Seashell is buzzing about the return of Shellbee, our Bee in the City

Giant sculpture of a bee is back at Seashell Trust

Seashell Trust has been a hive of activity in preparation for the return of its acclaimed Bee in the City.

It was enjoyed by thousands of visitors over the summer at the Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester’s city centre as the only bee on the trail with an inside location.

The 101 sculptures were then shown off in a full swarm for the last time at the National Cycling Centre’s Velodrome before either being auctioned off for Lord Mayor of Manchester’s We Love MCR Charity or returning to their community makers.

Seashell Trust students all have complex disabilities, with many of the children and young people being deaf, visually impaired or both.

Every student at the charity’s special school, Royal School Manchester, had a hand in the making of the bee, contributing the ceramic honeycomb tiles and fused glass inserts in Shellbee’s wings

Shellbee’s interactive features, made to reflect these artists and an audience with sensory issues, were a big hit with bee ‘collectors’.

They enjoyed the lights, sounds, textures and vibrations resulting from touching the hands-on exhibit.

 Lauren Mullarkey, Seashell Trust’s artist-in-residence, who led the project to design and create the unique bee, said: “Thanks to our kind sponsor, Laltex, we were lucky enough to be one of the twenty community groups who worked on a super-sized bee – which means we get to keep our sculpture at the trust (now that the trail has finished) as a forever home. As every student played a part in creating this sculpture, and its multisensory features were created for their wonderful diversity, it makes perfect sense that Shellbee should be housed onsite where they can interact with her and feel proud of their achievements. Shellbee has even inspired to begin a new fused-glass jewellery range – watch this space!”

Shellbee now has pride of place in the Royal School Manchester’s foyer at the charity’s national centre of excellence in care and education for children with disabilities in Cheadle Hulme.