In a speech delivered at the Liberal Democrat Party conference fringe in Bournemouth yesterday, Kester called for design to be more closely linked within Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects. Stem subjects are regarded as strategically important to the UK economy and are ringfenced in terms of research funding.
Earlier this year, Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, former rector of the Royal College of Art, called for design to be included as a Stem subject, saying, ‘The dots aren’t being joined up. Engineering and technology are rated, but design isn’t. The big issue now is making design a Stem subject.’
In his speech, Kester also called for a sustainability element to be embedded across education, and for the nature and value of creativity to become an integral part of all learning.
He said, ‘Our educators have a responsibility to bring hard business and technological skills together with creative problem-solving capabilities.
‘The business community itself has to step up to the plate… Finally, Government has an important leadership role which it can play through smart spending and policymaking.’
Kester will also deliver the speech at fringe events organised by the Work Foundation and Social Market Foundation at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester and the Labour Party conference in Brighton.