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2021 BENHS ANNUAL EXHIBITION and Brad Ashby Memorial Lecture

BENHS ANNUAL EXHIBITION and Brad Ashby Memorial Lecture

 Important news for all members regarding this year’s exhibition

Earlier this year, the BENHS Council was hopeful that it would be possible to hold the BENHS Annual Exhibition and the Brad Ashby Memorial Lecture 2021 at Conway Hall, London AND to deliver an online version of the exhibition as well.  (This followed the decision in 2020 to cancel the event in London due to the Covid19 pandemic and saw an online virtual exhibition and lecture delivered in its place.) 

Although the vaccination programme has now been rolled out across the country conveying a level of protection, cases of Covid19 continue to be prevalent and the BENHS Council has had to consider whether this might deter attendance at a London event.  It has also had to consider how to ensure the Society could do all in its power to reduce the risk of members contracting Covid at the exhibition and lecture.

Furthermore, the London Natural History Society, which jointly organises the Brad Ashby Memorial Lecture with the BENHS, has already decided not to hold any meetings in person during 2021.

Consequently, the BENHS Council has taken the reluctant decision to cancel the exhibition at Conway Hall for a second year running and instead to concentrate upon creating a virtual event available online through the website on the Members Only pages.

This decision has not been taken lightly as it is recognised that photographic images do not convey as much to the viewer as seeing the specimen in the flesh.  The exhibition and lecture have also always been an important event in the calendar when members can meet up to reacquaint themselves with old friends and to make new connections with entomological experts and enthusiasts.

In summary therefore please note:

The BENHS Exhibition and Brad Ashby Lecture will now NOT take place at Conway Hall on 6 November 2021. 

Instead the virtual, online exhibition will be declared open on that day from 2.00pm, accessed through the BENHS website and will coincide with an online talk concerning the BENHS’s latest publication ‘British Craneflies’.  Details of the talk and how to log on will be supplied asap and also made available on the website.

 Virtual exhibition entries

BENHS Council encourages all members of the Society to consider submitting one or more entries to the virtual exhibition.  The advantages of this approach include the ability to attract entries from members who would not normally travel to London and it also enables members, wherever they are based in the UK or abroad, to view the exhibits at their leisure.

The virtual exhibits can be set specimens, drawings, artworks, posters, novel items of equipment, historical items, curiosities or light hearted trivia – as long as it can be submitted in advance as a digital photograph.

Digital photographs at the highest resolution possible in any popular format (e.g. jpg, tif, png) accompanied by notes should be submitted to Les Evans-Hill ( by midnight on Friday 22 October 2021 at the very latest. These will then be posted to the Members Only pages of the BENHS website and will go live from Saturday 6 November 2021 and remain available to view until midnight on Friday 26 November, as this year’s virtual exhibition.  In addition, if you would be happy for your images to continue be used on the BENHS website after the virtual exhibition has closed, please indicate that when you submit them to Les Evans-Hill.

(Further details of when the Brad Ashby Memorial Lecture, which is delivered in partnership with the London Natural History Society, will take place will be provided as soon as possible.)

 How to submit a virtual exhibit.

Please prepare a display as you would normally for such an event (e.g. a small case of pinned insects or a piece of artwork) and then photograph it and e-mail to Les Evans-Hill as described above.  (If you are unsure of what is required, examples of this type of exhibit will be available on the Members Only web pages to assist you.)

Please also provide a written set of notes describing the significance or reason for exhibiting, following these guidelines:

  • Include your name, postal and e-mail addresses.
  • Give an indication of the significance of what is exhibited, why it is interesting, what is shown.
  • For specimens, give the locality (including the county), date of capture (in the following format: 22.iii.2021), whether they were at light. Where possible also give the grid reference and the vice-county name and number.
  • Use current scientific names; as well as italicizing or underlining these, please also give the family name and authority. (Please do the same for any foodplants cited if possible.)
  • For British Lepidoptera, please also provide the current checklist number as given in ‘Checklist of the Lepidoptera of the British Isles’ (Agassiz et al., 2013); these numbers are available widely online.
  • This year we will be categorising entries under three main headings of a) set specimens or b) photographs of living insects or c) posters. Underneath those three main categories, entries can be submitted as the following sub-headings  (please provide separate notes for each of the following exhibit categories and indicate on the file name which category you are submitting it under):
    • British Butterflies
    • British Moths – macro
    • British Moths – micro
    • Channel Islands Lepidoptera
    • Coleoptera
    • Diptera
    • Foreign Lepidoptera
    • Hemiptera
    • Hymenoptera
    • Other Orders
    • Unidentified specimens

Please note, images of invertebrates submitted under the ‘Unidentified specimens’ category may prove impossible to identify accurately to species level from photographs.

If you would be happy for your images to be kept online as part of the BENHS website, after the period of the exhibition has closed, please also indicate this.

Prizes for certain categories of exhibit will be awarded.

Photographs of dead specimens of threatened, scarce or reintroduced insects will not be welcome and will not be posted to the website exhibition. The Code for Insect Collecting, endorsed by the BENHS, suggests that a pair of specimens of such species is sufficient. Similarly, long series of any insect taken from a single locality will not be welcome unless legitimate extenuating circumstances (eg an approved and possibly licensed, scientific study) are supplied to the BENHS Council. Any specimens associated with the commercial trade in insects will also not be welcome.

As in previous years, the exhibits and accompanying notes will be published in the British Journal of Entomology and Natural History. In some instances, this may also mean exhibitors may be contacted post-exhibition for further information, to request further images be taken of individual specimens, or to request selected specimens be brought to a future Exhibition for examination.  The opportunity to have your exhibit recorded in the journal emphasises the need for the highest quality images to be submitted if at all possible.

In these extraordinary circumstances created by the continued Covid-19 emergency please support your Society by participating in the exhibition and talk if at all possible, either by providing a virtual exhibit or by attending the exhibition launch and talk, online from 2.00pm on 6 November 2021.