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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

  • Barbara HuberBiomolecular approaches for exploring ancient spices, aromatics, and smellscapes
  • Katarzyna GromekBetween profane and divine - wearable fragrances for health and devotion (zoom)
  • Lisa BrooksMultispecies Sensory Methodologies in the History of Medicine

Chair: Philipp Reick

12.00: Lunch at AIAS (room 1630.301)

Session 2

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

Session 2.A
Room 1630-301

14.00-16.00: Papers

  • Bhavneet KaurEveryday suffocations, smells and sounds of Jung: Ethnography of Tear Gas in Downtown Srinagar (Zoom) 
  • Frank MeyerNorwegian Iron Works as Sensory Sensations, 1700–1900
  • Catriona CooperVisualising the senses?
  • Celia VaraSensorial methodologies: Kinesthetic Empathy (Zoom) 

Chair: Essi Ikonen

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

Session 2.B
Room 1632-203

14.00-15.30: Papers

  • Constance DétroyatSensing divine presence through nature: a sensorial journey through Greek archaic poetry.
  • Sarah EisenThe Theology of Synaesthesia in Ancient Greece
  • Jessica PagaInside / Outside: Experiencing Sacred Space in Greece and Rome (Zoom)

Chair: Iza Romanowska

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

15.45-17.15: Papers

  • Blanka MisicRitual in the Cult of Mithras: Cognitive and Sensory Perspective
  • Daniëlle Slootjes & Mariëtte VerhoevenA city full of processions: on sensory experiences in Byzantine Constantinople
  • Piruza HayrapetyanSenses and Sentiments in Byzantine Hades

Chair: Stuart Eve

Session 3

16.15-17.15 interactive presentations

  • Jeff Kerby & Mads KløvdalAccessing Qikiqtaruk - Climate change impacts VR
  • Lena Trost: (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  

9.30: Coffee 

Session 4

10.00: KEYNOTE Jo Day: We have always been sensory archaeologists: skills, senses and performing (in) the past

11.00-12.30 papers

  • Mira GreenMurmillo: A Biography of a Helmet’s Life from Embodiment to a Life Behind Glass
  • Kamil Kopij 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
  • Camille Thorsted Krog & Lasse Rievers Olesen: Dismantling the Temporal Gap: A Novel Art-Historically Informed Phenomenological Approach to the Study of Past Sensescapes

Chair: Anna Collar

12.30: Lunch at AIAS Hall

Session 5

13.30-15.00 papers

  • Sneha HaldarDarshan: Viewing the divine in Hindu religious practice (z)
  • Ana Rita Figueira Ἐλευθερία: Priam’s sensory approach to Achilles’ εὐδαιμονία (z)
  • Angelika BoeckExploring sensory forms of relating and addressing and related cultural practices of expressing otherness (z)

Chair: Janice Wang (z) and Elisa Uusimäki

15.00-15.30: Coffee break

Session 6

15.30-17.30 papers

  • Emily PriceFeeling Catholic: Touch and Identity in Early Modern Travel Narratives
  • Jenni SahramaaSpiral decorated shawls in Late Iron Age Finland
  • Anna YoungThe Feel of Television
  • Claudia SquarzonSensing the Past: A Sensory Ethnography of Singaporean Hawker Food Markets

Chair: Mira Green

17.45: Wine tasting (AIAS Hall)


The conference is open to all, researchers, students and industry and others interested in the topic. The places, however, are limited. Please note that all physical spots are filled up. Online participation is still available - please sign up here.
Deadline for registration is on 21 April.
NB. Deadline for signing up for wine tasting is on Friday 14 April. 

Call for papers 


Read the full call for papers here.


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