Stories in a beespoon: Exploring future folklore through design

Deborah Maxwell, Liz Edwards, Tobias Pillatt, Niamh Downing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

78 Downloads (Pure)


This paper explores the role and potential for design as process, artefact and experience to help frame and address societal problems. We consider this through examining a future folklore dialogical object, designed to stimulate conversation and question assumptions. Beekeeping is a particularly rich context with which to adopt this methodological approach, given the significance of global threats to insect pollination aligned with beekeeping’s extensive cultural heritage. By drawing on past narratives and contemporary knowledge and practices, the Beespoon, a small copper spoon representing the amount of honey a single bee can make, was codesigned as an experience that actively engaged people with concepts of work, value and pollination. Our design process oscillated across past, present and future stories – the Beespoon as future folklore artefact and experience reflects this complexity, operating across time and value systems to provide new ways to think about how we perceive and understand bees.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of DRS 2016
Subtitle of host publicationDesign + Research + Society - Future-Focused Thinking
EditorsPeter Lloyd, Erik Bohemia
Place of PublicationLoughborough
PublisherDesign Research Society
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventDRS 2016: 50th Anniversary Conference - Brighton, United Kingdom
Duration: 27 Jun 201630 Jun 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of DRS 2016
PublisherDesign Research Society
ISSN (Electronic)2398-3132


ConferenceDRS 2016: 50th Anniversary Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • future folklore
  • codesign
  • storytelling
  • objects

Cite this