The Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado, Boulder, in collaboration with EcoArts Connections and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), is conducting an initial planning workshop and related activities which will be the first of three stepwise convenings over the next two or three years to gather experts from the fields of natural and social sciences, arts, energy/water conservation, and related disciplines. The initiative will work to establish an operational strategy for knowledge sharing across collaborating entities, networks, and associations. The major goal is to strengthen collaboration of professionals nationally to better conceive, conduct, and evaluate projects for the public that work at the intersection of science, arts, and sustainability (environmental, social and economic). Many communities around the country have been seeking to address increasingly pressing problems about their ability to sustain the vitality, health and resilience of their regions and the lives of their residents. Bringing inter-disciplinary knowledge and skills to bear on these issues is considered to be critical. Between 24 - 32 professionals will be involved. The workshop will be conducted simultaneously in Boulder, CO and at Princeton University, with communication between the two sites. This project is funded by the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program, which seeks to advance new approaches to, and evidence-based understanding of, the design and development of STEM learning in informal environments. This includes providing multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences, advancing innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments, and developing understandings of deeper learning by participants. Intended outcomes from this first workshop include: 1) identification and preliminary mapping of successful evidence-based best practices in science-arts-sustainability collaborations 2) a strategic vision for interdisciplinary collaboration across networks; and 3) an initial framework for the dissemination of findings that can reach across disciplines. Outputs include 1) preparation of a pre-workshop briefing booklet based in part on interviews of professionals in the various disciplines; 2) a post-workshop white paper; 3) a network of experts from the participating disciplinary fields; and 4) an agenda for the second (larger) convening. The trans-disciplinary strategy promises to more efficiently and effectively bring STEM disciplines to a wider public in collaboration with the arts through sustainability topics that are place-based, targeted to, and meaningful for specific audiences.
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