The Hidden Senses: the secrets of taste and smell

Speaker: Various
Date: Friday 21 November 2014 2:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Venue: The Dana Centre, 165 Queen's Gate, SW7 5HD
See all events at: The Dana Centre
Experience a day of activities that will challenge your understanding of your senses of taste and smell

The Rethinking the Senses team will be sharing current research into multisensory interactions involving taste, smell and the other sensory modalities. Some of the things we will be looking at include the way in which taste and smell contribute to flavour, the impact of the visual appearance of food on our experiences of eating, the objectivity of olfactory experience and how research into our experience of strawberries is revealing the impact of sound on gustatory experience. [Read our blog posts]
[View the story “The Hidden Senses: the secrets of taste and smell” on Storify]

The programme of events will include a public lecture, interactive talks and demonstrations and testing in The Lab, an area set up to show how taste and smell are tested in the laboratory.

Booking is now open for our ticketed events but there are plenty of activities to participate in throughout the afternoon so if you are unable to book onto an event with limited capacity, please do still come along to see our research in action through interactive experiments, artist installations, as well as fun smell and taste activities.

2.00pm: Event starts
2.00-8.00pm: Interactive experiments, ‘The Lab’, plus the opportunity to meet the team
2.30-3.30pm: Charles Spence on ‘The Perfect Meal’, followed by book signing (1st session)
3.30-5.00pm: Mini talks & live demonstrations (1st session)

  • 3.30pm: Stephen Nelson (Darasina Perfume) – writing about smell and perfumes
  • 4.00pm: Jon Silas and Margot Crossman (University of Roehampton) – Fragrant memories
  • 4.30pm: Ophelia Deroy – plating ideas

5.30-7.00pm: Mini talks & live demonstrations (2nd session)

  • 5.30pm: Ophelia Deroy – plating ideas
  • 6.00pm: Persolaise – writing about smell and perfume
  • 6.30pm: Jon Silas and Margot Crossman (University of Roehampton) – Fragrant memories

7.00-8.00pm: Charles Spence on ‘The Perfect Meal’, followed by book signing (2nd session)
8.00pm: Event ends

What’s On

In a set of interactive demonstrations, the Rethinking the Senses team will be challenging preconceptions about taste and smell with the help of jelly beans, tasting strips, magic sushi and smell pens.

Professor Adrian Cheok (City University) and Emma Yann Zhang will be showcasing the Mixed Reality Lab’s Scentee, and explaining how digitalising smell improves virtual communication.

Fifth Sense – the UK’s first charity for people affected by smell and taste disorders – will be talking about the importance of the sense of smell to our lives and inviting guests to Smell The Difference.

Jonathan Silas (Roehampton) and Margot Crossman (Roehampton) will be leading an experimental demonstration on fragrance and memory that will help us understand the Proust phenomenon.

Award-winning perfume writer Persolaise and Stephen Nelson will each be talking about the history of perfume and how we can capture the qualities of scent in prose.

  • Writing about our sense of smell with Stephen Nelson: he will be exploring historical categorisation; the vocabulary of perfume; Steffan Arctande; the classification of smell; olfactive families.
  • The award-winning critic and author, Dariush Alavi, who writes under the pseudonym Persolaise, will focus on perfume. Although scented products have been used for millennia and are arguably a key component of contemporary culture, many people find it difficult to articulate their thoughts and views about them. In an entertaining, interactive session – which will also offer an overview of the history of perfume – Alavi will describe different ways in which olfactory experiences can be expressed in words and shared with others.

Ophelia Deroy (London), a member of the Rethinking the Senses team, will explore the plating of food in collaboration with the experimental team from a 3 star Michelin restaurant.

‘THE SENTIMENTAL SENSE: Exploring memory and emotion through smell’
Photography & interactive exhibition by Eléonore de Bonneval

Ticketed events
*Please turn up at least 10 minutes in advance or your ticket may be released*

Charles Spence will be giving a public lecture on ‘The Perfect Meal’ at 2.30pm and 7pm, as well as signing copies of his new book, The Perfect Meal: The Multisensory Science of Food and Dining, co-authored with Betina Piqueras-Fiszman. [Book now]

Join us at either 3.30pm or 5.30pm for live demonstrations on:
1. Fragrant memories: an experimental demonstration & discussion, with Jon Silas and Margot Crossman
2. The history of perfume and hear about writing on our sense of smell, with Stephen Nelson (1st session) and with Persolaise (2nd session)
3. The plating of foods with Ophelia Deroy, in collaboration with a 3 Michelin star research kitchen [Book now]

Part of the national Being Human Festival of the Humanities, this public event showcases the work of the Rethinking the Senses project.