In Brief

Telling the Bees is an interdisciplinary project working with Tay Landscape Partnership (TayLP) to develop new understandings of beekeeping practices through ‘future folklore’ for new and future generations of beekeepers. The future folklore prototypes will be a community resource and also a probe for academic communities, prompting questions on the role of folklore, literature, tacit knowledge, and traditional ecological knowledge structures. The project runs from April 2015 until March 2016.

Community Partner

TayLP is a Heritage Lottery Funded public and third sector partnership, with a remit to work with communities in the Perth and Tayside to “reconnect residents and visitors with the natural, built and cultural heritage of the area”.

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Project Team

Dr. Toby Pillatt

Dr. Toby Pillatt


Toby is a Senior Research Associate at the University of East Anglia and Visiting Researcher at the University of Sheffield. Toby is a landscape archaeologist with a background in post-medieval landscapes in Britain, the intersections between art and archaeology, and how the process of researching community heritage can help transform the present. In addition to his work on Telling the Bees, he is currently researching tree health and the structure of rural tree populations from 1550 to 2015, as well as social haunting in former mining communities on the South Yorkshire coalfield.

Dr. Deborah Maxwell

Dr. Deborah Maxwell

Principal Investigator

Debbie is a lecturer in design at Theatre, Film and Television at University of York. Debbie’s research considers the way that people interact with and reshape technology and the roles that storytelling can play across media. Past research includes her ethnographic doctoral research working with traditional professional storytellers in Scotland, mobile digital interpretation projects in rural Northumberland, and the design of digital tools to facilitate and encourage serendipitous encounters in research.

Dr. Niamh Downing

Dr. Niamh Downing


Niamh is Senior Lecturer in English at Falmouth University. Her research is in 20th and 21st century literature, particularly in the field of literary geographies, environmental discourse, and spatial practice.

Liz Edwards

Liz Edwards


Liz is a designer and PhD student based in HighWire Centre for Doctoral Training at Lancaster University. Her interests include the design of digital-nature hybrid technologies to support engagement with the natural world. Her research involves the use of a values-led design process drawn from critical theory of technology.

Morvern Odling

Morvern Odling


Morvern is a freelance multi-disciplinary artist and designer based in Edinburgh who participates in projects across the U.K. and abroad. Her practice spans from sculpture to photography, from textiles to digital fabrication and more often than not is derived from an intimate knowledge of both material and process.

Advisory Group

Owen Pilgrim

Owen Pilgrim is a professional storyteller and artist with an enthusiastic interest in how the relationship between people, the land, the creatures of the land, and the mythical realms are translated into story and folklore, and the role this plays in shaping our perception and understanding of our environment and ourselves.

Dr Rebecca Marsland

Dr Rebecca Marsland (Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh) is the PI for the project Beelines, funded by the ESRC’s Transforming Social Sciences scheme, and a beekeeper. Her research interests are in human-animal relations, medical anthropology and the anthropology of development. She is currently completing a book on the politics of “traditional” knowledge in Tanzania.

Dr. Ewan Campbell

Dr. Ewan Campbell (School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen) is part of a BBSRC funded grant with the National Bee Unit and bee health company Vita Ltd to develop an applied solution to help tackle Varroa mites. He is also a beekeeper and has strong links with the Scottish Beekeepers Association and other local associations.

Dr. Michelle Bastian

Dr. Michelle Bastian (Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh) is a Chancellor’s Fellow working on the interconnections between time and community. She was the PI of Connected Communities funded projects ‘In conversation with…:co-designing with more-than-human communities’ and ‘Memories of Mr Seel's Garden: exploring the past and future of local food in Liverpool’.

Project News

Workshop 2: Building on the Buzz

In a much belated post, our second workshop took place in August 2015 and built on the stories and ideas generated in our first workshop. The day kicked off with […]

The Beespoon - photography by Lindsay Perth

How Much Honey Does a Beespoon Hold?

How Much Honey Does a Beespoon Hold?: TayLP Fruit Festival If you’ve been following the progress of Telling the Bees over the past year, you’ll know that we (a few […]

The Large Honey Collider

Telling the Bees invites people from different backgrounds (beekeepers, storytellers, designers, environmental humanity scholars and many more!) to share knowledge and experience at our final Telling the Bees event in […]

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