rocket Boys' by Homer Hickam which Nick’s dad found in the Oxfam Book Shop he volunteers in in Ludlow and which he said was the best book he's ever read.

It's a story of 4 boys growing up in a dead end Coal Mining Town in West Virginia in the 50's, who see the first Sputnik and, with the encouragement of a teacher and mother, go on to make rockets and work for NASA.

It’s the ultimate mashup of creativity, science and literacy:

See film above of the ‘Rocket Kids’ session

  • All school assembly - which tells Homer's 'Rocket Boys' Story and explains how rockets work

  • Real rocket launch - outdoor launching to 500 feet with parachute recovery system

  • Rocket workshop - the chance for a class to make/fire paper rockets

A half day session for the whole school and school community to enjoy.

Download flyer here.


Vic Goddard - Head Teacher
Passmores Academy/'Educating Essex'


Dean Marshall – Head Teacher
Mill Hill Primary, Sunderland