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26 Oct 2017

Conference: Cross-pollination - Revaluing Pollinators through Arts and Science

Hoverfly portrait by Andrea Liggins (artist) in collaboration with Andrew Lucas (scientist)

Professor Andrea Liggins


Conference and exhibition for the Cross-pollination project, an AHRC and ACW funded project that brings scientists and artsits together to help promote the plight of our pollinators and find new ways of looking at the problem.. Conference starts at 10.30am 10th November 2017 at Swansea College of Art, UWTSD 11th Nov the conference moves to Dr Beynon's Bug Farm, SA62 6BX The Private View for the exhibition at Dr Beynon's Bug Farm 11th Nov 4.30 pm

Katrina Hodges
44 (0)1792 481285

University of Wales Trinity Saint David
De La Beche Street
Swansea SA13EU

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About the Project

Cross-pollination: Revaluing Pollinators through Arts and Science is a pioneering project that combines Art with Science to explore new insights into perceptions of the value of bees and other pollinators and use this new knowledge to influence conservation policy decisions. The project has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Arts Council of Wales (ACW).
The project is led by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), in partnership with Aberystwyth University and the National Botanic Garden of Wales (NBGW). The ultimate aim is to contribute towards the protection of our pollinators. Pollinators are facing huge declines across the world due to habitat destruction, pests, diseases, intensification of farming, biodiversity loss and climate change. There is evidence to suggest that the ways in which pollinators are perceived and valued has significant implications for their conservation.
The Cross-pollination project has provided opportunities for experts from different disciplines for example prestige and award-winning artists and scientists from the UK and the USA, along with key stakeholders including Dr Beynon's Bug Farm, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Buglife, to share ideas, discuss values, and develop strategies for inter-disciplinary research and dissemination. The Cross-pollination project brought together key scientists, artists and stakeholders to participate in a series of exploratory arts workshops that explored theories of aesthetics, sensory perception, differences in perspectives and language, and investigated creative interactions and partnerships.
The project is important for a number of reasons:-
• There is a major global pollinator crisis. Although both scientists and artists have researched and produced work in this field, this project is unique in bringing both specialisms together to collaborate
• The collaborations will challenge the artists and scientists from their normal work practice
• The process of the collaboration will be evaluated providing useful guidelines for future arts/science projects, thus making it sustainable
• The arts/science collaboration has ensured extended reach into previously unexplored audiences
• Important links have been made with policy-making organisations/boards concerned with pollinators. Artists are not usually invited onto such boards, the perception being that artists have little to contribute. This project aims to demonstrate the need for this to change.
The AHRC has recently recognised the success to date of the Cross-pollination project by including it in a publication on Environmental funded projects, as a case study.
The project has resulted in 16 art works and series exhibited at the National Botanic Garden of Wales during July and August 2017, and touring to Dr Beynon's Bug Farm, from 30th September 2017, with an overseas exhibition planned at Cornell University, New York State, USA, and a lecture programme in China. The exhibition is the result of collaborative working and aims to challenge perceptions, help demonstrate the benefits that pollinators provide and highlight the decline in pollinator populations.

For more information about the project visit

About the Conference

The Cross-pollination project will conclude with a two day conference 10th November 2017 at the Round Room, Swansea College of Art and Design, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, and 11th November 2017 at Dr Beynon's Bug Farm, followed by a private view of the exhibition and an optional 'Pollinator Feast'.
Day One of the conference held at the UWTSD, Swansea, will present and open for discussion the results of this 20 month intensive project, by including speakers who are experts in their field, from across the UK and the USA, many of whom were involved in the project. Themes that will be discussed include for example– innovations in pollinator research, perception and language, art and science collaborative processes, creativity in research, and the art crit as a research tool; with many individual stories of the practicalities of artists and scientists working together.
The artists involved in the project are – Professor Andrea Liggins, Sarah Tombs, Professor Karen Ingham, Dr Paul Jeff, Professor Catrin Webster, Dr Shelly Doolan, Dr Tyra Oseng Rees, Daniel Trivedy, with supporting artists Carly Wilshere, Myles Mansfield, Dan Butler, Jax Robinson, Dr Laura Jenkins, and Alex Roberts. Guest artists at the exhibition are Peter Chatwin and Pamela Martin.
The scientists involved are – Dr Natasha de Vere and Laura Jones at the National Botanic Garden of Wales; Dr Sarah Beynon of Dr Beynon's Bug Farm; Professor Simon Potts, Dr Tom Breeze and Duncan Coston at the University of Reading, Centre for Agri-Environmental Research; Dr Heather Whitney and Mike Harrap at the Bee Lab, Bristol University; Andrew Lucas of Natural Resources Wales; Dr Peter Graystock at Cornell University, New York; Sinead Lynch of the Bumble Conservation Trust and Michelle Bales of Buglife.
In addition on the project are Environmental Economist Professor Mike Christie Aberystwyth University; linguist Dr Paul Thompson from the University of Birmingham; creative industry expert Dr Sophie Bennett also from Aberystwyth University and Gill Wright leader of the Bee Line Station Gardens Project at the Heart of Wales Line (Arriva Trains).
Day Two of the conference will travel to Dr Beynon's Bug Farm, an award winning enterprise in St Davids, Pembrokeshire. The theme for this part of the conference will be focussed on policy-making and the contribution of art/science collaboration to the policy-making process both in the UK and overseas.
After a wide and varied range of speakers, there will be an on-site tour of the exhibition, with views from the artists and scientists.
The Conference will close with the Private View of the exhibition.
In the evening there will be an optional 'Pollinator Feast' (we will not be eating pollinators!), cost £22.50, with musical entertainment, hosted by Dr Sarah Beynon and partner, award-winning chef Andy Holcroft as seen in the BBC programme The Bug Grub Couple.