WordCamp 2015: Creating the Manchester Wapuu

Posted on 15th August 2015 by Andi Wilkinson

What’s a WordCamp you say? WordCamps are locally organised conferences that cover everything WordPress related and are attended by everyone from WordNoobs to experts, creators, & contributors. WordPress if you haven’t heard of it, is responsible for over a quarter of all new sites on the web. As a CMS, WordPress has rapidly increased in popularity and is often our platform of choice. WordCamp told me to create a Manchester Wapuu for WordCamp 2015;  I was ‘proper chuffed’.

Wap-who? Why make a Manchester Wapuu?

So who is Wapuu? Understandably he came from Japan. When Co-Founder Matt Mullenweg visited the Japanese WordPress community in 2009 and they asked could they create a mascot – Matt agreed, but in the true spirit of WordPress it had to be under the GPL licence and Open Source. All original credit goes to illustrator Kazuko Kaneuchi. Since then, Wapuu has often been the mascot of many WordCamps & he has started to represent many countries, so to me it was a great honour to make one!

WordCamp asked me to create a Manchester Wapuu, so immediately the humble bee sprung to mind.  Not everyone knows this but the worker bee is the part of the heraldry of Manchester, appearing on the coat of arms. You will also find bees tiled into the floor of the town hall & often appear on lampposts, bridges & even bins. Of course most people will know them from the tins of Manchester’s famous ale: Boddingtons. The bees signify the hard work & industriousness of Mancunians at that time; the hive of activity the city was during this era & continues to be to this day.  Everyone who knows me, knows I am a proud Manchester lass, so sorry if I’m buzzing on about bees a little too much.

A Co-operative hive

Interestingly for any Rochdalians reading this article, you will know that Manchester is the home and birthplace of the Co-op & when the first store was built in 1867, it featured a beehive & this became a subsequent trend for new cooperative buildings so the links are very strong. With this in mind I felt it was fitting to incorporate the bee into Wapuu for WordCamp Manchester 2015. The upside down W is to signify Manchester and Manchester WordPress User Group (MWUG) also adopted this.

Another cool thing about Manchester is that Mike Little, WordPress’ other co-founder resides here. I caught up with Mike to ask what he thought of my Manchester Wapuu. He loved it and reminded us to submit it back to the archives! So hopefully my little dude will ‘bee’ as popular as some of his friends. Included below are a gallery of my personal favourites – enjoy!

The Unofficial Wapuu Fan Club
Wikipedia: Symbols of Manchester
Creative Tourist: Tour of Manchester – The Bees The Bees!

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