AHRC Sensory Cities Network


By putting research methods at the centre of discussions the Sensory Cities Network will pay particular attention to how the senses and emotional perceptions are evoked in urban environments and to how they can be understood and researched from different disciplinary perspectives such as history, sociology, geography, or museum studies as well as from different professional perspectives such as urban planning, urban marketing or museum curation. By doing so we hope to show how research on the senses helps to understand the relationship between history, personal experiences and feelings of attachments in a multicultural European context.
To do so we are organising four meetings (three workshops and one international conference) in three European cities: Barcelona, Cologne and London to compare urban experience and connect European scholars and urban professionals from diverse fields such as city museum curators, urban planners and urban marketing specialists. The aim of the workshops is to bring together a diversity of experts working on the city and to explore together, existing and new methods to research and represent the sensory emotional realm in cities. To do so the workshops will have an ‘active research day’ component during which participants will trial different methods to research the sensory realm in a particular street in each city. From these discussions an online ‘toolkit’ will be created. This toolkit provides resources and pilot case studies for each city that illustrates some of the sensory methods discussed and developed throughout the workshops.

The project’s key aims are:

  • To explore how from an interdisciplinary and cross-professional perspective, different academic disciplines and urban practitioners (from museum curators to urban marketers) can learn from each other and develop innovative methods to research the sensory-emotional realm in cities both past and present
  • To translate the methodological exchanges into an online toolkit which brings together the rich existing forms of displaying and researching sensory-emotional urban landscapes