Telling the Bees

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Theatre Film and TV

Abstract

'Telling the Bees' is a collaboration with Tay Landscape Partnership (TayLP) and beekeeping groups in the Perth and Tayside area to conduct research into beekeeping knowledge and the many ways it is created, stored and transmitted.

Beekeeping is currently experiencing a surge of popularity, coinciding with a rise of localism and a consumer drive for homemade produce. Bees have also become popular subjects of non-fiction prose, literature, poetry and art, in part because their plight has become emblematic of contemporary environmental crises. Whilst a new generation of beekeepers is emerging, the methods by which they learn their skills is changing. As a highly mythologised practice, incorporating elements of folklore, literature and long-standing oral traditions, beekeeping can historically be regarded as a form of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). However, now that short courses and beekeeping manuals are commonplace, there is a question as to what extent traditional elements remain. Is the modernisation of beekeeping resulting in the loss of traditionally held knowledge, understanding and practice? Our research considers this question and offers a bridge between different practices: working with beekeepers, writers, artists and designers, we will co-create new experimental forms of beekeeping knowledge (such as 3D printed artworks, creative writing and interactive films, to name just a few possibilities) by recodifying and repackaging beekeeping knowledge into 'future folklore'.

TayLP, a public and third sector partnership in receipt of a £1.43 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant, has a remit to work with communities in the Perth and Tayside to "reconnect residents and visitors with the natural, built and cultural heritage of the area". This includes a bee colony regeneration project, with aims that include training 20 new beekeepers and producing 10 events in local schools between 2014-2018. 'Telling the Bees' will augment and expand these activities. Afer an initial review of beekeeping knowledge and practice, including an analysis of the Moir Rare Book Collection of beekeeping books at Fountainbridge public library, Edinburgh and participation on beekeeping training courses, the project team will run a series of workshops with TayLP, schools and local community groups to collaboratively develop new creative research models (future folklore) that generate a shared understanding among beekeeping and non-beekeeping community members of the significance of beekeeping for local landscape management, cultural heritage, and environmental sustainability. The project will also play a key role at TayLP's annual Heritage Festival in Carse of Gowrie, where it will showcase its research and gauge public reaction to the 'future folklore' prototypes.

In addition to its presence at the TayLP's Heritage Festival, 'Telling the Bees' will raise awareness of its research via a public facing website and social media profiles. Its creative outputs, the 'future folklore', have the potential to reach and connect with new audiences beyond those directly engaging with the project activities, and long after the project has been completed. A one day symposium held at the end of the project will reflect on the concept of 'future folklore' and help disseminate the research findings.

'Telling the Bees' contributes to the Connected Communities programme by making community groups an integral part of innovative research, engaging them in an exciting and stimulating series of events and workshops. They will help co-produce outputs that cross disciplinary boundaries in the arts and humanities, and which form a timely investigation into TEK, cultural heritage and environmental management.

Planned Impact

Direct beneficiaries include:
- Volunteers and Staff at the Tay Landscape Partnership (TayLP) - an HLF funded partnership of third sector and public sector organisations including Perth & Kinross Heritage Trust, Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust, Gannochy Trust and Perth & Kinross Council
- Existing beekeeping charities such as East of Scotland and Perth District Beekeepers Associations
- New beekeepers involved in the TayLP training programme
- Wider public attending the TayLP Festival
- Beekeeping inmates at HMP Open Estate Castle Huntly
- Schools in Perth area
Indirect beneficiaries who can potentially use the research include beekeeping associations in Cornwall and the UK and other Landscape Partnerships in the UK, as well as the storytelling community in Scotland, including groups such as 'Blether Tay-Gither' (Dundee), and Bagatelle (Lothian).

The research has the potential to benefit third and public sector partnerships, existing communities of interest, and the wider public in the local Perth area. We envisage 4 areas of impact.
Impact 1: the research will benefit TayLP by increasing their effectiveness as a third and public sector partnership in delivering one of their key objectives: "to reconnect residents" with the "natural" and "cultural heritage of the area". The research will enhance capacity among staff and volunteers to engage with the local community through the use of creative research practice and future folklore. This will be achieved through involving staff and volunteers in oral histories and education outreach, codesign workshops, coproducing and providing documentation for their annual Heritage Festival, providing legacy materials for use by staff and volunteers. The impact will be measured through feedback from TayLP staff and volunteers throughout the project, and from measuring the level of community engagement with project outputs at the Festival. It is anticipated that this increase in effectiveness will also be realised beyond the 12-month life of the project, as the TayLP partnership work continues until 2018.

Impact 2: the research will benefit the local community, by developing public awareness and enabling a deeper shared understanding among beekeeping and non-beekeeping community members of the significance of beekeeping for local landscape management and environmental sustainability. This will be measured by evaluation of: public responses to the codesigned outputs at the festival; the experience of those involved in the project such as trainee beekeepers, volunteers, school children, or prison inmates. Methods such as questionnaires, personal meaning mapping, brief interviews, will seek to capture changes in understanding, attitudes, and any intended future behaviour of participants and the wider public.

Impact 3 - charitable beekeeping associations directly involved in the project will gain knowledge and experience of working with academic researchers to communicate their work and beekeeping knowledge to future potential beekeepers (including children and young people) and the wider community in new, sustainable, and exciting creative ways. Beyond the 12-month life of the project, the festival documentation, creative outputs, website, experience gained, and other academic outputs will potentially benefit beekeeping associations outside the Perth area, such as Cornwall and the rest of the UK. The symposium also offers a collaborative forum for the dissemination of shared knowledge.

Impact 4 - the research will provide cultural enrichment for individuals and communities participating in the project, through the codesign workshops, outputs at the TayLP festival, volunteer involvement in oral history recording and/or contributing to the website content, and any work undertaken with inmates at Huntly or in schools. Evidence of cultural enrichment will be captured using simple questionnaires and/or personal meaning maps at the end of events.

Publications


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Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
AH/M009319/1 01/04/2015 31/12/2015 £42,997
AH/M009319/2 Transfer AH/M009319/1 01/01/2016 31/10/2016 £8,823
 
Title Augmented Bee Suit 
Description The Augmented Bee Suit was one of the 'Future Folklore' artefacts produced by designer Liz Edwards and the project team, and emerging from our three co-design workshops. It encourages the wearer to think about the communication of knowledge - knowledge accumulated by beekeepers and relayed through the speakers, and knowledge accumulated and communicated by bees as they forage for food. Three Beekeepers' Suits were modified by sewing speakers and an iPhone into the hats. The mobile phones were programmed to play short audio files (recorded during a series of interviews with beekeepers) when the wearers came within 5m of a series of bluetooth beacons. Meanwhile, the wearers' movements were tracked using the phones' GPS functions, mimicking scientific experiments that have recorded bee foraging patterns. 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact The Augmented Bee Suit was trialled at Perth Fruit Festival, where it was actively tested by approx. 20 adults and children throughout the day. The bee suits were displayed on a hat stand in a project tent at the festival, so that even when not actively in use, they provoked questions about their presence, design and implementation. Adults were interested in and learned from the short audio clips, which discussed challenges facing bees and beekeepers. Children enjoyed the 'treasure hunt' aspect of the experience but were generally uninterested in the audio. The trial inspired the project team to think about new ways to adapt the suit for researching the communication of environmental knowledge (e.g as part of games and more explicitly staged experiments), to be taken forward as part of future funding bids. 
 
Title Beelore Seeds 
Description A series of seed packets containing Scottish wildflower seeds complete with printed bee folklore and quotes (or 'beelore') on the front, and a URL to the project website. 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact 300 printed seed packets were made up and distributed to members of the public at project public engagement events. The seed packets not only disseminated snippets of bee folklore, bringing to light long forgotten excerpts of beelore, but also provided opportunities for discussing pollination and foraging, and, when planted, act as a long-term legacy for the project in supporting local bee populations. 
 
Title Beespoon 
Description The Beespoon was one of the 'Future Folklore' artefacts produced by designer Liz Edwards, and emerging from our three co-design workshops. The Beespoon is a small copper spoon that can carry the amount of honey a single honey bee produces in her lifetime (approximately 1/12th of a teaspoon). When the whole exhibit is installed, the Beespoon is placed on a plinth which dispenses honey onto the spoon as a reward for making origami paper flowers. This simulates the work carried out by the bee as it visits c.1800 flowers in the process of making one Beespoon's worth of honey. 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact To date, the Beespoon installation has been set up at a project partner Fruit Festival, where we were surprised by the quality of the engagement from those who visited the installation (over 100 people attended the festival). We had anticipated that general public visitors might only stay a short a time and make the quickest, easiest origami flower possible in order to interact with the Beespoon, but children were captivated by the complicated designs and often chose them, even though they took much longer to make. Many children were in the tent for more than fifteen minutes with some staying over 30mins, or making return visits over the course of the day's installation. The Beespoon always provoked a response, often astonishment, generally followed by contemplating the number of bee lives that produced the honey on a piece of toast. Some commented that it made them feel bad about how much honey they used, whilst others marvelled at the preciousness of honey. We have several confirmed plans to install the beespoon at future events, both academic and general public, where we will capture data on the value of the Beespoon as a research through design artefact and the impact it has on people's understanding of industriousness, environmental issues and consumption. 
URL http://www.bees.eca.ed.ac.uk/2016/02/how-much-honey-does-a-beespoon-hold
 
Title Beespoon Bookmarks 
Description Physical bookmarks showing an almost to scale image of a copper beespoon on one side, and information relating to the artefact on the reverse. 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact 500 bookmarks were printed to be used as tangible and tactile reminders of the experience of the Beespoon installation, and designed to be shared to promote the values of the project and experience (i.e. environmental reflections and notions of work and value in the environment and consumerism). 
 
Title Children's Bee Stories and Illustrations 
Description A series of 18 stories and accompanying illustrations were produced by over 50 pupils at 3 primary schools (across classes ranging from P3-P7) in the Tayside area. The short stories were imaginative and engaging fictions about bees and beekeeping, combining facts learnt during workshop sessions with elements of magic and mystery. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact The students hand wrote and illustrated their stories, which were taken away, typed up, scanned and printed off to fit inside physical story boxes, which were then presented to the public at Perth Fruit Festival. On returning to the schools to show pupils their printed stories, students immediately recalled their stories and vied with each other to share them amongst their peers. The stories were published on the project website and will be a key source for discussion and data in forthcoming project events and collaborations. 
URL http://www.bees.eca.ed.ac.uk/beestories/
 
Title Mr Shore's Downfall 
Description Maxwell, Edwards, Pillatt and Downing produced a short piece of creative writing 'Mr Shore's Downfall' intended to act as an example 'speculative design'. We imagined a dystopian future world where bees had become a precious commodity. This world was populated by a series of 'design fiction artefacts' that were used in beekeeping activities. By thinking about this future world and its artefacts, we are forced to critically examine our contemporary world and the environmental challenges we face. 
Type Of Art Creative Writing 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Our fiction was published at the prestigious ACM NordiCHI design conference in Gothenburg, October 2016. The fiction also formed the core of a well-received quasi-artistic presentation to the AHRC Utopias conference at the British Library, December 2016. 
 
Title Storycomb Boxes 
Description A series natural hive-shaped laser cut MDF and birch plywood boxes were produced by artist and designer Morvern Odling to house stories and comics produced by groups of children from three schools in the Tay area. The boxes were designed to hang in trees, mimicking the way hives naturally form along branches and in hollows. Each school had its own shape of hive/box, and each was decorated with dyed beeswax 'plugs' which covered hexagon shaped cells. Each group of school children also designed their own hexagon shaped lids for the cells that accommodated their particularly stories. The result was group of exceptionally attractive and colourful boxes that could placed around any outdoor site. 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact The bee boxes were installed at Perth Fruit Festival, situated in a public park, and served to act as a visual and physical trail round the site, encouraging casual passers by to engage with the boxes and subsequently the festival activities themselves. The largest impact however was that of the schools themselves. Each of the 3 primary schools involved in the story box creation have an orchard, and schools actively requested the story boxes so that they could install them in their schools. As 'Future Folklore' artefacts, the story boxes were a means of encapsulating children's stories and making them more durable, and thereby increasing their longevity. As such, the boxes served as a visual and tangible memory of the Telling the Bees engagement, research and learning, which was reinforced when the project team returned to the schools to show students their completed boxes. 
URL http://www.bees.eca.ed.ac.uk/2015/11/the-story-comb-boxes/
 
Description The most significant achievements from the award are a set of Future Folklore prototypes that emerged from codesign process (see creative products).

The award aims and objectives have all been broadly met as detailed below.
1. Our objective to "better understand how information and knowledge is produced and passed on through the beekeeping community today" was achieved through intense participatory observation of Scottish beekeeping communities. This included conducting a series of 12 in-depth interviews with beekeepers across Scotland, participatory observation at apiary inspections, attending local beekeeping association talks, and volunteer stewarding at the Scottish Beekeeping Association Honey Tent at the Royal Highland Show. This led to a rich data set of observations, field notes and interview transcripts, which will be written up for publication. This is paralleled by a literature review of contemporary and archival documentation of beekeeping practices, including those at the Moir Library rare books collection (National Library Scotland).

2. Our aim to "experiment with creative ways to codify and repackage examples of this beekeeping knowledge as future folklore prototypes" was fully realised through our research through design (RtD) practice adopted by working with beekeepers and storytellers in a series of three interactive, participatory workshop events. Each workshop was carefully crafted to open up dialogue, celebrate and value different knowledge and skill sets and to progress through divergent and convergent thinking processes. To this end each workshop had its own output, namely, 1) a series of stories; 2) a set of early stage conceptual ideas and technologies; and 3) refined prototypes. Each workshop reflected on the nature of beekeeping practices and narrative.

3. Our aim to "develop capacity within TayLP through partnership working that will enhance their delivery of a subset of their local community programme (2014-2018) that includes training new beekeepers" was predominantly realised through the relationships and informal partnerships the project team established with the Scottish beekeeping communities. The project offered a new way to connect and engage with beekeepers, a reciprocal relationship of knowledge exchange between academia, storytelling, and beekeeping. This led to a virtuous circle of support between the local beekeepers and community partner TayLP, supported and fostered by the project activities.

4. Our aim and objective to begin reflecting on the value and relevance of the future folklore concept, as instantiated through the prototypes, is partially realised. The concept of future folklore was specifically explored and problematised in our Large Honey Collider event in Edinburgh, where participants reflected on stories and making as vehicles for creating living knowledge. They also raised questions, however, concerning the validity of the term 'future folklore', and whether folklore can be designed. Much of our work has focused on how future folklore can be situated with the design domain, framed as a counterpoint to critical design and design fictions (see publications). In addition, we undertook a somewhat playful reorientation of the concept to address the growing field of critical design and design fictions. Our co-written fiction 'Mr Shore's Downfall' was well received at the prestigious ACM NordiCHI conference in Gothenburg. Combining the myths and folklore of beekeeping with an understanding of contemporary practice and warnings for the future, this kind of future-focused design and story-making also formed a key component of our successful Follow-on Funding application.
Exploitation Route The direct Artistic and Creative project outputs have been in almost continuous use. Physical story comb boxes were gifted to the three rural primary schools involved in their creation. The Beespoon installation has been used in numerous public engagement events, as a creative research output, as well as a data gathering and dialogical tool. After securing further funding in collaboration with a youth theatre group, some of the research data (anonymised interview transcripts, gathered archival material, and bee stories created by school groups) was repurposed to create a performative theatre piece (see outputs). The theatre group now includes bee-related activities in its bids for work from other customers. In academic contexts, the design community and environmental humanities are primary audiences for the research findings. Our engagement with other Connected Communities researchers suggests that our 'making as a way of thinking' approach, which highlights the role of creative, playful activities in fostering learning and knowledge exchange, could be a particularly fruitful avenue for further research.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Environment,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
 
Description Outputs and findings from the project have been widely used by project participants. For instance, in our first codesign workshop, storytellers and beekeepers worked together to generate short stories, which were recounted back to the group. Subsequently, one professional storyteller worked up and retold one of the co-created bee stories in her practice. Similarly, in the third and final codesign workshop, an early presentation of a physical beespoon (a small spoon 1/12 the size of a teaspoon) fascinated beekeepers. One beekeeper compared the diameter of a syringe used in an early prototype to the capacity of a bee's stomach to compare the amount of nectar gathered, whilst several beekeepers and non-beekeepers expressed a desire for their own Beespoons and two even asked for details of the jeweller who made the original in order to commission their own. One workshop participant talked about the Beespoon as a potential commercial product: a Christening present or gift to mark special occasions. A beekeeper who runs educational activities in schools has subsequently begun to weave the story of the Beespoon into their practice. Our schools workshops, involving a beekeeper who brought an observation hive into the classrooms, and followed up by pupils writing their own stories, tied directly into the Scottish curriculum for excellence, and helped our Heritage Lottery Funded (HLF) project community partner, TayLP, deliver on their educational Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). We have taken the Beespoon installation to a wide variety of public engagement events, comprising fruit, insect and woodland festivals (see outputs). Our origami flower making activity has proven incredibly popular at these events, and children often marvel at the amount of work a single honey bee does to produce her one beespoon of honey. We have also found that the gentle but focused process of making the paper flowers provides an excellent forum for discussing environmental issues and the sharing of personal stories (e.g. the father who recalled being made to help out with his father's hives as a punishment for being naughty as a child). Our Follow-on Funding project Hacking the Bees builds on this experience, and links 'making as a way of thinking' to our research interest in future-focused speculative design and design fictions. After receiving additional funding from the University of Sheffield to host a 'Performance- Lecture' as part of their city-wide Festival of the Mind, we formed new collaborations with Growtheatre youth theatre company and Sheffield Beekeepers' Association. In preparation for the event, Growtheatre used elements of the Telling the Bees research - oral histories, archival research and the Beespoon - as inspiration for creating bee-themed drama, developed and performed by young people. As well as garnering excellent feedback from the audience (see outputs), the project engaged members of the youth theatre group in exploring the world of bees and associated environmental issues. Such was their immersion in this activity, parents remarked that their children were frequently articulating bee-related facts well away from the workshops. As partner, Growtheatre have also found bees to be a useful educational and narrative device that supports their other commercial activities. For example, their bid to be part of Sheffield Libraries' programme of National Reading Week 2017 events includes workshops themed around bees. A key outcome from the original project was a successful bid for Follow-on Funding for Impact and Engagement. As a result, the new project Hacking the Bees will continue securing impacts and legacies from the Telling the Bees research. In short, the project will team up with Explore York and Growtheatre to redesign the Beespoon installation, use making, storytelling and drama to get pupils at Sheffield primary schools thinking imaginatively about the future of beekeeping, and host a series events in York, including as part of a week of bee-themed activities in October 2017. Ultimately, Hacking the Bees will build on the work of Telling the Bees in seeking to harness the power of making and imagination as a way to foster lifelong learning, and to provoke new conversations on the significance of the honey bee to our environment and society.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Environment,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal
 
Description Festival of the Mind Award Fund
Amount £4,700 (GBP)
Organisation University of Sheffield 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 06/2016 
End 09/2016
 
Description Follow-on Funding for Impact and Engagement (Creating Living Knowledge Highlight Notice)
Amount £82,166 (GBP)
Funding ID AH/P009581/1 
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 02/2017 
End 01/2018
 
Description Digital-nature interpretation in a Walled Kitchen Garden 
Organisation National Trust
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution I am in an ongoing partnership with the team at Clumber Park, predominantly in the Walled Kitchen Garden. We are developing interpretation to support connection to nature in general and the garden in particular. I have worked with gardeners and volunteers to learn about the values and cultural history of the walled kitchen garden and its 'spirit of place'. I have collaborated to create designs to interpret different aspects of the garden including the National Collection of Rhubarb and the Regional Apple Collection. These designs include the Rhubaphone, Audio Apples and Garden Shed Roadshow detailed in the Artistic and Creative Products section. I have made prototype designs for interpretation in a children's garden, initiated and designed by a gardener. This work is ongoing. Through the collaboration we have implemented a new strand of volunteering in the Walled Kitchen Garden, focussing on digital, and other interpretation in the Walled Kitchen Garden. I am supporting the new volunteer, through training in relation to maintenance of existing artefacts and support in creation of new interpretation designs. I have successfully applied for additional funding to extend the working relationship beyond my PhD. I have brought the artefacts from Telling the Bees (Beespoon installation and Physical story comb boxes (Bee boxes) to events at Clumber Park (Rhubarb Weekend and Apple weekend) and this has led to planning towards extending the interpretation offering about bees in the Walled Kitchen Garden at Clumber Park.
Collaborator Contribution The National Trust at Clumber Park have contributed £1000.00 towards equipment. They have provided oak from the park for the designs. The Trust provided on-sire accommodation for myself and the sound recordist during some visits. The gardens team have collaborated in many ways. Staff and volunteers have taken time to take me on guided tours and walks around the park. They have contributed to design decisions and have helped with installation and maintenance of the artefacts. Many people shared knowledge and experiences in their contributions to the collection of audio recordings for the audio apples and rhubaphone. The Trust has publicised the research via social media and Regional Magazine. The Trust supported an additional funding bid for future work and we continue to work in partnership.
Impact Artefacts including: Rhubaphone & The Listening Orchard The Garden Shed Roadshow. Additional funding awards.
Start Year 2013
 
Description English Dept, Falmouth University 
Organisation Falmouth University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The research team, led by Falmouth academic and Co-I, Niamh Downing, guided and directed the students into understanding the project aims, status and needs for engaging and creatively documenting audience responses and personal stories about bees and beekeeping.
Collaborator Contribution Two students on creative writing and journalism undergraduate course at Falmouth University worked with project co-investigator, Dr Niamh Downing, to design and run a poetry and illustration activity at a key engagement event, the TayLP Fruit Festival. The students prepared, set up and led cut-up poetry activities using archival beekeeping material as sources.
Impact Outputs from the collaboration and specific poetry activity led to a set of poems and illustrations completed and displayed by members of the public at a fruit festival.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Sheffield Beekeepers' Association 
Organisation Sheffield Beekeepers' Association
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Learned Society 
PI Contribution The TtB team worked with Sheffield Beekeepers' Association and Growtheatre to produce the Telling the Bees Performance-Lecture as part of the University of Sheffield's Festival of the Mind. Telling the Bees provided the research that inspired the event, and was led by TtB Co-I Pillatt.
Collaborator Contribution Sheffield Beekeepers' Association provided an observation hive, a candle-rolling activity, and beekeepers to answer questions posed by the Performance-Lecture audience.
Impact The Telling the Bees Performance-Lecture
Start Year 2016
 
Description Theatre group collaboration 
Organisation GrowTheatre CIC
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Telling the Bees has provided a context for a collaboration with Sheffield based Grow Youth Theatre. Spinning off from the stories gathering and generated over the project, this collaboration provided content for Grow to develop an interactive performance. Telling the Bees provided access to project research materials, data and co-produced artefacts. The project team (led by Co-I Pillatt) worked with Growtheatre to organise a 2 day drama workshop for children and young people and to prepare a performance lecture.
Collaborator Contribution Growtheatre CIC have collaborated in conceptualising a performance piece for Sheffield's Festival of the Mind, taking place in Sept 2016. Growtheatre CIC organised a 2 day drama workshop for children and young people. They also developed, scripted and filmed a performance-lecture showcasing Telling the Bees research to the general public during the University of Sheffield's Festival of the Mind.
Impact External funding was secured to support and deliver a collaborative performance led by Growtheatre CIC (see Additional Funding section). The collaboration combines elements of youth theatre, environmental humanities research and design. GrowTheatre have continued to work with the project team on the (successful) follow on funding bid, Hacking the Bees. Additionally, GrowTheatre are drawing on their experience of collaborating with Telling the Bees by using material and themes (i.e. bee related content) to their own practice, including their submission to tender for work as part of National Reading Week at Sheffield Libraries.
Start Year 2016
 
Description AHRC Common Ground 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The Telling the Bees team installed the Beespoon exhibit at the AHRC Common Ground event in York. This proved a particularly fruitful activity, with participants using the origami flower making activity as a way of taking a break away from the rest of the event. This gentle, relaxing, making activity then helped facilitate conversations on environmental issues and importance of making in stimulating discussion.

The team also hosted a drop-in workshop centred on our Augmented Beesuit prototype.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.ahrccommons.org/event-programme-announced/
 
Description Article for TayLP Newsletter 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An article was produced for the Tay Landscape Partnership newsletter, describing the aims of the project and encouraging local people to get involved.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Bee Green Festival at Lancaster University 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Bee Green Festival at Lancaster University. A team of Fine Art undergraduate students, supported by the Lancaster University Student Union initiated an event about bees at Lancaster University involving children from a local school. The children rotated in groups around activities including a Waggle Dance, a drawing and exhibition activity and an activity focused on the Beespoon, organised by Telling the Bees. The Beespoon activity was a modified version of the activity used at other events. The activity began with a Q&A discussion about bees and involved sensory engagement activities like smelling beeswax and trying on a beekeeper's suit. Children were given laser cut flowers on which to write down facts they had learned through the morning to be placed on the flower display. Then they made origami flowers to add to the display. For every flower made they pressed the button on the beespoon installation to triggered the pump and drop honey into the beespoon The time spent making created a space for conversation about bees and for knowledge sharing and dissemination.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Blether with Bees 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Telling the Bees collaborated with Dundee storytelling group and registered charity, Blether Tay-Gither, to host and support one of their regular storytelling evenings, with a focus on stories to do with bees and environment. The collaborative event showcased the rich diversity of folk tales and styles of storytelling, and sparked discussion around the nature of stories and their roles in environmental education.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Carnival of the Beasties (Aberdeen) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Maxwell and Pillatt attended the Carnival of the Beasties event at the University of Aberdeen as part of National Insect Week. The day attracted over 1000 people, mostly families, who were able to sample a variety of insect-related activities. Our Beespoon exhibit proved very popular - children enjoyed making origami flowers for the display, and learning about how much work a honey bee does to produce her one beespoon's worth of honey.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.nationalinsectweek.co.uk/events/carnival-beasties-university-aberdeen
 
Description Clumber Apple Weekend 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Edwards took the Beespoon installation to Clumber Park's Apple Weekend, reaching approximately 1700 people over two days.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Clumber Rhubarb Weekend 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Maxwell and Edwards took the Beespoon installation to Clumber Park's Rhubarb Weekend, which had approximately 1000 visitors.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Digital Creativity Labs Launch Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Telling the Bees demonstrated the Beespoon at the DC Labs launch event in April 2016 at University of York. This industry facing event (including creative media professionals and games companies) led a lot of interest in the project, its collaborative approach and the concepts and research behind the Beespoon installation itself. As a result of the event, contacts were made that resulted in a community Co-I (Dave Fleming, York Explore) being part of our follow on project, Hacking the Bees.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://digitalcreativity.ac.uk/
 
Description Ecclesall Woods Spring Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Maxwell, Pillatt and Edwards attended the Ecclesall Woods Spring Festival in Sheffield with the Beespoon exhibit. The festival was attended by approximately 1500 people, mostly families. Children (and adults) enjoyed making origami flowers for the display, and many were amazed at how little honey a honey bee produces during her short but busy lifetime.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Ecocultures 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Two members of the project team presented the project research and designed artefacts to 'Ecocultures: Glasgow's Festival of Environmental Research, Policy and Practice', which drew a diverse audience comprising academics, professionals and members of the public. The project garnered a significant amount of attention, including several request for further information and recommendations of contacts and further reading. We also used the opportunity to ask the audience 'what would you tell the bees?' Data gathered from this exercise is likely to inform our future activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Festival of the Mind Performance-Lecture (Sheffield) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Funded by a separate grant from the University of Sheffield, the Telling the Bees team worked collaboratively with Growtheatre youth theatre group and Sheffield Beekeepers' Assoication to host a 'performance-lecture' based on the Telling the Bees research. Held in a spiegeltent erected outside Sheffield City Hall in the heart of the city, the event was an integral part of the University of Sheffield's Festival of the Mind, celebrating its research and engagement with local communities, and reaching over 50,000 people.

At the Telling the Bees Performance-Lecture, around 150 audience members, including a large number of children, were treated to an interactive learning experience that consisted of:
Elements of a traditional lecture led by Pillatt
Drama performances led by young people and professional actors
Origami flower making at our Beespoon installation
Candle-rolling and an observation hive provided by Sheffield Beekeepers' Association

Visitor feedback was collected via postcards, iPad surveys, visitor books and audience surveys. The feedback for the festival as a whole was overwhelmingly positive, as were the comments for the Telling the Bees:

"Brilliant on every level."
"It does not talk down to its audience."
"We are taking grandchildren 10 & 7 to learn about bees and bee keeping."
"Bees in the spiegeltent - interesting!"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://festivalofthemind.group.shef.ac.uk/
 
Description Large Honey Collider (Edinburgh) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The Large Honey Collider was the final formal event organised and led by the Telling the Bees project. The event opened up discussion and debate around some of the work co-produced over the project, not simply demonstrating or presenting the work but seeking an active engagement and critique from the rich mix of participants. The afternoon followed a more speculative approach, colliding different perspectives and experiences together to explore the key question: How can we use the concept of folklore to address current and future concerns for human-environment relationships? Finally, threads were drawn together from the day's discussions to begin looking to the future and next steps for the domains and project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Schools storytelling boxes 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 3 classes of Tayside rural primary schools worked with the project team, an artist, and beekeeper to explore the role of bees and beekeeping. The pupils wrote and illustrated short stories, and decorated wooden story boxes. Repeat visits to the schools let the students see their stories printed up and stored inside the boxes they had decorated. Professional storytellers visiting the schools (organised by the project community partner) to focus on bee stories reported unusually high levels of knowledge around bees and pollination following our workshops.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.bees.eca.ed.ac.uk/beestories/
 
Description TayLP Fruit Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Telling the Bees took an active part in a fruit festival in October 2015, organised by community partner, Tay Landscape Partnership (TayLP). This free public event took place in a local park in Perth, Scotland, and showcased the co-design project outputs to date. The project had two physical spaces, a yurt focused on the Beespoon installation (see Artistic & Creative Products), and a bell tent featuring project information, creative writing and drawing activities led by creative writing students from Falmouth University, and the Augmented Bee Suits (see Artistic & Creative Products). Over 100 people attended the event overall, most of which visited the project tents. The hands-on activities provided a space for prolonged engagement and conversation, in particular around the personal values and stories of bees and the environment, with many attendees expressing surprise at the amount of work that goes into the production of honey by the honey bee. To encourage reflection and the retelling of stories and experiences, we provided physical takeaways in the form of beespoon bookmarks and wildflower seed packets with printed bee folklore.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.bees.eca.ed.ac.uk/2016/02/how-much-honey-does-a-beespoon-hold/
 
Description Telling the Bees Website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The project website has been running for the duration of the project. It contains short biographies of the project team and community partners, news of the project workshops, events and activities, and details regarding forthcoming events and how to get involved with the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
URL http://www.bees.eca.ed.ac.uk