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Making Sense of Sensory Studies

An International Conference on Sensory Studies

Dates: 27-28 April 2023

Venue: AIAS

Recent archaeological, historical, and ethnographical research has witnessed a phenomenon that can be called a sensory turn or even a sensual revolution with a growing number of publications aimed at sketching the sensory landscapes of past societies. In these recent studies, several methods to trace the ephemeral and already vanished sensory encounters have been developed from the more traditional approaches to more experimental ones.

The workshop Making sense of sensory studies aims to bring together the trailblazers of sensory studies in social sciences, archaeology, and history, for sharing the best methodological developments in recent sensory scholarship.

Keynote speakers 

Helmi Järviluoma-Mäkelä (Cultural Studies, University of Eastern Finland, and Visiting Professor at Turku Institute of Advanced Studies)

William Tullett (Sensory History at the Anglia Ruskin University)

Jo Day (The School of Classics, University College Dublin)


Thursday 27 April 

9.00: Coffee 

9.15: Opening words 

Session 1

9.30: KEYNOTE William Tullett: The Molecular Commons: Writing Interspecies Sensory Histories in the Chemocene

10.30-12.00: Papers

  • Huber Barbara: Biomolecular approaches for exploring ancient spices, aromatics, and smellscapes
  • Gromek Katarzyna: Between profane and divine - wearable fragrances for health and devotion
  • Brooks Lisa: Multispecies Sensory Methodologies in the History of Medicine

12.00: Lunch at AIAS

Session 2

13.00 KEYNOTE Helmi Järviluoma-Mäkelä: Sensobiography as a mobile search for relational knowledge

Panel 2.A

14.00-16.00: Papers

  • Kaur Bhavneet: Everyday suffocations, smells and sounds of Jung: Ethnography of Tear Gas in Downtown Srinagar
  • Meyer Frank: Norwegian Iron Works as a Sensory Experience, 1700–1900
  • Cooper Catriona: Visualising the senses?
  • Vara Celia: Sensorial methodologies: Kinesthetic Empathy

16.00-16.15: Coffee break (for session 2.A in 1630.301)

15.45-17.15: Interactive presentations

Panel 2.B

14.00-15.30: Papers

  • Détroyat Constance: Sensing divine presence through nature: a sensorial journey through Greek archaic poetry.
  • Eisen Sarah: The Theology of Synaesthesia in Ancient Greece
  • Paga Jessica: Inside / Outside: Experiencing Sacred Space in Greece and Rome

15.30-15.45: Coffee break (for session 2.B in 1632.203)

15.45-17.15: Papers

  • Misic Blanka: Ritual in the Cult of Mithras: Cognitive and Sensory Perspective
  • Slootjes Daniëlle & Mariëtte Verhoeven: A city full of processions: on sensory experiences in Byzantine Constantinople
  • Hayrapetyan Piruza: Senses and Sentiments in Byzantine Hades

Session 3

16.15-17.15 interactive presentations

  • Kerby Jeff & Mads Kløvdal: Accessing Qikiqtaruk - Climate change impacts VR
  • Trost Lena: (Digital) Glass Tasting 

Blind tasting & smelling exercises

17.15-17.45 Sensory walk

17.45.-19.00 Reception at AIAS (Room 1630.301)

19.15 Dinner for keynote speakers

Friday 28 April  

9.15: Coffee 

Session 4

9.30: KEYNOTE Jo Day Title: TBA

10.30-12.30 papers

  • Green Mira: Murmillo: A Biography of a Helmet’s Life from Embodiment to a Life Behind Glass
  • Kopij Kamil et al.: Can everybody hear me? Can everybody see me? The study of audibility of speech and visibility of speaker in the context of Roman political meetings
  • Thorsted Krog Camille & Lasse Rievers Olesen: Dismantling the Temporal Gap: A Novel Art-Historically Informed Phenomenological Approach to the Study of Past Sensescapes

12.30: Lunch at AIAS

Session 5

13.30-15.30 papers

  • Haldar Sneha: Darshan: Viewing the divine in Hindu religious practice
  • Figueira Ana Rita Ἐλευθερία: Priam’s sensory approach to Achilles’ εὐδαιμονία
  • Boeck Angelika: Exploring sensory forms of relating and addressing and related cultural practices of expressing otherness

15.30-16.00: Coffee break

Session 6

16.00-17.30 papers

  • Price Emily: Feeling Catholic: Touch and Identity in Early Modern Travel Narratives
  • Sahramaa Jenni: Spiral decorated shawls in Late Iron Age Finland
  • Young Anna: The Feel of Television
  • Squarzon Claudia: Sensing the Past: A Sensory Ethnography of Singaporean Hawker Food Markets

17.45: Wine tasting at AIAS (AIAS hall)


The conference is open to all, researchers, students and industry and others interested in the topic. The places, however, are limited and registration (opened later this year) is necessary. There will be no registration fee, but we will organize a themed wine-tasting with a small fee.

Call for papers 


Read the full call for papers here.


The conference has received funding from the Carlsberg Foundation and AIAS.