Nesta on universities

'Universities : Useful and Useless' was the title of a provocative, yet highly thought provoking and necessary lecture given at Cardiff University by Geoff Mulgan, CEO of Nesta recently on how universities can be more useful to society

Read more here and watch the lecture over there -->

BTW if you aren't familiar with Nesta, do sign up for their newsletters. They do a wide range of great work around social innovation particularly and are behind a number of hugely successful and impactful initiatives that we take for granted today like Code Club, Technology Will Save Us, Raspberry Pi and a number of projects into art innovation. 

They wrote this paper on STEAM.

Steam Co. and Universities

We're working with useful universities on a range of projects and being contacted by more all the time.

See the film here about an event we're putting together across King's Cross with speakers from University of the Arts London, other local HE institutions and Camden, Islington and local Schools.

Many are keen for us to speak at events, to host regional STEAM Co. launch events or provide faculty and/or students to help on STEAM Co. Days. Prof. Dave Hornby from Sheffield is one of our advisers and is working on a number of projects with us.

We've been asked to contribute to a BERA project with Cambridge, Aberdeen, Aberystwyth and Warwick looking at STEAM creativity in education.

Nick gave a talk at a conference which you can watch here.


Imperial College is a fantastic example of a very 'useful university'. As well as coming out on top in league tables of universities around the world, they also find time to run amazing outreach programmes to connect with the community.

The Imperial Festival is a great example of this (7-8 May 2016) with hundreds of displays, activities and shows for all the family and it's free.

A highlight are the activities in Imperial's Outreach labs set up and overseen by Prof. Robert Winston who inspired STEAM Co. back in the day with his immortal words "You have to get them in primary"

See photos below:

BLOG UPDATE: 24 November 2017


Nothing has had greater impact on the role of Universities than the internet, particularly YouTube and the way content and courses can now be delivered.

I was tickled to see, in the wonderful Winton Gallery maths exhibit at the Science Museum  that one of the leading Universities once had a 'Professor of Perspective' - how the world of knowledge specialisms changes.


We were delighted to see a presentation by Kingston University and The Universities Alliance at a Creative Industries Federation Education/Skills Group meeting which we sit on. It was chaired by Nigel Carrington, VC of University of the Arts, London.

They presented this fantastic diagram which shows various collaboration models for Universities touching on various perspectives form Social Cohesion to Fostering Creativity.

It specifically references Festivals like the amazing weekend above that Imperial run so successfully every year and of course #ARTCONNECTS - the festival of creativity that we are planning to hold in Kings Cross in Feb 2018.