Bees, ecology, democracy


URBAN BEES – bees, ecology, democracy

Bees are of great importance for mankind. Not only because they secure the pollination of a large part of the cultivated and edible plants, or because they produce the precious honey, but since centuries they also have an important cultural significance for humans. We learn from them how humans could live together, with nature and other species respectfully. A bee colony is one organism, one bee cannot stand alone – in our highly individualistic siociety there is much to learn from them about how we should work together in a democratic state.

„URBAN BEES – bees, ecology, democracy“ is an engaged art project, which investigates the questions of living together, democracy and ecology. In the framework of the project a neighbourghhood beekeeing group is founded in the Center for Arts and Urbanistics (ZK/U) and a series of artisanal and artistic workshops with kids and youth is organised.

The beekeeping group and the bee-observing terasse in front of ZK/U

Since 2013 there is a small beekeeing on top of a container in front of the Center of Arts and Urbanistics (ZK/U), which earlier was run by the artist collective Moabees. In the framework of the project URBAN BEES this beekeeping was opened to the public to teach people of all age groups from the neighbourghhood about bees. A community beekeeping group was founded and the container-top was turned into a bee-observing terasse, where people can sit and learn among bee-friendly plants. 

The school project

During the schoolyear workshops with students of different age groups attending the nearby Theodor-Heuss-Gemeinschaftsschule are organised. On these occasions the connection between art and biology, between ecology, economy, pollination and globalisation are investigated. The comparison of collective decision-making in the bee clolony and in human societies brings forth the discussion about democracy. The workshops develop artistic, social, cognitive and artisanal competences. The learning experience is always playful, all senses are activated and the aim is to develop creative expression of the students. Schoolgroups from other schools in Berlin and Brandenburg also come to ZK/U for workshops.


In the main hall of ZK/U a showcase of bees called HOBOSPHERE is installed. In this transparent beehive developped by HOBOS (HoneyBee Online Studies) bees can build up their hive as they would do in nature in a tree hole, and can be observed all through the year. HOBOSHPERE is equipped with sensors and collects data of the bees` activity.


Long day of City Nature and Güterverkehr on June 17, 3-6 pm

Together with Moabees we offer two workshops on the occasion of this city-wide event in Berlin: one about building a sun-powered wax-melting device, another about urban gardening with bee-friendly plants.

Honey movie night on August 25, 5.30-11 pm

The bees of ZK/U invite adults, families and kids to a honey movie night. The event starts with the report of the Moabees summer workshops  at 5.30 pm. At 6 a kid bee movie is screened, followed after sunset by the film classic “El espíritu de la colmena”, the Spirit of the Beehive. Dinner is served from 7.30 featuring mushrooms, apples and of course honey.

OPENHAUS on October 26, 2017, from 7pm

Project closing and final presentation


Would you like to learn beekeeping or get to know more?

Please contact us!

Virág Major flovirag(at), Bärbel Rothhaar mail(at)

Project lead: Bärbel Rothhaar und Virág Major
Partners and Suporters: Theodor-Heuss-Gemeinschaftsschule - Brandenburg International School -  Berliner Projektfonds Kulturelle Bildung - Umweltamt des Bezirks Mitte von Berlin - QM Aktionsfonds - Naturwissenschaftlicher und kultureller Bildungsverbund Moabit HOBOS-Projekt