Forum Centre News

Meet our Bee Artist, Overgrown Bee

Lizzie Rose Chapman is a designer and print maker based in Manchester. She is most content in her studio surrounded by a collection of plants, paints and pencils, drawing the day away. Paint brush in hand and a cup of tea never too far away, her creative process starts from the basics with pencil and paper and the seeds of an idea waiting to bloom. Curious creatures, dazzling birds and peculiar plant life are by far her favourite things to draw. Lizzie's love for nature is an endless source of inspiration and really shines through the art work she creates.

All of her work is hand drawn and lovingly hand painted using a mixture of watercolour, gouache and acrylic, anything she can get her hands on really. Smaller details within her illustrations are tentatively drawn using very fine paint brushes, pencil crayons and coloured pens.

As a creative being, Lizzie has an innate hunter-gatherer curiosity, a love for the weird and wonderful world of objects in natural history museums and the amazing stories that go with them. Nothing gets her imagination going more than a visit to a museum or exploring a botanical garden, ''They really paint a picture of far-away worlds and the strange creatures that inhabit them. Story-telling and adventure are what drive me creatively,'' says Lizzie.

Lizzie graduated from Leeds Arts University with a first-class honours degree in printed textiles and surface pattern design. Since spreading her wings, Lizzie has designed interior and fashion prints and currently spends her days working on commissions and freelance design projects. She loves running screen printing and lino-printing workshops with her very talented illustrator sister Laura-Kate too!

Children and young people of Manchester get creative for public art trail

Up to 30,000 children and young people are unleashing their creativity for Bee in the City, a mass participation public art trail taking place across Manchester from July until September this year.

- Participants range from 18 months to 18 years old
- 130 schools and youth groups from across Manchester 
- Bee sculptures on public display in high-profile city centre venues

Presented by Wild in Art and backed by Manchester City Council, the Bee in the City trail brings 100 super-sized Bee sculptures to the streets in a celebration of the city’s creativity and pioneering spirit. Each Bee is crafted by a different regional artist and is sponsored by a local or national business. Alongside these giant Bees, 130 educational establishments including primary, senior and special schools, nurseries and library groups, finished decorating their Bee sculptures at the end of June as part of an inspiring Bee in the City Learning Programme.

Some schools have involved every pupil in creating their design, whereas some ran competitions to select a winning artist. The designs explore a range of themes from equality and diversity to school values and local history.

Some schools’ designs are based on famous figures they have studied in lessons, such as Prospect Vale Primary School’s Beenigma. Their design celebrates the life and achievements of computer scientist and mathematician Alan Turing, known for his code-cracking at Bletchley Park during WWII, and the work of Manchester-born Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.

Other schools’ designs focus on the history of their local area. Russell Scott Primary School’s Bee Mad is inspired by Denton’s hat industry of the 1880s, and references Alice in Wonderland due to the ‘mad hatters’ disease caused by mercury poisoning in hat making. Godfrey Ermen Memorial School remembers the Victorian mill owner their school is named after, whilst Boothstown Methodist Primary School have called their Bee Arthur after the very first pupil to attend the school.

Many schools are celebrating the diversity of their pupils, including Burnage Academy for Boys, Ellesmere Park High School and Withington Girls’ school, who have all decorated their Bees in the flags of countries their pupils and their families are from. Inscape House School specialises in teaching children on the autistic spectrum, so pupils past and present have decorated the Bee in multi-coloured hexagons to represent the diverse nature of autism.  

Other Bees feature the things that pupils love about Manchester, from famous Mancunians to well-loved buildings and locations. They also acknowledge the city’s bravery and strong sense of community, as some schools have chosen to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the Manchester Arena attack last year.

The Learning Programming will officially launch on Wednesday 4 July when the schools and groups come together for the Hive of Creativity Festival; a celebration of the young people’s involvement in Bee in the City. Some of these school Bees are already on display on the concourse at the Forum; others will go on display in 19 venues across the city centre and further afield, including Manchester Cathedral, the National Football Museum, the Royal Exchange Theatre, Longsight Library, and the Stables Café in Heaton Park. At the end of the trail each school or group will be able to keep their Bee as a lasting legacy for their pupils.

Ben Reed, Head of Creative Development at Wild in Art, said:
‘Some of the schools’ Bees are just as creative as the professional artists’ Bees. They have had to come up with inventive ways of involving the whole school, such as running competitions for the design or covering their Bees in a fingerprint from every child. The schools have had so many original ideas and I can’t wait to see all their Bees on the trail.’

Bee in the City

We are delighted to be supporting Bee in the City, a spectacular public art event taking place from July - September this summer. Over eighty individually designed, super-sized Bee sculptures are winging their way to Manchester to form a world-class, free art trail across the city’s streets, parks and public spaces.

The event’s 3-D Bee sculpture has been inspired by Manchester’s iconic worker bee which has been part of the city’s heraldry for over 150 years and is synonymous with the city’s pioneering and industrious spirit. Bee in the City will bring together the business and creative sectors with local schools and communities to celebrate Manchester’s heritage and showcase its diverse cultural offer and artistic talent.

At the end of the trail, the Bees will be auctioned off to raise significant funds for The Lord Mayor of Manchester’s We Love MCR Charity to improve the lives of Manchester residents and help them reach their full potential.

To find out more about Bee in the City visit

Follow Bee in the City on Twitter @beeinthecitymcr  #beeinthecity

Age Friendly Wythenshawe launched

Wythenshawe’s own age friendly network launched with a lively event at the Forum that gave a flavour of the activities and support available in the area. Visitors joined in with Tai Chi, Aqua Zumba, static cycling, local history, crafts and many other activities.

In the company of the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Cllr Eddy Newman and Eamonn O’Neal, broadcaster and deputy lieutenant of Greater Manchester, visitors to the launch clearly engaged with the positive ageing theme.

Councillor Eddy Newman said: “I am really pleased to be at Wythenshawe Forum for the launch of the Wythenshawe Age Friendly Network. Age Friendly Manchester has a well deserved reputation for promoting inclusion for older people in Manchester. It is great that there is now a focus on older people in Wythenshawe.

“There are many community groups and other organisations in Wythenshawe which cater for older people. It is good to see them working together under the Age Friendly banner which ensures that people can speak up with their own views about their issues and priorities.”

The launch acted as an introduction to the Age Friendly Wythenshawe fortnight from 19 June to 2 July.  Venues around Wythenshawe offered activities and events to showcase the diverse range of support and things to do for the over 50s.

As host venue for the launch, the Forum showcased its wide range of age friendly activities including Grand Day Out, dementia friendly swimming, Easy Rhythms, Total Body Conditioning and Simply Circuits exercise classes, Aqua Zumba, walking football, chess, calligraphy, art, crafts, bridge and reading groups.

The Manchester Age Friendly strategy highlights that as the older population increases, it is important to ensure good quality of life.  Age Friendly Wythenshawe aims to be an even better place to grow older, and residents are invited to have a say in how relevant provision evolves.


Better for You

The Forum Centre's leisure facilities are now operated by GLL under the 'Better' brand. The wide range of facilities and great deals on memberships remain. Find out more by visiting the new leisure website - for fulll details on classes, timetables, memberships, and real time information.

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