Close up of a skep, a traditional beehive.

Workshop 2: Building on the Buzz 2015

Our second workshop took place in August 2015 and built on the stories and ideas generated in our first workshop. The day kicked off with a quick recap of the four main stories that came out of the previous event, and after a quick woolly interconnected icebreaker (see below!) everyone got down to thinking about new, innovative ways to share information about bees and beekeeping.

A woolly workshop icebreaker

A woolly workshop icebreaker

With the help of a set of prompts of bee related artworks and projects for inspiration, groups were asked to take an opening statement, such as ‘Telling Bee Stories’, or ‘Beekeeper wearing bee suit’, and run it through Nesta’s Fast Idea Generator. There were so many fantastic ideas, here’s the tip of the iceberg:

  • an interactive sound space with bee sounds and human sounds (flight of the bumblebee) using a touchpad interaction
  • a set of time lapse videos in a video virtual hive, where you lift out frames from a hive containing screens that play videos at different rate, e.g. 3 mins film = 3 weeks in a hive, 3 mins film = 1 year in a hive, 3 mins film = 4 years in a hive (seeing the combs getting darker over time as they are polished and reused by the bees).
  • the ultimate bee experience (bee visitor centre): in a honeycomb or skep shape (or use a bee shape) offering access to bee sounds, smells, information. bees creating street art – e.g. as a bee beard, or random poo patterning on white sheets (inspired by Jackson Pollock)

The below tag cloud hints at some of the ideas. You can read the full list of ideas here:

Bees wordle

We didn’t want to lose ideas that had come out of the first workshop so at this point, we brought back some of the key ideas generated previously, thinking a bit more about the TayLP Fruit Festival where we planned to show the project outputs so far. These ideas included an interactive game, scent and taste (of bee products), sounds (of bees, queens, and interpretation of a colony through sound) and a video hive. After unpacking this ideas, the afternoon was more open-ended, inviting everyone to think through and make their ideas more tangible. A couple of boxes of materials (Lego, conductive ink, fabrics, craft supplies) proved a useful source for inspiration.

Prototyping materials

Prototyping materials

The act of making was a recurrent theme through Telling the Bees, and indeed as a tool in design research it is very important. It enables a change of mindset, slowing down and reflecting, working out how something might work, and realising what is important to the idea.

The Ultimate Bee Experience

The Ultimate Bee Experience

And of course, we’d have been a little disappointed if there hadn’t been a bee!

A Telling the Bees bee!

A Telling the Bees bee!

By the end of the day, there was a whole host of ideas. We had explicitly stated that issues of feasibility should be put to one side. Our biggest challenge would be to figure out how we could realise some of them for the October Fruit Festival!