AHRC Sensory Cities Network

Steering group

Beatrice Behlen is the Senior Curator, Fashion & Decorative Arts at the Museum of London. Beatrice studied Fashion Design in Germany before undertaking an MA in the History of Dress at the Courtauld Institute, University of London. Before joining the Museum, Beatrice was curator (collections) at Kensington Palace where she staged several exhibitions including Princess Diana by Mario Testino in 2005/6. Prior to this she worked in a modern art gallery and was a lecturer of the history and theory of dress and design at several art colleges. Beatrice specialises in dress from the 18th century to now and is particularly interested in ready-to-wear, subcultures and dress in literature, see also her blog entries. She is an associate lecturer at Central Saint Martins, teaching a seminar about fashion between the wars.


Manuela Barz (Digital Consultant) is a Senior Lecturer in Digital Culture at the London Metropolitan University, holds a BA in architecture and an MA in Digital Art. She worked as digital designer and lecturer before undertaking studies for a Phd. The research concentrates on the different spatial qualities within a prison for female offenders, the processes leading to engagement with education and educational and regime artefacts  (digital and non-digital) designed and employed in social interactions. Additionally Manuela is interested in the intersections and interrelations of physical and virtual space, user research for digital artefacts and learning networks.

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Judit Carrera is the head of the debates and conferences programme at the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB) and director of the European Prize for Urban Public Space since 2002. At the CCCB, she is also in charge of its Documentation Centre and editorial director of the BREUS and DIXIT collections. After completing a degree in Political Science and Public Administration at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), she obtained a Diplôme d’Études Approfondies (DEA) in Politics at the Institut d’Études Politiques – Sciences Po, Paris. She subsequently worked in the Analysis and Forecasting Office of UNESCO (Paris) and in the International Relations Department of the Barcelona City, coordinating world-wide networks of cities with the United Nations System and the future United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) organization. She writes as a columnist for the newspapers El País and Ara and, since 2011, has been full member of the Culture Council of the City of Barcelona.

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Monica Degen (PI) is a Senior Lecturer in cultural sociology at Brunel University London. Her interdisciplinary work focuses on the sociology of the senses, urban cultures, the politics of the everyday and the experience of design and architecture. In particular she is interested in developing a more sensory-emotional approach to understanding the diverse power relations that underpin urban life and culture. In the last five years she’s been involved in two ESRC projects (in collaboration with G.Rose, Open University). The first one explored a variety of methodologies to research how individuals experience high streets. The second one analysed the ways in which new digital technologies are transforming the way architects work and imagine new urban environments. Monica is the author of Sensing Cities (Routledge, 2008) where she analysed the ways in which urban regeneration processes are structured by and structure sensory experiences of place and public life in Barcelona and Manchester; and The Meta-City Barcelona: Transformation of a Metropolis (Anthropos, 2008) which brings together a range of international academics to critically analyse the urban and cultural transformation of Barcelona since the Olympic Games in 1992. She has just been awarded a British Mid-Career Fellowship (2016-2017) to investigate “The Temporalities of Urban Change.”

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Rebecca Madgin is Senior Lecturer in Urban Development and Management in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Glasgow. Her current research focuses on the emotional and economic values of heritage which are revealed during the process of urban development. Rebecca works in an international context and is particularly interested in the experiential value of the historic built environment during the twentieth and twenty-first century. Contained within this is an examination of the extent to which urban development initiatives consider the sensory dimensions of heritage-led urban regeneration. Rebecca works closely with a number of organisations outside academia and is both an Associate Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and a member of the Editorial Board for ‘Context’, the journal of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation. 

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Gillian Rose is Professor of Cultural Geography at The Open University, UK. Her current research interests focus on contemporary digital visual culture and visual research methodologies. She is the author of Doing Family Photography: The Domestic, The Public and The Politics of Sentiment (Ashgate, 2010) and Visual Methodologies (Sage, third edition 2011), as well as a number of papers on images and ways of seeing in urban and domestic spaces. Gillian blogs at visual/method/culture, and a full list of her publications can be found at oro.open.ac.uk.

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Astrid Swenson (CI) is Senior Lecturer in European History at Brunel University London. She studied History, History of Art and Romance Languages in Mainz and Dijon and received her Ph.D from the University of Cambridge. She was a research fellow in the interdisciplinary Cambridge Victorian Studies Group’s project ‘Past versus Progress in Victorian Britain’, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and a Fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge. Astrid’s research focuses on understanding cultural heritage historically, transnationally and experientally. Her book The Rise of Heritage. Preserving the Past in France, Germany and England, 1789-1914 (CUP 2013) looked at the structures that enabled the emergence of the concept of heritage in Europe and traced the birth of an international preservation movement during the long nineteenth century. While continuing to map the nature of heritage internationalism, her current work focusses more strongly on the role of senses and emotions, through research on appropriations of crusader architecture across the Mediterranean since the 19th century, on art looting in the 20th century, on museum visits in historical perspectives, and reactions to urban environments.

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Alex Rhys-Taylor is a sociologist and deputy director of the Centre for Urban and Community Research at Goldsmiths. His research looks at the relationship between sensory experiences in urban and social formations in the city. His recent publications include reflections of jellied eels and class disgust, mangoes and multiculture and the role of smell-scapes in the production of local senses of place. He has a book due out next year with Bloomsbury looking at the relationship between urban food cultures and processes of social formation. He lectures in the Sociology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London.

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Rita Wagner (M. A.) is the curator for the Graphical Departments of Cologne City Museum. She was born in Brὒhl in 1956 and studied Modern History, Sociology and Journalism at Mὒnster University. She has been working since 1984 at the Cologne City Museum and her areas of expertise are: photography, painting, fashion and textile, and Cologne’s history since 16th century (especially social history and history of gender). Furthermore, she is responsible for the permanent exhibition of the museum and participating in the planning of the museum’s new building near Kὄln’s cathedral. Currently she is preparing her next exhibition „Cologne unvarnished. Wilhelm Scheiner as a photographer“ (1880–1914) and its catalogue (to be displayed in November 2015).

Recent Comments

    Sensory Cities

    MoniDegenMonica Degen
    @MoniDegen:
    RT @ProfGillian: Posthuman Agency in the Digitally Mediated City - my latest paper is online now and you can get a free copy here: https://…
    4 months ago
    _NinaJMNina Morris
    @_NinaJM:
    Great to see geographer @ProfGillian on Smile! The Nation's Family Album on @BBCFOUR #photographs
    4 months ago
    ProfGilliangillian rose
    @ProfGillian:
    honoured by this endorsement from someone using Stiegler in such interesting ways - thanks James! https://t.co/mtGfMgT1Bn
    4 months ago
    ProfGilliangillian rose
    @ProfGillian:
    RT @allartmarkets: Representing the claim that smart data can make everything great @OliverZanetti @AMValdez_OU #digimethods https://t.co/8…
    4 months ago
    OU_FASSFASS@OU
    @OU_FASS:
    RT @allartmarkets: Making a city smart takes much more than data infrastructure @OliverZanetti @AMValdez_OU @ProfGillian #digimethods http…
    4 months ago
    allartmarketsLiz McFall
    @allartmarkets:
    Making a city smart takes much more than data infrastructure @OliverZanetti @AMValdez_OU @ProfGillian #digimethods https://t.co/KHtQQaCIEG
    4 months ago