Caitlin sees the situation with the bees as having inherent duality.
“Bees are simultaneously framed as essential to ecosystem survival as well as its greatest threat of destruction if they become extinct,” she says. “My project explores the twin symbology of bees, both in their modern and folkloric connotations, and how it can be used to facilitate greater emotional engagement with the issue of climate change.”
At the heart of Caitlin’s project, though, is humanity.
“Fiction can provide a space to explore topics that we struggle to engage with."
Caitlin Kelly, JCU student
“My work uses creative practice to test the potential of the climate fiction short story to emotionally engage and orient readers with the issue of climate change.”
Are you interested in how you can use the arts to engage with important topics and issues? Consider what you can do with JCU Arts and Social Sciences.
Want to know what all the buzz is about? Check out an excerpt from Caitlin’s piece, The Telling of the Bees:
Melissa gravitated towards the hives, not bothering to put on her suit. Early on, when the university still had resources allocated to making the scientists comfortable, she had personally insisted they install a wrought iron bench, nestled among the flowerbeds, so she could sit and watch the bees. She’d brought a crochet blanket with her on her first trip. It was faded now, with threads coming loose, and she picked at one as she nursed her coffee. Unlike the rest of the bunker, the air was alive. The hum of APOSLE’s machinery could not match the natural sound of the bees as they filled the air around Melissa’s seat. She watched as they settled on the flowers, moving with such determined purpose, oblivious to her presence.
‘I missed you little guys,’ she said, as much to the bees as to herself.
‘I am glad you are back safe, Melissa,’ APOSLE crackled from one of the ceiling speakers.
‘The last hive at the university campus died while I was away,’ she told the AI, staring into her cup, ‘These hives might be the last healthy ones left in the country.’
‘I will not let these hives die, Melissa,’ APOSLE hummed. ‘It is my purpose to protect them.’
‘It’s our purpose,’ said Melissa, smiling up at the blinking yellow light of the camera.
A bee settled on her hand, crawling towards her coffee. Melissa picked it up, careful not to let it sting her, and placed it on the bright face of a flower. The blossom bobbed as the insect crawled into its soft yellow heart, pollen clinging to its fur like gold dust.