Insect Breeding Institute (2019-ongoing)

School of Insects @ Trumpington Park, Cambridge
The Insect Breeding Institute (IBI) is being established to explore a new insect aesthetics. The Insect Breeding Institute is being created on the same site as the Planting Breeding Institute which was in existence from 1912-1987, established to apply Mendelian laws of inheritance to crops of economic importance under the Directorship of Sir Roland Biffen. The IBI comes as insect populations reach a critical point.

The UK’s first Insect Breeding Institute School – Trumpington Park aims to engage Cambridge communities with insects, and engage insects with them, experiment with new ways of empathising with insects through aesthetic research and co-design with and for insects.

Our initial programme will consist of a Foundation course in insect aesthetics with Prof John Drever (acoustics ecology – Goldsmiths), Klara Ravat (olfactory arts), Lorelei Lodestar (composting, breeding), Matt Hayes (insect ecology & conservation, University of Cambridge), Dr Alex Murdin (insect infrastructure, taste and politics), Tess Tallula (visual arts, costume), Charlotte Milbank (epidemiologist & food security, University of Cambridge).

The IBI has been working with keen entomologists from the University of Cambridge on ways of supporting insect life in both public and private spaces. Inspired by a their survey of insects in the pond at The School of Insects @ Trumpington Park, here is their guide to making mini ponds to fit the smallest of outdoor space, in a planter or even window box.

Mayfly larva

The project has been commissioned by Commissions Projects on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council and Cambridgeshire Primary Education Trust.