Telling the Bees

Telling the Bees is an interdisciplinary project working with Tay Landscape Partnership (TayLP) to develop new understandings of beekeeping practices through ‘future folklore’ for new and future generations of beekeepers. The future folklore prototypes will be a community resource and also a probe for academic communities, prompting questions on the role of folklore, literature, tacit knowledge, and traditional ecological knowledge structures. The project began in April 2015 and is now developing into new permutations across the U.K. (from

As part of this project three schools in the Tay area were involved in workshop days where they were introduced to bees and beekeeping, story writing and creative learning. Natural hive boxes were designed as a way in which the participating children’s stories could be shared in various environments, both outdoor and indoor. The three sets of these hives were made pollen colour-coded for each school through coloured beeswax plugs and doorways. The children were given a chance to decorate their doorways so that each box was unique and instantly recognisable.

These boxes were made for three separate workshop days and two community exhibitions and were left with the schools to be used as learning tools.

In March 2017 the paper written on the boxes and the importance of object fostered learning by Dr Debbie Maxwell, myself and Dr Liz Edwards was published and presented at Research Through Design

Photo credit – Anaïs Moisy –

The Bee Story Boxes have also been used at Festival of the Mind, Sheffield (Sept 2016) and at Clumber Park’s Apple Weekend, Nottinghamshire (Oct 2016): they have found new life and uses in different contexts including theatre groups and heritage sites.

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Photography by Lindsay Perth –