University's new bee sculpture celebrates Manchester's unique buzz

The ‘Bee inspired’ University sculpture, part of the free public art trail ‘Bee in the City’, has been installed in our John Owens quad.

Kate Eggleston-Wirtz, an American multi-disciplinary visual artist and published poet, has designed the sculpture, using various symbols to illustrate the University. These include an image of the world to illustrate our global links and international investment in people, stars to represent the Jodrell Bank telescope and ‘Stellify’ initiative, hexagonal honeycomb lattice shapes to symbolise both bees and nature, along with the research development of graphene.


It has been a privilege to be given the opportunity to creatively represent The University of Manchester, and be part of such an exciting collective city project. Throughout the making process, the thought ‘Be thankful for bees, for without them we are nothing’ was always on my mind, along with my firm belief in how important education is; learning from and working with each other to support our local and global community.
Kate Eggleston-Wirtz

The University bee joins more than 80 sculptures across the city, including a STEM bee designed by Kelly Stanford who is graduating this summer in History of Art. This design will be displayed at the Blue Dot Festival and then Oxford Road Train Station later in the month.

Commenting on her design Kelly said: “I wanted to get involved with the Bee in the City project because I thought that it would be a great STEM outreach opportunity.

“The best part of the experience has been meeting so many interesting people in such a short time during the bee signing week. I was really surprised with how many people travelled down the workshop to sign the sculpture including President and Vice-Chancellor Dame Nancy Rothwell!

“Collaborating with researchers, allowing them to shape the bee's design through suggestions of imagery and also adding their signatures was a key part of my project. I felt that this would be a great way to represent how large and diverse Manchester's STEM community is!”

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.

The ‘Bee in the City’ art trail will run from Monday 23 July until Sunday 23 September. 

For more information, visit the Bee in the City website.

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