Bruntwood and Manchester Science Partnerships have unveiled their designs and artists for this summer’s Bee in the City public art event, which aims to connect, inspire, and bring huge enjoyment to all communities in Manchester through the power of creativity.
MSP’s bee takes its inspiration from the Transformers character Bumblebee. It will be the most technologically advanced of more than 100 bees which will swarm into Manchester between July and September.
Reflecting MSP’s belief in the power of partnership, the creation of the 6ft tall bee will be the result of a collaboration between two of its customers, Cisco and Dicey Tech, working alongside Manchester-based artist Sumit Sarkar, to bring the sculpture to life.
Dicey Tech, based at Manchester Science Park is 3D printing parts of the bee which will be attached to the sculpture. Cisco, also based at the Park and MSP’s partner in the Mi-IDEA post-accelerator programme, is installing interactive sensors to the bee and donating recycled tech equipment, which will be moulded on to the sculpture.
Tom Renn, Managing Director of MSP said: “Bruntwood and MSP are delighted to be sponsoring the Bee in the City initiative.
“As companies we are both huge supporters of the arts and we believe this is a brilliant way of encouraging communities across Manchester to engage with art, celebrate our city’s industrious and collaborative values and also give talented up-and-coming Manchester artists a fantastic platform.
“Forming new partnerships is at the heart of what we do, so we are delighted to bring two of our customers into this project to create the most hi-tech bee in the ‘hive’ to life. The finishing touches are currently being added and we can’t wait for the unveiling at the Bright Building.”
Sumit Sarker said: “I'm really looking forward to the project going live. It's going to be great for the city to be filled with colourful, sculptural art. There's a lot of love for the bee so it will be sweet to celebrate it.
“I had proposed a few different ideas for the Bee in the City project and was super chuffed when I heard MSP were sponsoring my bee. Collaborating with MSP, Cisco and Dicey Tech is amazing and means together we can create some really interesting and unique robotic sculptural parts for our bee.”
Sarah Martin, Programmes and Partnership Manager at Cisco said: “Technology is changing our world. It impacts the everyday, and in ways that we have a responsibility to ensure are for the better. We were thrilled that MSP asked us to be technology partner for this bee, as the installation highlights the role that technology can play for good. It addresses areas such as smart nature, the circular economy and the Internet of Things (IoT) in an accessible way. Our involvement follows phase 1 of our bees with backpacks project, completed last year in partnership with MSP. Using reused Cisco technology and sensors, we will allow the bee to interact with passers-by, but we don’t want to give too much away so watch this space and come find our bee to have a look for yourself.”
Alex Alexandrescu, one of the founders of Dicey Tech, said the business was “thrilled” to be part of such an exciting project.
“As a company focused on bring the power of technology into schools through the use of 3D printing, this project is a perfect fit for us.”
The bee - BZZX!, will be based at the Bright Building at Manchester Science Park, which will be hosting a science and technology education event as part of the Bee in the City community out-reach programme on July 4.
Bruntwood, which is also sponsoring the Bee in the City project, will be locating its bee at Hatch on Oxford Road.
Kate Vokes, Bruntwood Director of Culture, said: “This is a fantastic project which harnesses Manchester’s globally-symbolic bee to bring together the people and organisations that make this city so special, while allowing our talented homegrown artists to express themselves.
“At Bruntwood we’re committed to fostering these links and supporting initiatives which bring together existing communities – while creating new ones. Not only is this an integral part of placemaking, it’s key to ensuring that growth and prosperity in city regions can be felt by everyone who lives there.”
Designed by Kim Hubball, a Manchester artist and graphic designer, her bee, called ‘My Heart Belongs in this Place’, pays homage to Manchester’s worldwide reputation as a cultural hub, as well as its dynamism, resilience and optimism.
She explains: “The design explores what Manchester means to me – from Afflecks Palace, indie clubs and its legendary music scene.
“The colourway is our homage to the yellow and black from the Hacienda and Peter Saville’s chevron design for Factory Records, whilst the rainbow of colours symbolises a diverse, collaborative city where great creative things happen.”
'My Heart Belongs in this Place' Bee
Inspired by Manchester’s worker bee emblem, which has been part of the city’s heraldry for more than 150 years, Bee in the City is a community-focused public art initiative supported by Manchester City Council and delivered by Wild in Art.
Wild in Art is a global producer of spectacular and accessible public art trails, with a track record of delivering events that deliver significant economic, artistic, social and charitable impacts.
After the Bee in the City trail, the bees will be auctioned to raise significant funds for The Lord Mayor of Manchester’s charity- We Love MCR Charity to improve the lives and life chances of Manchester people.
MSP’s Bright Building opened in September 2017 and was part-funded by the North West Evergreen Fund (backed by the European Regional Development Fund), and Greater Manchester Combined Authority.