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March 15, 2017

Engaging Detroit's young adults in science and art

Part art gallery, part science lab, part theater, Michigan State University is launching an initiative to ignite a passion for science, technology, engineering, art and math in Detroit’s young adults.

Called Science Gallery Lab Detroit, the goal is to reach youth ages 15-25 who are making important decisions about college and careers and show them what interesting ideas emerge when different disciplines collaborate. It will work with scientists, researchers, artists and designers to develop creative ways to tackle some of the world’s largest problems, something MSU has been doing for more than a century.

“This is the next generation of outreach and engagement for the land-grant university, a new interpretation that isn't about providing answers, but about working alongside others to formulate big questions and spark new ways of answering them,” said June Pierce Youatt, MSU provost. “Science Gallery is for both the curious and those who have never had an opportunity to be introduced to science in ways that caused them to be curious. Science Gallery uses all the ways we think, all the ways we explore, and all the ways we play to encourage learning—and MSU is proud to bring this experience to Detroit.”

In addition to inspiring youth to pursue careers in science and the arts, the Science Gallery Lab will be used by MSU researchers and students, said Jeff Grabill, associate provost of teaching and learning, and director of MSU’s Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology.

“This initiative will provide a rich environment for MSU researchers to engage the public as never before and to provide a platform for new research and creative projects,” he said. “This research can be used to engage and catch young people at an important moment in their lives, and to shape their journey into school and careers.”

MSU’s Science Gallery Lab will be the first in North America. Detroit locations are currently being scouted with a fall 2017 opening expected. MSU also is looking to open another location in East Lansing.

All Science Galleries are developed in partnership with leading research universities. The original Science Gallery was opened at Trinity College in Dublin in 2008. Science Gallery London will open at King’s College in 2018. The first Science Gallery in Asia will open in tech hub Bengaluru in 2018 in partnership with Indian Institute of Science. Also in 2018, the first Science Gallery in the southern hemisphere will open at the University of Melbourne, followed by Science Gallery Venice at Ca' Foscari University of Venice.

All Science Gallery Lab Detroit programs, exhibitions and events will be free and open to the public.

"With its fast development cycle, agile operations and strong social goals, Science Gallery Lab in Detroit will build on the groundbreaking work of Science Gallery and reinvent it in experimental, uncommon and creative ways,” said Andrea Bandelli, executive director of Science Gallery International. “Science Gallery Lab Detroit will be the innovation engine of the Global Science Gallery Network, and we are incredibly excited of the pivotal role of Michigan State University to keep pushing the boundaries of the whole network."

By: Kim Ward