The University of Reading houses one of the largest collections of bee-related material in the United Kingdom. The works contained within provide vital insights into historic social and political perceptions of the world’s most important pollinators. This exhibition showcases some of the most significant apian-related works, held by the University and beyond, from the sixteenth to the twentieth century which demonstrate how social and cultural perceptions of bees and hives changed as British society evolved.
This exhibition is the output of a Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP) project undertaken in the summer of 2020. Entitled ‘Bees in the Collections’ this project set out to explore the rare book collections of the University of Reading to examine the linguistic and social meaning of bee colonies within varying political contexts. The political climates examined ranged from early modern absolute monarchy in Britain, to British colonial endeavours in India.
Online exhibition curated by Olivia Blackburn.
The UROP project, ‘Bees in the Collections’, was supervised by Professor Helen Parish and Dr Rohan Deb Roy from the Department of History, University of Reading.