AHRC Environment Report

The Arts and Humanities Funding Council have chosen the Cross-pollination project for a publication on the work of the arts and humanities towards environmental research. To acompany thae article an image was selected, the Hoverfly textile piece by Karen Ingham. Please click on

Environment report   Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 19.54.09


Conference Programme

Register at https://crosspollinationconference.eventbrite.co.uk

IMG_7517sm Bee by Myles Mansfield

Cross-pollination Conference 10th/11th November 2017

 Day 1: Friday 10th November 2017, 10.00am – 5.30pm at the Reading room, Alex Design Exchange, Swansea College of Art, UWTSD, Swansea SA1 5DU

10.00 Coffee

10.30 Welcome

10.40 Introduction to the Project – Professor Andrea Liggins, UWTSD.

11.00 Keynote from the Science perspective – Multiple stresses on bees and     multiple solutions to improve pollinator health: New York as an emerging success story – Dr Scott McArt, Cornell University, New York, USA

11.30 Keynote from the Arts Perspective – Catching light – Seeing more than meets the eye – Dr Mark Cocks, UWTSD

12.00 Working with Artists – Mike Harrap, Bristol Bee Lab, University of Bristol

12.25 Communicating Cross-pollination – Dr Paul Thompson, University of Birmingham

12.50 Beyond Bees: the role of hoverflies in pollination – Andrew Lucas, Natural Resources Wales

13.15 Lunch and networking, slide show of artworks

14.00 A panel discussion about the experiences of the project and impact, with Dr Paul Jeff, Dr Tyra Oseng-Rees, Dr Sarah Beynon, Sinead Lynch, Prof Mike Christie, Sarah Tombs (Chair)

14.45 Crop Pollination – lessons learned across borders – Dr Tom Breeze, University of Reading

15.10 When Less is More – Professor Karen Ingham, UWTSD and Swansea University

15.35 Coffee

16.00 Every Last Mouthful – Chatwin and Martin

16.25 Remembering Forgotten Landscapes – Professor Andrea Liggins, UWTSD

16.50 Research, Festivals and Art: bringing research to the wider public – Duncan Coston, University of Reading

17.15 Round up discussions and thoughts to take to Day Two

17.40 Close

Cross-pollination Conference 10th/11th November 2017

Day 2: Saturday 11th November 2017, 11am – 5pm, Dr Beynons Bug Farm, St Davids, Pembrokeshire SA62 6BX

11.00 Coffee

11.20 Introduction to Policy for Pollinators – Professor Mike Christie, Aberystwyth University

11.50 Environment and Rural Affairs Policy development in the aftermath of the vote to leave the EU – Ann Humble, Head of Evidence and Analysis, ERA EU Exit Division, Welsh Government

12.20 The Pollinator Trail – Dr Sarah Beynon, Dr Beynon’s Bug Farm and Oxford University

12.50 Breaking the rules of science communication to better communicate science – Dr Peter Graystock, Cornell University, New York, USA

13.15 Lunch

14.00 Arts event – Sarah Tombs, UWTSD and Daniel Trivedy, Arts Council of Wales

14.15 The Process of Making – Dr Shelley Doolan, UWTSD

14.40 The Idea of Cross-pollination, from conceptual art to the concept of food – Dr Paul Jeff (UWTSD)

15.00 Questions and Discussions (with coffee/tea)– Professor Mike Christie (Chair)

15.50 Round up and close – Professor Mike Christie and Professor Andrea Liggins

16.15 Private View and Tour of Exhibition with the artists/scientists – led by Professor Andrea Liggins and Dr Tyra Oseng-Rees


18.30 approximately – Pollinator Feast and entertainment


Conference 10th/11th November 2017

Cross- pollination: Re-valuing Pollinators through Arts and Science Collaboration

Day 1: Friday 10th November 2017, 10.00am – 5.30pm at the Reading room, Alex Design Exchange, Swansea College of Art, UWTSD SA1 5DU

Registration and coffee: 10.00am in the foyer outside the Reading room. Start 10.30am

Day 2 (optional): Saturday 11th November 2017, 11am – 5pm, Dr Beynon’s Bug Farm, St Davids, Pembrokeshire SA62 6BX

Please register via Eventbrite on the following link:


About the Conference

The Cross-pollination project will conclude with a two day conference 10th November 2017 at the Reading Room, Alex Design Exchange, Swansea College of Art, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, and 11th November 2017 at Dr Beynon’s Bug Farm, St Davids, Pembrokeshire followed by a private view of the exhibition and an optional ‘Pollinator Feast’ (there will be a charge of £22.50 for those attending the Feast, payable at the Bug Farm. Numbers are limited to 40 for the Feast).

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, and the art crit as a research tool; with many individual stories of the practicalities of artists and scientists working together.

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.

A Conference Schedule, together with outline biographies of the speakers with follow shortly. A buffet and refreshments will be provided on both days.

Please register via Eventbrite on the following link:



Cross-pollination Exhibition

The Cross-pollination exhibition is now at Dr Beynon’s Bug Farm, St Davids, Pembrokeshire. Official opening 11th November 2017.

The first Cross-pollination exhibition opens on Saturday 8th July and runs until 29th August and is in the Oriel Yr Ardd Gallery and in other sites at the National Botanic Garden of Wales. The following collaborative projects will be on show – please see ‘Collaborations’ for further information and details of the venue are on the NBGW blog


From top clockwise – Hoverfly Picnic – Karen Ingham; Hoverfly Faces 1 & 2 – Andrea Liggins; Petal – Sarah Tombs; Fragile Traces – Carly Wilshere-Butler. Copyright property of the artists.

The Project

Cross -pollination -Revaluing Pollinators through Arts and Science Collaboration is an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded Networking project that aims to bring Art and Science together to produce creative art projects that explore and promote the crisis facing pollinators and to influence policy decision making.

Additional funding has been provided by the Arts Council of Wales, to enhance the art work production and to increase the impact of the project.

The project is led by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in partnership with Aberystwyth University and the National Botanic Garden of Wales. The ultimate aim is to contribute towards the protection of our pollinators

Intensive farming, habitat destruction, biodiversity loss and climate change across the world has resulted in a widespread decline of pollinators. There is evidence to suggest that the ways in which pollinators are perceived and valued has significant implications for their conservation. This project, Cross-pollination, will provide the opportunity for artists, art researchers, scientists, environmental linguists, specialists in economic evaluation of bio-diversity and environmental decision makers to share ideas, discuss values, and develop strategies for inter-disciplinary research and dissemination, with a particular focus on pollination decline.

There are 14 art- work projects in the pipeline -see under ‘COLLABORATIONS’.

Art Crits


Photograph by Jax Robinson

Two of the crucial events of this project are the ‘Art Crits’ to explore how the communication between the scientists and the artists will work and to further the understanding of the collaboration processes. The Art-crit is a model of learning whereby artists present their work to a group in order to gain feedback on how that work is being ‘read’ and ways that they might develop it further. The work ‘crit’ is a shortened version of the word critique (not criticism) and is a process in which people discuss ideas stimulated by an art object, drawing, painting etc. It is comparable to the 19th Century Salon, in which intellectuals, writers, artist and critics formed informal meetings to discuss the context, content, and rational behind an artwork or artefact together with an analysis of its aesthetic properties and visual intent.

The fist Art Crit has now been held using Skype where the collaborative projects were discussed in detail. The artists presented their work to date and this was discussed between the scientists and the artists. For ease of technology (although there are always some hitches) the projects were split into three sessions. The most significant question that arose from the science perspective, when looking at images for textiles, was

“How do people view this as information rather than a beautiful image?”

The artist responded  that art provokes responses and ideas rather than telling people the information. Intrigue encourages further investigation, so that viewers think and work at this information. It allows viewers to consider ‘visual information’ to create questioning, and this combined with the scientific research is especially helpful to visual learners to gain a more enriched experience and deeper understanding of the information holistically.

The sharing of ideas whilst viewing the work to date and the future plans encouraged further  collaborations between the scientists and the stakeholders, for example The Heart of Wales Line (Railway) is developing pollinator gardens at each of its stations, and is being renamed The Bee Line. Three artists are working on projects with The Bee Line, and as a result of the crit a collaboration has developed with Dr Beynon’s Bug Farm, the National Botanic Garden of Wales, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and The Bee Line.

buzzing machine page 3a

The final Art Crit will now take place in June/July.

Arts Council of Wales Funding

We are pleased to announce that the Cross-pollination project has been successful in obtaining Arts Council of Wales (ACW) funding for the production of the arts works. We applied to the ACW as the meetings of scientists, artists and stake-holders have been so successful that the individual art/science projects have become more ambitious and exciting. Instead of the 8 individual artworks originally planned there are now 14 in the pipeline. We would like to express our thanks to the Arts Council of Wales for making this possible.



The fourteen projects are underway, with some exciting results already, these are being posted under ‘COLLABORATIONS’. In addition five undergraduate Fine Art students have been working with artist Sarah Tombs on the project  ‘Pollinator Trail’ at Dr Beynon’s Bug Farm. One of the undergraduates Myles Mansfield has bee making large scale insects from scrap machines and metal, and will be working with family visitors this Easter at the Bug Farm.

What the Press Say

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Press release

Professor Andrea Liggins (photographic artist, Honorary Research Fellow and retired Dean of Art and Design at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David) and Professor Mike Christie (Head of Aberystwyth University’s School of Management and Business), have recently attained £45k funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for a pioneering project that will combine Art with Science to explore new insights into perceptions of the value of honeybees and other wild pollinators and how this new knowledge might best be used to influence conservation policy decisions.

The ‘Cross-pollination’ project will address these issues through the development of a collaborative network that brings together prestige and award-winning artists and scientists from the UK, Ireland and the U.S.A., along with key stakeholders including Dr Natasha De Vere (National Botanic Garden of Wales (NGBW)), Dr Beynon’s Bug Farm, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust  and Buglife.

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 will provide an opportunity for experts from different disciplines to share ideas, discuss values, and develop strategies for inter-disciplinary research and dissemination, with a particular focus on working collaboratively to produce exhibitions of artwork that challenge perceptions, that help demonstrate the benefits that pollinators provide and highlight the decline in pollinator populations.

Professor Liggins said: “By drawing on existing networks, the Cross-pollination project will bring together key scientists, artists and stakeholders to participate in a series of exploratory arts workshops that will explore theories of aesthetics, sensory perception, differences in perspectives and language, and investigate possible creative interactions and partnerships”.

“People often think of scientists and artists as being at opposite ends of the spectrum in their work life, even though they may share the same interests in music, theatre and sports for example. It is true that they can work in very different ways and see the world differently, and even use a different language when talking about their work. However, they share a lot of similarities; they are usually passionate about what they do, and do not usually work a 9 to 5 day, but their work can occupy their time, and their thoughts, day and night. Often, for both scientists and artists, their work is a leap into the unknown, and both groups ask the question: ‘What if?’”

Andrea has collaborated with Natasha De Vere (NBGW) on the Barcode Wales project and other UK projects, exhibiting the photography in China and India and at the National Eisteddfod, Llanelli in 2014.

“Artists and scientists have different training and this affects their views of the world. Working with artists helps me see the work from alternative perspectives, helping me come up with new ideas and think more creatively” explains Dr Natasha de Vere.

Prof Mike Christie said: “Over the past 20 years I have been involved in many research projects that have utilised natural science and economic methods to provide evidence to justify and target nature conservation policies. What is novel and exciting about the Cross-pollination project is that we will highlight how art can be used to demonstrate a multitude of ways in which people value nature and explore how this new evidence might best feed into the design of nature conservation policies”.

It is envisaged that around 10 pieces of art will be generated as part of this project and that they will be on display next year at NBGW, Dr Beynon’s Bug Farm, the Heart of Wales Railway line, as well as in China