This co-production workshop was held on Thursday 29 March 2018 at the Yorkshire Museum in the York Museum Gardens. It brought together a diverse team of local people interested in protecting the future of insects from researchers to artists, to representatives from conservation bodies.

The aim of the event was to start to develop a programme of activities for ‘The Pollinarium’ – an open-air laboratory cum artistic installation which will be erected in the Artist’s Garden behind York Art Gallery between July and October 2018 and which will engage the public with the vital role of pollinating insects to maintaining healthy ecosytems, to food production and ultimately to human health.

The workshop incorporated a range of hands-on activities inspired by meta-design principles which seek to maximise the generation of creative ideas and foster a sense of collective ownership in the subsequent sharing and developing of these ideas.

Participants were asked to bring along an object/prop that connected to their own practice and interests and with the workshop theme. They were then asked to explain what the significance of their chosen item was to them plus its broader cultural and economic significance and relationship to issues of environmental sustainability. The exercise provided an effective starting point from which to build a shared language within the group.

Working in mixed groups, the workshop participants were then invited to share ideas, experiences and identify the most important themes in the area of pollination and insect conservation to engage people with. Each group was tasked with generating collective proposals that were shared at the end of the day with the other groups and were noted down so that they can be built on.

The workshop was successful in its aims of establishing an open and collaborative network of enthusiasts, scientists and artists concerned about sustainable innovation and the future of insects and of imagining a range of activities in an immersive environment which will promote engagement with these themes and enable new paradigms and stories that will radically change how we humans think and act in the world.

The next stage is to establish a consolidated team and a plan of action to carry on shaping and co-developing the innovative and imaginative ideas that emerged from the workshop so that they can be realised in time for the opening of the ‘Pollinarium’ in July.