Press Releases 2017

UWTSD to host Cross Pollination Collaboration

11.10.2017

UWTSD’s Swansea School of Art and Design will host a Cross- pollination: Re-valuing Pollinators through Arts and Science Collaboration on November 10 and 11.

The two-day event will take place at the Reading room, in the University’s Alex Design Exchange in Swansea from 10am to 5pm on November 10 and from 11am to 5pm at Dr Beynon’s Bug Farm, St David’s, Pembrokeshire on November 11.

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) and is being led by the University Of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), in partnership with Aberystwyth University and the National Botanic Garden of Wales (NBGW).

The 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.

Professor Andrea Liggins said: "When I started this project I didn't imagine that the scientists involved would be so keen to work with the artists and visa-versa.  The enthusiasm of those involved in the project has meant that there have been seventeen collaborative projects and we originally only planned for six. The resultant exhibitions and the November conference will publicise the plight of our pollinators, and will highlight the important research aimed at halting their decline. What we have learnt from this work should help future art/science collaborations, and the project has shown that art as well as science can be the catalyst of change."

The project has provided opportunities for experts from different disciplines, including 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. A series of exploratory arts workshops have also explored theories of aesthetics, sensory perception, differences in perspectives and language, and investigated creative interactions and partnerships.

Its work 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.

Note to Editor

About the Conference

Day One of the conference held at the Alex Design Exchange, Swansea College of Art, UWTSD, 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: innovations in pollinator research, perception and language, art and science collaborative processes, creativity in research; 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 Shelley 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 David’s, 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.

Please register via Eventbrite on the following link:

https://crosspollinationconference.eventbrite.co.uk

Further Information

Rebecca Davies

Swyddog Gweithredol Cysylltiadau â’r Wasg a’r Cyfryngau

Executive Press and Media Relations Officer

Cyfathrebu Corfforaethol a Chysylltiadau Cyhoeddus

Corporate Communications and PR

Tel: 01792 483695
Mobile: 07496 385597
Email: Rebecca.Davies@uwtsd.ac.uk