Milton Keynes is crying out for a Science & Technology STEAM Centre focusing on STEM education for young people aged 0-18, and The Point is the right building, in the right place, at the right time.
As a STEAM Centre, the Point could offer world-leading experiences on a par with The Science Museum, The Smithsonian, The Deutsches Museum and The Hong Kong Space Museum.
The range of possibilities is immense: permanent and rotating exhibitions from leaders in the world of technology. Classes and workshops covering everything from Lego Robotics and Minecraft through to Raspberry Pi, code breaking, ethical hacking and arts in the digital sphere. Throw into the mix digital outreach and partnership programs that connect with every primary and secondary school in the city and you have just a handful of the top-level initiatives that such a centre could bring to Milton Keynes.
The Point, in its central location, would once again be a beacon in our city, providing youth from all backgrounds of MK with the aspiration, knowledge and skills they need to not only thrive in our city, but continue developing and improving it for the future.
If you’re not familiar with the term, STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. Its sounds extremely academic, and whilst there’s no escaping that element, it’s not what STEAM learning is all about. It’s about developing critical thinking, problem solving, creating an awareness of science in our everyday lives and ultimately forging the next generation of creative thinkers.
STEAM pervades every part of our lives. Technology is in our pockets, in our homes, even connected to our bodies. Our personal data is being collected and processed in more ways than ever before and in the past 12 months the Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare just important scientific literacy is for us all. We must equip the youth of today for the world they will grow into tomorrow.
Milton Keynes is rapidly making a name for itself as a digital and technology hub in the UK and across the globe.
Invest Milton Keynes highlights 4 key sectors in our city that are either STEM industries or highly dependant on them; Digital Tech (including FinTech, HealthTech and EdTech), Business, Financial & Professional services, Distribution (everthing from logistics through to technological solutions) and lastly High Performance Technologies.
As highlighted often in national news and well known to all MK residents, the city is a test bed for the furure. We are home to many groundbreaking technologies including Starship Robots (the automated delivery service), as one of the road trial locations for self-driving cars in the UK, as the location for the first ‘full-scale’ trial of rental e-scooters in the UK and most recently the recipient of £4m in funding to create and test mobility services using 5G technology.
The city’s future university MK:U is being designed for Milton Keynes to meet urgent technological skill gaps, with the vision being a new, groundbreaking university that is hands-on and focused on a curriculum for the digital economy. Local MP’s Ben Everitt and Iain Stewart rightfully envisage MK as having the potential to become the UK’s Silicon Valley if our existing technology clusters can become symbiotic with local, high quality university education.
The proposed redevelopment of The Point is far from revolutionary, in fact it’s arguably a regression back to the 1980s, when The Point was already shining a light into the future.
Best surmised as redevelopment for the sake of economic growth, the ‘Piano’ along with other upcoming redevelopments are a collection of outdated ideas; to provide leisure facilities in a location where demand is insufficient; retail when the high street is in decline; offices after the remote working revolution has arrived; and housing in an already overcrowded central district with substandard office-to-residence conversions happening at an alarming rate. It’s big claims to revolutionary thinking amount to window dressing in the form of novelties such as rooftop gardens.
Not to mention the needless waste. CMK’s carbon footprint is already immense when looking at ongoing construction for Santander’s new Unity Place, the pending redevelopment of Saxon Court, the almost never-ending limbo of the Food Court, and the suggestion that the theatre multistorey car park will soon follow suit. Repurposing a building is by far the more environmentally preferable choice.
A lot of ideas have been thrown around over the past decade as to what The Point might become if it were kept, and no doubt you will have many more of your own.
The limited list that we’ve been able to compile so far include as a revived independent cinema, a retail hub for independent business, a live music venue, art galleries and studios, a hub for youth engagement, a revived nightlife district under one roof, a shelter for the homeless and as part of a future MK University.
You may well find yourself nodding along to one or more of these ideas. To date though, no one has been able to present a strong enough case for any of them to convince Councillor’s of their success. Some of them have already seemingly failed to succeed elsewhere in the city centre, whilst others have succeeded and already exist.
The thought process for this proposal is that it has tangible educational, cultural and economic benefits that tie directly into the goals and ambitions for our entire city. It also has the benefit of being accesible to all residents and can create a lasting legacy for Milton Keynes that spans generations.
But it is one idea out of many. The more valid ideas that we can present, the stronger the case to keep The Point will be. If you have a well thought out proposal contact us and we can include it here.
If you were born, raised and educated in MK you’re acutely aware of one of our city’s major challenges. It’s been recognized as a problem by councillors from across the political spectrum, yet decades have passed us by without a solution. The problem is Brain Drain.
MK:U and our technology clusters will go part of the way towards solving this, but we need something far more fundamental. We need a solution that enables and empowers every young person in the city to seize the opportunity that the future MK presents.
The Point can once again transform and illuminate our city, this time not just visually, but to its very core.
Small disclaimer: The examples provided here are for illustrative purposes only and act as great examples of the sorts of programmes The Point could offer. None of the external organisations represented in this proposal have been contacted nor have they confirmed any support for the project.