Inclusive Innovation Week

City’s Inclusive Innovation Week offers many creative events for children

This article originally appeared in NEXTpittsburgh. 

In September 2015, Mayor Peduto announced the launch of the “Pittsburgh Roadmap for Inclusive Innovation,” which aims to ensure that innovation, change and advancement—including the city’s current tech boom—are truly accessible to all residents, businesses and neighborhoods.

Developed by the Department of Innovation and Performance over a yearlong period of focus groups, research and analysis, it’s a “living document that will continue to evolve over time,” said Chief Innovation and Performance Officer Debra Lam. “Our goal is to continue to incorporate new programs and projects using the Roadmap as a foundation.”

As part of the goal, the City is offering for the first time the Inclusive Innovation Week.

Inclusive Innovation Week
Image courtesy of Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Running from April 1st through April 9th, Inclusive Innovation Week boasts a week of programs celebrating technology, innovation and art—for all Pittsburghers—taking place at organizations, venues and businesses all across the city. One of the best places where families can participate in the inaugural event is at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

Inclusive Innovation Week at the Northside museum kicks off on Saturday, April 2nd, with a performance workshop presented by CEEMI (read: collaborative experiential electronic musical instrument). Ever wonder what it feels like to play in a symphonic orchestra, jazz ensemble or rock band? With CEEMI, if you’re in the room, you’re in the band! Designed for people without prior musical training, the “instant virtual ensemble” turns any WiFi compatible device—smartphone, tablet, desktop or laptop—into a collaborative electronic musical instrument.

On April 4th, join guest artists from ACHIEVA Creative Art Studio—an innovative artist collective that supports artists with disabilities—for an exploration of portraiture. How long can you sit still? Have your portrait drawn, see different styles of portraits, from realistic to abstract, and get inspired to make your own art.

On April 6th, the museum welcomes technology students from the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. Children and families will learn all about how resourceful eighth-grade students have made personalized chess pieces using 3D modeling and printing and reverse engineering. Kids will also watch demonstrations of a Makerbot 3D printer, Next Engine 3D scanner and Rhinoceros 3D computer-aided design software.

On April 5th, 6th and 9th—to celebrate Inclusive Innovation Week and Month of the Young Child—toddlers are invited to TOT SPOT, whey they can enjoy hands-on activities exploring STEAM (aka Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) topics, themes and projects. Toddlers and caregivers will tinker, sing, dance and enjoy storytimes in the museum’s Nursery Exhibition. Create a shape and color collage, and experiment with magnetic sand paper, a nature box and lighted magnifiers. Special STEAM-related resources will be available for adults.

All of the interactive fun wraps up on April 9th at the “Loose Parts Playground,” where children will use their imaginations to connect all types of parts in the museum’s theater. Child development expert Dr. Ernie Dettore will be on hand from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. to chat with parents about the importance of imaginative play and the future of innovation.

All Inclusive Innovation Week events are included with museum admission.

Assemble in Garfield will also participate in Inclusive Innovation Week, offering Saturday Crafternoon from 1 to 3 p.m. on April 2nd for first- through eighth-graders. The nonprofit maker space will also host a series of free Assemble Afternoon events on school days from 4 to 6 p.m.:

  • April 5th for sixth- through eighth-graders
  • April 6th for fourth- through sixth-graders
  • April 7th for first- through third-graders

Supporting the spirit of inclusive innovation, Assemble will also host a Girls’ Maker Night from 4 to 6 p.m. on April 4th for fifth- and eighth-grade girls.