Preview: Who’s The Pest @ Wellcome Collection

Nordic Food Lab '34 bags in window'/ Credit Claes Bech-Poulsen

For those who shriek at the sight of a spider, or get freaked out by flapping moths, a festival closely examining invertebrates may, or may not, be very appealing.

Aimed towards bug lovers, chompers and smiters, Who’s the Pest (18 April-16 May) is an educational and fascinating symposium exploring our complex, symbiotic relationship with our creeping crawling neighbours, taking place at Wellcome Collection, in collaboration with cultural organisation Pestival.

A series of (mostly) free debates, installations, walks and workshops, spread over the month, have been specifically cultivated to challenge our perceptions of life alongside arthropods and invites participants to view existence from both sides of the undergrowth. There are talks such as Insects Vs Humans (16 May) and the Secret Insects of Bloomsbury (18-20 April), an excursion with Dr James Logan, which takes you on a journey to unearth indigenous dwellers and leads a unique insight into ‘the macabre entomological collections’ of the Grant Museum.

At the heart of the showcase lies the very serious issue of sustainable livestock. With mini multi-legged animals providing low-fat, high-protein nutrition to 80% of the world’s population, the solution to the impending global food crisis could be right under our feet. Therefore focus is heavily shifted towards the culinary culture of bug consumption, with Susana Soares’ installation Insects au Gratin (23 April-5 May), while inquisitive foodies can (intentionally) ingest insects at Exploring the Deliciousness of Insects (£50, 30 April, 1 May), in an extraordinary opportunity to sample buggy dishes executed by the experimental Nordic Food Lab, a body for culinary research established by the founders of Noma (yes, that’s ‘the best restaurant in the world’ Noma). If that wasn’t exciting enough, TED speaker Professor Marcel Dicke will be engaging in further discussions over canapés.

Whatever your stance on the little mites living rent free in your digs, it’s set to be an illuminating, thought provoking experience. Although, if your arms are feeling more than a little bit itchy after reading this, might be best to give it a miss. No, there aren’t any spiders on you. Yes, we promise.

The Wellcome Collection is at 183 Euston Road, NW1Booking for all paid events and free events in April will open on 22 March. Booking for free events in May will open on 26 April.

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