Smell and the City

Urban smell enthusiasts

Smellwalking in Manchester as part of the International Congress for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, Manchester, 22-28 July 2013

SW10

The cooling and restorative environment of Manchester Canal

I had a wonderful time yesterday afternoon smellwalking with a group of very interesting people as part of the International Congress for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, Manchester, 22-28 July 2013. The Congress is the largest in its field staged only once every four years, and attracted more than a staggering 1750 delegates from all around the world.

In our small but enthusiastic group of around fifteen smell-walkers, we had people from many different countries and it was fascinating to find out the similarities and differences between what people thought about the smells they detected. A student of mine recently undertook smellwalks in Birmingham with Chinese and English people (speaking in their mother tongues) and found that the way they experienced and described odours were at times, very different, although there were also many similarities.

SW5

sniffing out smells of ventilation in Manchester’s alleyways

But back in Manchester, we started at the Manchester Museum and sniffed out odours all the way from the University campus, into the heart of the city centre, walking along the Oxford Road Corridor. Once arriving in the Oxford Road Station area, we picked up the same route as the DIY Downloadable Manchester smellwalk, click here to download your copy so that you can walk the walk at your heart’s content.

And what were the favourite and least favourite odours detected as part of our tour? Well coffee appeared as both a favourite and a least favourite odour, highlighting once again the huge difference which can occur in individual’s perceptions of the same odours. Chlorine too was liked by many of the participants, associated with good times and holidays although for one participant, it was a dreadful smell! The least liked smells included traditional villains: urine, cigarette smoke, waste, exhaust fumes and… baby vomit! The most favourite included that emitted by an open air fruit stall on Oxford Road, wood chips, flowers, and perfume… and for the grand finale: green jasmine tea in Chinatown which I have to say, was an absolute olfactory treat!

SW3

Enjoying or being replused by the chlorine smells at Manchester’s Aquatics Centre

Thanks go out to my colleague Vladimir Jankovic from the University of Manchester’s Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine for both inviting me to lead a smellwalk as part of the conference, and showing he is a man of many talents by kindly taking the photographs along the way.

Advertisements

2 comments on “Smellwalking in Manchester as part of the International Congress for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, Manchester, 22-28 July 2013

  1. Pingback: My Book ‘Urban Smellscapes’ now out in the UK and 9 Sep 2013 in the US | Smell and the City

  2. Pingback: The Sensing Spaces Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts – Join me there for London Smellwalk & Talk (21 March 2014) | Smell and the City

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on July 25, 2013 by in Smell and the City Project.
%d bloggers like this: