Interview: Get creative with bees this summer with Exploring Bees

Exploring Bees is a wonderful series of art events taking place in Leicester this summer that will allow children to get creative and learn about nature in the city centre.

From dance sessions to music making and printing, all Exploring Bees workshops are free and suitable for ages 5-10. The workshops take place in central Leicester during the summer, with all workshops taking place at Leicester Gallery at Montfort University, LCB Depot, Museum Square (outside Leicester Museum and Art Gallery) and Orton Square (outside Curve).

Funded by Arts Council England and curated by Leicester-based beekeeper and cultural producer, Liga Orlovska, each workshop allows participants to explore bees in a different way. We spoke to Liga to find out more about the sessions.

Tell us about your background in this field?

I grew up with bees. My mother was a beekeeper, so there was always the smell of honey and wax in our house. My mother was one of those crazy beekeepers who only wore the veil (beekeeping hat). I started keeping bees during the pandemic here in Leicester and the more I learn about them the more I want to share my findings with others.

How did Exploring Bees originate?

Bees are such an interesting insect. As kids, most of us love picture book black and yellow bees, but how much do we actually know about them? Are they also yellow? What are they doing in the hive? I couldn’t think of a better way to tell the story of bees than through various art forms. That’s why it was so exciting to open the hives to artists and give them a chance to look into this secret world of bees. They learned so much and created exciting workshops for kids based on hive inspections.

What do you find so fascinating about bees?

Bees are very well organized; they have thought of everything. The duties of who does what and why in a hive come from those who work as a living organism, you could even say they have a collective mind. Even if the queen sets the mood of the colony and the colony cannot survive long without a queen, bees would easily get rid of a queen that isn’t functioning as well.

What inspires you?

Crazy and out-of-the-ordinary ideas, when someone says it can’t be done. That’s when I get super curious to find out why not and try to find a way to do it twice while working with the most amazing and exciting artists and nature practitioners.

How important is it for people to promote nature in an urban environment?

People live, work and spend leisure time in the city and that connection with nature is important for our well-being, wherever we are. Therefore, teaching people to connect with natural elements in urban areas can not only help us feel better, but also develop environmental responsibilities.

What do people take away from the workshops that take place?

Families with children work together with the musician, dance artist and graphic artist. In these free workshops, they will learn more about bees and how we can all connect with nature in urban areas. In each workshop, participants can explore bees in a different way, form a bee wing orchestra, learn the wag dance, explore the colors of colonies, and make prints of bee’s favorite flowers. Children will not only be able to learn through creative workshops, but will also discover new artistic methods and have fun with their families.

All workshops we give in the city center are free. For dance workshops families have to book, but other workshops can always come by, make and take.

Dates & times

Dance workshops (reservation required):
Wednesday, August 10 – Orton Square (1pm, 2pm)
Sunday, August 14 – Leicester Gallery at De Montfort University (1pm, 2pm, 3pm)
Tuesday August 16 – Museumplein (13.00, 14.00)
Saturday 17 September – Sint-Maartensplein

Music workshops:
Tuesday 9 August – Museumplein (11 am – 2 pm)
Wednesday, August 17 – Orton Square (11am – 2pm)
Saturday September 10 – Sint-Maartensplein (11 am – 3 pm)
Sunday September 11 – Leicester Gallery at De Montfort University (13.00 – 15.00)

Print workshops:
Saturday August 13 – LCB Depot (11.00 – 16.00)
Tuesday, August 23 – Museumplein (11 am – 2 pm)
Wednesday, August 24 – Orton Square (11am – 2pm)
Saturday 3 September – Sint-Maartensplein (11 am – 3 pm)

Dance workshop seats can be booked through Eventbrite. For complete information on Exploring Bees and other Honey Craft events and activities, visit www.honeycraft.org or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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