FREDERICTON - If only Lord Beaverbrook could see how his image lives on in the 21st century. During the month of May, New Brunswick students are being invited to take part in an innovative project that melds art, history and the latest technology. Inspired by a similar project in the United States, a team of 3D printer advocates from NBCC Miramichi, Brilliant Labs and the Beaverbrook Art Gallery is issuing a design challenge to any student who has access to a 3D printer.
“While 3D printers have existed for decades, it has only been in recent years that 3D printers have become more accessible and affordable so that many universities, schools, and even libraries now offer this on-demand creation service to students,” said Kevin Gallant, instructor and researcher at NBCC Miramichi Campus.
The challenge will see students from across New Brunswick contributing 3D parts that will be used to construct a modern sculpture of New Brunswick’s own Lord Beaverbrook. “Ultimately, the goal of this project is to unite 3D printing aficionados with students from across the province to collaborate on a project that celebrates our New Brunswick culture,” said Gallant.
How does this project work?
- Using 3D scanning technology, the team gathered a series of panoramic photos to create a 3D picture print.
- There are more than 200 parts in this 3D print.
- Students can download one of the parts, inscribe the surface of the part with a design characteristic of their community or school, and print the part.
- The parts will be collected and assembled at the Brilliant Labs headquarters in Fredericton
- When combined, these parts will create a 3D sculpture of Lord Beaverbrook.
Brilliant Labs is a non-profit, educational organization that provides innovative opportunities to support creative and technologically expressive projects from Atlantic Canadian youth.
“As educators, we are particularly excited about the Collaborative 3D Printed Sculpture of Lord Beaverbrook. This collaboration between NBCC, MVHS, Beaverbrook Art Gallery and Brilliant Labs exemplifies the innovation at work here in New Brunswick,” said Jacob Lingley, Program Director, Brilliant Labs. “We can’t wait to see our beloved historic icon, Lord Beaverbrook take shape.”
The assembled sculpture will be featured at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, along with a description of the project and documentation of the process, once the 204 head and bust pieces have been printed and arrive from various schools and colleges. Christina Thomson, Program Coordinator and Beaverbrook Art Gallery project lead, said: “This collaboration with Brilliant Labs is a wonderful opportunity to engage students in all areas of the province with the visual arts. It is the first of several collaborative projects that will integrate the arts into STEM education, and exhibit student work in the art gallery. We look forward to seeing the results of participants’ creativity in adding meaningful designs on Lord Beaverbrook.”
“Lord Beaverbrook is a most appropriate subject for this exciting collaborative project,” added Beaverbrook Art Gallery Director/CEO and Chief Curator Terry Graff. “Arguably Canada’s greatest art patron of all time, he considered his gift of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and world-class art collection to the people of New Brunswick his most important benefaction. He also envisioned the Gallery as a centre for vigorous educational activity aimed at providing opportunities for the youth of New Brunswick, stating that ‘the future lies with them.’ I’m certain Lord Beaverbrook would be delighted with the idea of students from across the province working together to honour him in sculptural form.”
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About 3D printing
- Using 3D printer technology, a 2D image can be “brought to life” as the printer assembles thin layers of plastic to create a 3D image.
- 3D printing allows students to (almost) instantly conceive an idea, make a sketch, design in three-dimensions and finally push that end product to a computerized glue gun that is now known in households world-wide as a 3D Printer.
- Exploring 3D printer technology in the classroom has many benefits:
- The technology encourages students’ spatial reasoning and design skills
- Inspires creativity, innovation and the capacity to create a product
- NBCC has two 3D printers, the Makerbot and the Ditto Pro, the first Canadian-made 3D printer.
- The printers are used for various Applied Research and Innovation projects underway at NBCC.
About the project
- This project was inspired by a successful project, called We the Builders, that started in the United States.
- All students (and adults) are completely enamored with the technology provided by 3D printers. Regrettably, educators find there are more cell-phone cases being printed rather than culturally significant objects.
- This scope of this project expanded from an initial challenge issued to Grade 11 students at Miramichi Valley High School in their Makerspace Lab to create a 3D image of Lord Beaverbrook. Throughout the project, students received mentorship and support from Brilliant Labs and NBCC staff and students.
- Having students involved in this project requires them to at least fundamentally understand the relevance of Lord Beaverbrook to New Brunswick, at which point students can then focus on how to embellish the surface of the sculpture to reflect their community.
- In order to achieve this, students will have to refine their spatial reasoning and hone their knowledge of Cartesian geometry as all 3D printers work using a XYZ coordinate system. If it sounds like we are attempting to capitalize on a student’s love for new, “cool” technology, of course we are!
About Brilliant Labs
- Through coordination with K-12 teachers, Brilliant Labs strives to ensure that students have appropriate access to technology as well as the technical skills required to achieve their project goals.
- While most projects are inextricably linked to curricular outcomes, some projects aim to simply expose students to new technologies that force them to redefine their definition of what it means to create.
- In New Brunswick alone, Brilliant Labs has been involved in establishing more than 40 collaborative learning environments, called Makerspaces.
- Makerspaces primarily focus on providing an open space in which students have all of the tools, both high-tech and low-tech, necessary to complete their project.
- The guidance from Brilliant Labs has helped staff and students with devices and workshops to support outreach project for the province of NB. Teachers tie their curriculum competencies and deliverables to these labs which are connected to the newest technology such as 3D Printers, Drones, Robotics, Oculus Rift and many other devices.
About the Beaverbrook Art Gallery
- Founded by Lord Beaverbrook, and opened on September 16, 1959.
- The Beaverbrook Art Gallery presents a rotating schedule of contemporary and historical exhibitions that give focus to the art and visual culture of New Brunswick and the Atlantic region, as well as of Canada, Britain, and other regions of the globe, as reflective of the particular nature and strengths of the permanent collection.
- As the official art gallery of New Brunswick, and one of Canada’s leading art galleries and most important cultural treasures, its mission is to “bring art and community together in a dynamic cultural environment dedicated to the highest standards in acquisitions, exhibitions, programming, education and stewardship.”