Bees in a Tin – audio recordings

Thanks to the combined efforts of Kim Wall, Leon Trimble and Pete Ashton we garnered enough equipment to be able to record the presentations at Bees in a Tin.

Here they are for your listening pleasure…

Introductions and thanks


Henry Cooke – The Throne at Game of Crowns


Kate Andrew – Marvellous Minerals, Brilliant Building Stones


Dr Rebekka Kill – Facebook is like disco and Twitter is like punk


Morning panel session (chaired by Jen Southern)


Workshop introductions


Holly Gramazio – Games in Places, Places in Games


Gareth Briggs – Animated Typewriter


Keynote: Sarah Angliss – Tuning in


Afternoon panel session (chaired by Hannah Nicklin) and close

Additional thanks to Kim again for minding the sound levels all day and for preparing these files for use here.

Labeling Bees in a Tin

We held the Bees in a Tin event on Friday (the last in our programme of events supported by The Public and Arts Council England).

It was really rather spiffing, but you don’t need to take our word for that: you can see what everyone else was saying on this Storify collection we assembled here.

The hordes waiting to hear about the afternoon workshops in store for them

We’ve been overwhelmed by a deluge of positive, enthusiastic feedback about the day: nearly 70 curious people gathered together to listen to and take part in 13 contributions from interesting and exciting people working across and inbetween loads of different subject areas. Choreography, art, geology, psychology, technology, music, game design…

In the pub afterwards a few of us were trying to find a term to describe the type of projects and people we had encountered during the day. My first attempt was “interstitial studies”, following on from this post and the observation that people didn’t quite fit the usual labels. This was dismissed though, as it felt like it implied that people somehow didn’t have bodies of knowledge behind their work, which we know to be untrue. My second attempt was “impingement studies”, thinking of the interlocking grains of igneous rock crystals that I’d been looking at through a microscope a few hours later. Dismissed for sounding a bit rude.

Stuart shared a nice term from genetics: “hybrid vigour“.

Jen used a nice metaphor in her summary about “bumping up against the edges”.

In the end we decided it was probably best to avoid trying to apply labels…

Below is a slideshow of photos and videos from the day. You can also view them via this set on Flickr.

We also have audio recordings of the presentations.

Bees in a Tin – call for stuff

The call for exciting and interesting things has now closed and we have published our final programme of exciting and interesting things! See for full details. Tickets available from

Bees in a Tin

21st February, 2014 • Birmingham

CALL FOR EXCITING & INTERESTING THINGS! Do you do exciting and (or) interesting things? Then this is for you!

Bees in a Tin is a gathering happening on the 21st of February 2014 for interesting and exciting people who make unique interfaces for the world around them. And we’re currently looking for people to present… interesting and exciting things, experiences, performances, talks, artefacts, ideas and other nouns, at the event.

If you have devised (or are devising) a novel way of interacting with your surroundings that makes people stop, think or just go “wow!”, then we would like to be in the same room as you. Your project could be a performance piece; guided walk; GPS-triggered device; interactive object or something completely different. Surprise us!

We’ve started the programming with a keynote presentation from composer, multi-instrumentalist, roboticist and sound historian Sarah Angliss. What happens next is up to you.

We’ll be in a space that can accommodate talks, workshops and/or playtesting and feedback on work in progress. Tell us how you’d like to feed into the day and we’ll do our best to squeeze in as much amazing stuff as we can.


  • We are unable to offer any technical support beyond provision of Wi-Fi and a laptop and digital projector for the presentations. Please ensure you can be technically self-sufficient if you are proposing an alternative activity.
  • Presentations are likely to be capped at something like 10-20 minutes each in order to allow time for discussion.
  • Although we cannot offer fees for speakers, we have a very limited budget to support workshops and the like that incur materials costs. We’ll pick up conversations about money with individuals after the selection process when we have a better idea of how the event will manifest itself.
  • The event space is at ground floor level, wheelchair accessible and equipped with a hearing loop

To apply:

If you’d like to submit something to our selection panel (Nikki Pugh, Hannah Nicklin and Jen Southern), please download and complete the expression of interest from the link below and send it and any supporting images (less than 3MB total size) to bees2014 [at] manyandvaried [dot] org [dot] uk by 5pm on Wednesday 8th of January, 2014.

Please rename the file with your first and surname at the beginning of the filename. For example: ‘Nikki-Pugh–Bees-in-a-Tin-2014-EOI’

If you have any queries, please contact us.

Key dates:

Deadline for submissions: 8th of January, 2014
Notification of successful proposals: 22nd of January, 2014
Event date: 21st of February, 2014

Event location:

The Gatehouse
The Bond Company
180-182 Fazeley street
B5 5SE


You can download the expression of interest form from either of these links

Bees in a Tin 2014 – EOI (.doc format)
Bees in a Tin 2014 – EOI (.rtf format)


Bees in a Tin is supported through funding from The Public and Arts Council England.

The Public

Arts Council

Goodbye and thank you to The Public


We’ll shortly be off to The Public to do our last bit of on-site work with them (there’ll be a further event in February, but re-located to Birmingham).

The Public closes its doors to visitors on the 16th, with staff finishing later this month.

We just wanted to take this opportunity to give a heart-felt thanks to everyone we’ve encountered since May this year when we started our project there.

Amongst all the hunts for extension leads, getting access to cupboards, fitting bikes in the lifts, noisy bananas all over the place, hammocks strung from the rafters, floors covered in wood chips and random requests to “just hold this wire for a bit”, we haven’t encountered a single person who didn’t do what they could to help out and make us feel welcome.

Thank you to you all and best wishes for whatever comes next.

Introducing the M&V forum

Even if we do say so ourselves, our events at The Public over the summer have been rather a success!

The main metric here being how often we’ve been asked when we’ll be doing them again. In the case of the Maker Nights, some of our regulars decided that they didn’t want to wait and that they were going to keep the sessions running until the venue closes next month. (See John’s post asking for people to get involved with trying to make stuff happen after that.)

Until our conference-ish event Bees in a Tin due in the Spring, Many & Varied don’t have any more public events scheduled as part of this pilot programme. We know there are a lot of you out there wanting to keep the momentum going though, so we’ve built a forum to provide an online space for conversations to keep happening in.


You can find the forum at

We’ve been trialling it over the last couple of months, but we’re sure there are further improvements that can be made once more people begin to use it and it starts to settle into whatever shape it will take. Let us know if you have any suggestions.

As well as the usual areas for talking about your projects and sharing stuff, there’s a calendar for events and workshops that you can add to, so hopefully you can find things to keep you occupied until M&V return with another programme of events!

The announcements section doubles as our mailing list, so if you want to receive emails regarding Important Things, then all you need to do is register for the forum and anything posted here will automatically be sent to your email address too.

So, handing it over to you now: sign up and get talking!

BANANAS! (Sunday)

Well, the second day of BANANAS! was as enjoyable as the first!


The banana synth was as popular as on the Saturday – the only thing we changed there was to replace some of the blacker bananas. We did tweak a few other things elsewhere though…

Being 2 members of staff down, we couldn’t run the BANANAS! Adventures movie-making activity – but it did mean that the Monkey Maze saw a lot more action.

Masks too, of course:



Once suitably attired, our intrepid trained monkeys entered the perilous maze, ready to be guided around the numerous hazards. That was the plan, anyway: it was interesting to watch how one dad’s idea to send a monkey under the ginormous spider’s web propagated throughout the rest of the day!



This became so much of a thing that some trained monkeys became deaf to any instructions that seemed to be guiding them in any other direction!

Meanwhile we had a couple of extremely dedicated MaKey MaKey tinkerers. We really liked their systematic exploration of all that was possible!




We learned a lot too – for example the grounding properties of the building itself!


Over at the video game area, we had set things up so that the trigger pads for controlling the monkey we some large tin-foil patches taped to the ground just that little bit too far away from each other.


It was great watching families and other groups (we had a Brownie six(?) in at one point) figuring out ways to work together to play the game.




We loved the way this introduced more team-working, creativity and movement.

I think these are my two favourite images from Sunday:



All of our photos and videos from the day can be found at

BANANAS! (Saturday)

Wah-hey! That was fun!

We spent the afternoon at The Public running a series of drop-in activities themed around fruit and technology. There may have been a few monkeys, too…

BANANAS! takes over the Long Room at The Public

We’ve uploaded photos and videos from the day to this Flickr set. Below are but a tiny selection to give you a feel for the day…

Greeting people as they entered the space was our banana synth. We had a few stars happy to have a tinkle, as well as others who explored playing music via their face; seeing how many bananas they could trigger at once (this also required use of the face); and how long a chain of people they could use to play notes.





We had a good selection of monkey masks made, and when suitable kitted up, trained monkeys were sent into the perilous maze to avoid the dangers and try and find the banananananananas of myth and legend.






We also had a table full of experimentation with MaKey MaKey circuits, pencil traces and pineapples.




Skills learned here were then transferred to a selection of monkey and banana-related video games that needed funkier controllers.



Meanwhile, various other bananas could be seen having various exploits around the building as people made some action adventure movies with them.



The good news is we get to do it all again tomorrow between 11 and 2. Come and join us – we think the banana synth alone is worth the journey!






BANANAS! info and ideas

This page give extra information for the BANANAS! event a The Public in August 2013.

Things we used:

MaKey Makey

MaKey MaKey board

MaKey MaKey board

This is the little gadget that we used for the Banana Synth and the game controllers, it helps you make all sorts of different things into touchpad controllers.

Here is their website:


Here are links to some of the games we played with our MaKey MaKey controllers:

Training your Monkey

Here is a Monkey Language sheet for you to download and print.

The inspiration for this activity came from Dr Techniko.

Things you can try at home:

How to tattoo a banana

Step-by-step instructions for how to make cool designs on a banana.

5-minute ice cream

A fabulous way of making your own ice cream!

Banana recipes

If you have more than 5 minutes and want to make some banana-based food, how about trying one of these BBC recipes?