STEM without art: A ship without a sail

Chia Yu Liu, Chao Jung Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


STEAM is an approach to teaching and learning that integrates science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics. However, arts are often marginal and neglected in STEAM education. We conducted semi-structured interviews with eleven STEAM experts in Taiwan regarding their perspectives on and the factors affecting art elements, and suggestions for enhancing STEAM art elements. Thematic analysis of the results confirmed the three art elements we proposed (arts/aesthetic, contextual understanding, and creativity) but with slight modifications. Four categories comprising of 10 strategies emerged for incorporating the art elements in STEAM activities: basic principles (constraining, interaction), arts/aesthetic (arts/aesthetic learning, intention and meaning), contextual understanding (reflection of the socio-cultural context, human-centred design), and creativity (less is more, hands-on exploration, imagination, game-based/collaborative approach). The strategies that emerged in our study can help researchers and educators develop STEAM activities with rich art elements and activate in-depth discussions of STEM concepts. Furthermore, we established that learners’ emotional experiences might be stimulated by art elements, so instructors could further expand their interest in STEM content.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100977
JournalThinking Skills and Creativity
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar


  • Arts education
  • Arts/aesthetic
  • Contextual understanding
  • Creativity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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