Exhibition and talks to share latest research into taste, smell and multisensory perception

Friday 21 November 2014

Exhibition and talks to share latest research into taste, smell and multisensory perception

Press Release 11 November 2014

‘The Hidden Senses: the secrets of taste and smell’, 21 November 2014, will share the latest research into multisensory interactions involving taste, smell and the other sensory modalities being carried out by psychologists, neuroscientists and philosophers working on the Rethinking the Senses project.

‘The Hidden Senses’ will include interactive talks, a public lecture and demonstrations that will challenge your preconceptions about your senses of taste and smell. Themes include how vital smell is to flavor perception, the many ways in which what you see impacts on your experience of eating and the remarkable connections between smell, memory and emotion. The event brings researchers from the humanities and sciences together with artists, experts from the world of perfumery and Fifth Sense, the UK’s first charity for people affected by taste and smell disorders, to engage with the public and convey the significance of our chemical senses.

Professor Charles Spence (Oxford) will give a public lecture on The Perfect Meal, drawing on his extensive research into multisensory food perception. The talk will move beyond the contributions of smell and taste to flavour perception, to examine how the other senses contribute in astonishing ways to our dining experience. Professor Spence will also be signing copies of his new book ‘The Perfect Meal: the Multisensory Science of Food and Dining’, co-authored with Betina Piqueras-Fiszman.

Award-winning perfume writer Persolaise and perfumer and perfume historian Stephen Nelson, will talk about the history of perfume and how we can capture the qualities of scent in prose. Dr Jonathan Silas and Dr Margot Crossman will lead an experimental demonstration on fragrance and memory, and Dr Ophelia Deroy will explore the plating of food in collaboration with the experimental team from a 3 star Michelin restaurant.

A collection of demonstrations will allow you to investigate the research for yourselves using your own senses of taste and smell. Highlights include the Scentee, a device for your mobile that digitalises smell created by Professor Adrian Cheok of the Mixed Reality Lab, and Fifth Sense’s Smell the Difference challenge. ‘The Lab’ will show how taste and smell are tested in the laboratory and an interactive art installation from photojournalist Eléonore de Bonneval will reveal the value of our senses of smell in our daily lives.

‘The Hidden Senses’ will be held at the Science Museum’s Dana Centre on 21 November 2014. Demonstrations, interactive installations and testing in The Lab will run from 2pm until 8pm and are open to all. The public lecture (2.30pm and repeated at 7pm) and interactive talks (3.30pm and repeated at 5.30pm) are free but booking is required. Information about booking can be found at www.thesenses.ac.uk/.

‘The Hidden Senses’ is part of the programme of the national Being Human Festival of the Humanities (beinghumanfestival.org/), organised by the School of Advanced Study. This public event showcases the work of the Rethinking the Senses project (www.thesenses.ac.uk/).

The Rethinking the Senses project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Science in Culture theme.

Find out more about the event at www.senses.ac.uk and follow the latest news on Twitter at @rethink_senses

Journalists interested in attending should contact Alisa Mandrigin at A.Mandrigin@warwick.ac.uk or 07734 689194.

Notes to Editors

1. For further information or to request an interview:
If you are a journalist and require further information on The Hidden Senses: the secrets of taste and smell, please contact Alisa Mandrigin, 07734 689194 / A.Mandrigin@warwick.ac.uk

2. The Hidden Senses: the secrets of taste and smell will be held on Friday 21 November 2014 from 2pm to 8pm at The Dana Centre, 165 Queen’s Gate, SW7 5HD

3. Rethinking the Senses: uniting the philosophy and neuroscience of perception is a three-year collaborative research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of the Science in Culture theme. Find out more at www.senses.ac.uk.

4. Science in Culture is one of the key themes identified by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as a focus for research funding. The Science in Culture theme aims to encourage mutual exchange between researchers working across the sciences and the arts and humanities. The Science in Culture theme invites arts and humanities researchers to go beyond the investigation of the cultural contexts for science and seeks to show ways in which that research contributes to and informs scientific research. Find out more at www.sciculture.ac.uk.

5. Being Human: A festival of the humanities 15–23 November 2014
What does it mean to be human? How do we understand ourselves, our relationship to others and our place in nature? For centuries the humanities have addressed these questions. Artists, writers, philosophers, theologians and historians have considered who we are, how we live and what we value most. But are these long-standing questions changing in 2014? We are more connected than ever, yet we spend more time with smart phones and computers than face to face. The world is becoming smaller, yet the digital information we can access and store, even about ourselves, is vast and growing. Developments in science and technology are moving fast, challenging our understanding of the self and society. What sense can we make of these changes and what challenges do we face? We need the humanities more than ever to help us address these issues and provide the means to question, interpret and explain the human predicament. 
The festival is held as part of the School of Advanced Study’s 20th anniversary celebrations and draws on the success of the 2013 King’s College Festival of the Humanities. Being Human will be the UK’s first national festival of the humanities. Led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy, and universities, arts and cultural organisations across the UK, it will demonstrate the value, vitality and relevance of the humanities in 2014. Find out more at www.beinghumanfestival.org or follow the festival on Twitter at @BeingHumanFest

6. The School of Advanced Study (SAS) at the University of London is the UK’s national centre for the promotion and facilitation of research in the humanities. The School brings together 10 prestigious research institutes to offer unparalleled academic opportunities, facilities and stimulation across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. The member institutes of the School are the Institutes of Advanced Legal Studies, Classical Studies, Commonwealth Studies, English Studies, Historical Research, Latin American Studies, Modern Languages Research, Musical Research, Philosophy, and the Warburg Institute. The School also hosts a cross-disciplinary centre, the Human Rights Consortium, dedicated to the facilitation, promotion and dissemination of academic and policy work on human rights. Find out more at www.sas.ac.uk or follow SAS on Twitter at @SASNews.

7. The British Academy is the UK’s national champion of the humanities and social sciences. As a Fellowship of distinguished scholars and researchers from all areas of the humanities and social sciences, it promotes these disciplines and facilitates the exchange of knowledge and ideas. It funds research across the UK and internationally, and seeks to raise understanding of some of the biggest challenges of our time through policy reports, forums, conferences, publications and public events. For more information, please visit www.britishacademy.ac.uk. Follow the British Academy on Twitter @britac_news.

8. The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. www.ahrc.ac.uk