What is Bee in the City?

Bee in the City is a large scale public sculpture trail taking place all over Manchester this summer. It will be one of the most spectacular public art events to take place in the city.

Over 100 giant Bee and 130 medium-sized Bee sculptures are waiting to be discovered on this free, family-fun trail, taking in the city’s landmarks and undiscovered gems. Each Bee has been designed by a different artist and celebrates the unique buzz of Manchester, from its industrial heritage to its vibrant music scene. An inspirational learning project has given schools, colleges and youth groups the chance to take part and design their own medium sized Bee.

When and where will it take place?

The event is taking place in Manchester for nine weeks from 23 July – 23 September 2018.

The sculpture trail will cover the City Centre and will also reach into Manchester City Council’s wards, ensuring that sculpture locations are easily accessible to everyone. A trail map and app will be produced to help people navigate around the trail.

How many Bees are there on the trail?

There will be over 100 giant Bees decorated by professional artists and community groups, and over 130 medium sized Bees decorated by 120 schools in and around Manchester.

Is it free?

Yes, it’s free to take part in the trail. Most of the Bees are located outside, and there are also sculptures located inside venues which are free to enter.

How can I find the Bees?

You can find the Bees with a trail map or by downloading the Bee in the City app. There is more information about both the map and app below.

Where can I pick up a trail map?

You can download both the giant Bee and little Bee trail maps from our website.

You can also pick up a trail map from map hubs across the city.

Where can I download the app?

The Bee in the City app is available to download from Monday 23 July from the App Store and Google Play. The app costs £1.99, and for each purchase 25% of the net profit is donated to the Lord Mayor of Manchester’s Charity Appeal Trust, registered charity number 1066972.

With the app you’ll be able to collect Bees, unlock rewards, view your progress on the trail and add your photos to our online gallery. Visit the Bee in the City App page for more information.

Can you post me a map?

Unfortunately, we aren’t able to post out maps. You can download a copy from the website or pick up a map from one of our city hubs, listed here.

Should I start in a particular place on the trail?

You don’t need to start in a particular place or complete the trail in a certain order. It is designed so you can see any of the Bees whenever you like, however please check the opening times of any venue to wish to visit if the Bee is located inside.

How can I travel around the trail?

We encourage people to walk, run or even dance around the trail! Please remember to wear comfortable shoes, as you’ll be walking a long way if you want to complete the full trail.

Bee in the City is a perfect excuse to get the whole family together for a day out. You can explore the trail by Metrolink with a Family Travelcard from just £6.70. The Metrolink has 93 stops across Greater Manchester so you can use your travel card to hop on and off to see the sculptures.

Are all of the locations wheelchair accessible?

Yes, all of the outside locations are wheelchair accessible. If you’re visiting a Bee inside a venue it’s best to contact that venue directly for more information.

You can find out more information about Blue Badge parking in Manchester City Centre here.

You can find out more information about accessible travel within Greater Manchester here.

Is there an audio description of the Bee in the City trail?

The staff at Henshaws (with a helping hand from Apple’s synthetic ‘Samantha’ voice for one the sculptures!) have been busy bees creating audio readings of the descriptions inscribed on each of the large Bee sculptures on the Bee in the City trail. Listen to them here. 

Just find the sculpture’s unique app code (it’s on the plaque of each Bee, in the top right hand corner) that you wish to hear about, and click the audio file to hear it. Henshaws have listed the sculptures in numerical ascending order and grouped them into playlists of 10, to make it easier to sort through using VoiceOver. If there’s a particular bee you’d like to hear and are struggling to find, please get in touch with them on 0300 222 5555 or email manchester@henshaws.org.uk.

Who’s signature is on I Wanna Bee Adored?

Zingy lemon-covered bee I Wanna Bee Adored, designed by Lesley Hamilton and sponsored by Deloitte UK, has been signed by Gary Mounfield a.k.a Mani from The Stone Roses. Mani has written his signature on the top of the Bee’s leg. Can you spot it?

Pictured: Mani signing I Wanna Bee Adored

Who’s signatures are on I’d Rather Bee Cycling?

Olympic champions Laura Kenny and Elinor Barker have signed the Bee, which is located at the HSBC UK National Cycling Centre, the venue for the Bee in the City Farewell Weekend. Read more.

Where is Agnes Bee-den Powell?

Agnes has flown from her plinth and into the Great Northern. She can be seen inside the venue, a 2 minutes walk from the original location on the square.

I’ve spotted a Bee that has been damaged. How should I report it?

If you find a damaged Bee, please text the Bee name and location, and a brief description of the damage to: 07957 677467.

Will there be Bee in the City merchandise? Where can I buy it?

Yes, there will be Bee in the City merchandise and souvenirs. There will be a pop-up shop in the Corn Exchange and also an online shop. We’ll keep you updated on the opening date.

Is Bee in the City a memorial event following the Manchester Arena terror attack?

Bee in the City is not a memorial or commemoration event.

The bee emblem took on extra resonance in the aftermath of the Arena attack last year when it was widely used as a symbol of the city’s solidarity and resilience. Whilst Bee in the City is not part of the commemorative programme around the 22 May, it takes place in this enduring spirit and recognises the extra poignancy of the bee symbol.

Do any of the Bees reference the Manchester Arena attack?

Some of the schools involved have chosen to pay tribute to the 22 people who lost their lives in the Manchester Arena attack. We have grouped all of these Bees together in Manchester Cathedral so that people can view them in a quiet and peaceful place. They are displayed alongside other designs which celebrate the unique spirit of Manchester, as well as those that call for kindness, tolerance and respect in our wider communities.

Is it a fundraising event?

Bee in the City is raising funds for The Lord Mayor of Manchester’s We Love MCR Charity (The Lord Mayor of Manchester’s Charity Appeal Trust, registered charity number 1066972), which works to improve the lives and life chances of Manchester people. The We Love MCR Charity aims to support residents who are in the greatest need, helping them to reach their full potential. The charity provides support to local community groups, projects and individuals through two funds – the Community Grants Programme and the Short Breaks for All Grant Programme. Every penny raised stays in Manchester, bringing positive benefits to communities throughout the city.

Please note: The We Love MCR Charity should not be confused with the similarly named We Love Manchester Emergency Fund, which was set up following the Manchester Arena terror attack to help support victims.

Why is the sculpture a bee?

The worker bee is one of the best-known symbols of Manchester. Unique to the city, it has been an iconic part of Manchester’s coat of arms since 1842 and has become synonymous with Manchester’s spirit of enterprise, resilience and industriousness.

How does the event work?

Businesses, community groups and education establishments are invited to sponsor a blank worker Bee sculpture – ‘the canvas’. These individually designed Bees will go on display through streets, parks and public spaces across Manchester, creating a stunning art trail for the public to enjoy.

Artists who are well-known, emerging and as yet undiscovered submitted unique designs to be considered for the trail. The Bee in the City team had the difficult task of shortlisting almost 400 submitted designs down to 180, and then the sponsors picked their favourites at a special art selection event back in April.

The successful artists are commissioned and paid an honorarium to customise each sculpture.

30,000 children and young people are taking part in an inspiring Learning Programme around the project. 120 schools are decorating a total of over 130 medium sized Bees which will be displayed as part of the trail. Each school Bee will be returned to the school for them to keep after the trail.

Community groups will have the opportunity to work with local artists to create their own Bee which will be displayed as part of the trail and returned to the community as a legacy of the project.

Residents and visitors will explore the trail with a printed Bee in the City map and/or the app, which will help them navigate around the city, discover new places and unlock exciting sponsor rewards.

What is the Community Programme?

Teams of residents from across the city have taken part in workshops with professional artists to design and create 23 very special Bees displayed across the north, south, east and centre of Manchester, and Greater Manchester.

Funded by the communities themselves, or by a variety of grants, this inspiring showcase of ideas, topics and issues that are particularly meaningful to the groups involved and their members. The Bees will be returned to the community as a legacy of the project.

Who has organised Bee in the City?

Wild in Art is the producer of Bee in the City. It is responsible for delivering all aspects of the event, from securing the sponsorship, running the Art and Creative Learning Programmes, the operations and logistics, event management and marketing.

The event’s aims support the overall aims of the ‘Our Manchester’ strategy, which has set a long-term vision for the city’s future.

Why has Wild in Art produced Bee in the City?

2018 marks the 10th anniversary since Wild in Art was founded, and what better way to mark this milestone than an event in the organisation’s home city? When the opportunity arose with Manchester City Council to present one of the most ambitious art events the city had ever seen, Wild in Art could not let it pass – the team felt it was more important than ever before to creatively celebrate everything that is great about Manchester.

Manchester City Council recognises the key strategic role that culture plays in the social and economic life of the city. Wild in Art is ‘buzzing’ to have the Council’s support to present a fun and innovative cultural event that makes art accessible to everybody.

Who are the lead partners?

The event is being created for Manchester by Wild in Art with support from Manchester City Council in support of The Lord Mayor of Manchester’s charity – We Love MCR Charity.

How has Bee in the City being funded?

Staging large-scale events requires a lot of upfront investment. Bee in the City has been ‘seed’ funded by Manchester City Council, with the aim of generating significant social, creative, tourism and economic impact benefits for Manchester.

Although the project received initial funding from Manchester City Council, companies in the private sector have further supported the project through sponsorship packages.

The money from the purchase of these sponsorship packages goes towards covering the cost of manufacturing the sculpture, paying the artists who decorate the sculptures, and the entire event infrastructure, operations and logistics for putting the sculptures on the streets, and all Bee in the City associated events.

Who are the sponsors?

You can find a full list of the Bee in the City sponsors here.

Who are the artists?

You can find more information about the artists here.

Does Bee in the City feature only Manchester artists?

Regional artists with a Manchester connection were encouraged to submit their design ideas. However, to ensure that the pool of designs was as extensive as possible, artists from further afield could also apply. The Bee in the City team considered the design first and foremost for its quality, followed by the artist’s locality, as well as other factors specific to the event.

Does every Bee sculpture feature different designs?

Yes, each sculpture will feature its own unique design. Expect an amazing array of designs showcasing a range of styles, techniques and themes, and some Mancunian visual puns!

Who designed the Bee sculpture?

The 3D Bee sculpture has been custom designed by Wild in Art’s Creative Director, Chris Wilkinson. He has designed many other Wild in Art sculptures, always producing a canvas that enables artists to create hundreds of designs utilising just one sculpture. He keeps the sculptures as simple as possible so that an artist can interpret in their own style.

What happens to the Bees when the event has finished?

At the end of the trail the colony will come together for a special Farewell Event, giving people a last chance to see the Bees, take their final selfies and even meet some of the artists who created them.

After that, the Bees will take centre stage at a glittering Auction in October 2018 to leave a lasting legacy for various local charitable causes via The Lord Mayor’s We Love MCR Charity.

When and where is the Farewell Weekend?

The Farewell Weekend is 12 – 14 October at the HSBC UK National Cycling Centre.

This will be your last chance to see all the big Bees together before they are auctioned to raise money for The Lord Mayor of Manchester’s We Love MCR Charity. Take selfies, snapshots and a last lingering look at all your favourites before they take off. Find out more here.

When and where is the auction?

The Auction is 17 October and we’ll be announcing the location soon.

Place your bid for a chance to take your favourite Bee home with you. You can register your interest to attend here.

How much will I have to bid to buy a sculpture at auction?

Starting bids will start at between £3000 – £5000. To register your interest visit our auction page.

Can I buy blank sculptures?

Blank Bee sculptures, both small and large, are not available to buy currently.

This is to protect the value of the Bee in the City sculptures that will be auctioned to help raise funds for the Lord Mayor of Manchester’s We Love MCR Charity. To register your interest in the auction, please fill in this form.





Bee in the City 2018

Bee in the City 2018