Online and In-Person Talk: Making Space for Smells: Considerations on Exhibiting the Intangible in the U.A.E.

SCENT CULTURE ALERT: Live perfume sampling and incense burning with Francesca Bacci in Amsterdam

On February 13th, 2023, in collaboration with art historian, professor and curator Caro Verbeek, the Odeuropa project will organize a smell talk by Professor Francesca Bacci titled, Making Space for Smells: Considerations on Exhibiting the Intangible in the U.A.E. The talk will be available to watch online and in-person (NIAS Korte Spinhuissteeg 3, Amsterdam, Netherlands). Zoom link and all practical information below. We hope to see you there!

Talk Title: Making Space for Smells: Considerations on Exhibiting the Intangible in the U.A.E.

Within the UAE’s cultural strategies, the codification of perfume as an element connected to local heritage and national identity is emerging. This paper considers how perfume exhibitions construct the conceptual space of national storytelling through case studies, such as Louvre (Abu Dhabi), Perfume House (Dubai), and Oman pavilion (Expo 2020).

Copyright and photo: Francesca Bacci

About the Speaker: Francesca Bacci is Associate Professor and Chair of Arts at Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, and an inter-disciplinary curator specializing in multisensory and contemporary art. Her Fulbright-funded Ph.D. is from Rutgers University. She has taught at Oxford, Harvard and Rutgers University. She co-wrote “Art and the Senses” (Oxford University Press, 2011).

Date: February 13th
Time: 15.30 – 17:00
Location: NIAS Korte Spinhuissteeg 3
Organized by Caro Verbeek (Vrije Universiteit) and Inger Leemans (Meertens Instituut KNAW)
No need to sign up, just come by or join via Zoom (odourless option)

Zoom Link:

https://vu-live.zoom.us/j/98442215362?pwd=L2dQcEFPZjZDKzJHNlpLbWFESlQ0UT09

Meeting ID: 984 4221 5362
Passcode: 679634

Call for Encyclopaedia of Smell History and Heritage ‘Entries’

The sense of smell: a man lying in bed smells flowers as another lights some incense, above, a priest stands before a burning sacrifice of a lamb. Engraving after G. Collaert, 1630, after N. van der Horst. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Public Domain Mark.

One of the exciting outputs of the Odeuropa project will be a free, publicly-available, Encyclopaedia of Smell History and Heritage. This will be composed of 120 ‘Entries’ written by smell-history, -culture, and -heritage experts and a series of 24 ‘Storylines’ that explore the links between smells and key themes over time. 

In the first two years of the project, we have developed fantastic tools for identifying and collecting references to smell events in historical texts and images from the 1600s to the 1920s. We have gathered an extensive range of data available through our dedicated Smell Explorer (some 218903 text extracts and 4690 images, with more being added!). 

It has now got to the point where we are beginning to write Entries and Storylines for the Encyclopaedia using this wide-ranging, multi-lingual, material. This is where we want to offer an opportunity to smell researchers interested in Europe’s smell history to get involved. There is a world of expertise on smell and its pasts out there (as testified to by our own PastScent group and the Odeuropa network). We want to draw on that expertise.

We are therefore asking for expressions of interest in writing an Entry for the Encyclopaedia.  We are particularly looking for entries on smells (e.g gunpowder; civet; smog), smellscapes/places (e.g coffee-houses; gas-works; ships), emotional responses to smells (e.g disgust, fear, nostalgia) and noses/olfactory expertise (e.g apothecaries; sanitarians; artists). Each entry can be between 2,000-5,000 words long and will also incorporate multiple images. 

We have an existing list of potential entries but are also open to ideas for entries based on researchers’ expertise and what they can find in our data. The only stipulation is that the entries should look at the period between 1600 to 1925 (or a period within it), that they should focus on Europe (or a place within it, including its global connections), and that they should draw (though not exclusively) on the data in the Odeuropa Smell Explorer.

All entries will be reviewed by two other researchers and the projected timeline from commissioning an entry to the final draft is expected to be 2-3 months. The Encyclopaedia will be published online in late 2023 near the end of the Odeuropa project. If you are interested in writing for the Encyclopaedia then please email william.tullett@aru.ac.uk, who can share a sample entry, an entry-writing form, and a list of suggested entries. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email him!