The first part of Aylin Yildirim Tschoepe’s presentation was concluded with a group exercise on sensory mapping through smellscapes.


She offered a variety of scents to the participants, from environment to consumption goods (dirt, fresh grass, dust, pipe tobacco, rye bread). The task was not to guess the smell, but to discuss and define with a partner what memories or narratives of space are unleashed, what moments the respective scent took the participants back to.

This experiment showed that olfactory experiences are based on social and cultural experience, and have an underestimated potential to define space and memory as part of mapping. Scents open whole universes of meaning and memory and therefore lend a richness to mapping space – a thickness of description, which visually focused mapping alone does not convey.

Posted by:Carolin Genz

Carolin Genz holds a master degree in European Ethnology and Urban Cultures from Humboldt-University of Berlin (2009-2013) and is currently doing research at the Department for Cultural and Social Geography at the Humboldt-University since 2015. Her Ph.D. topic is: "Urban Resistance: Upheaval of Civil Society? Ethnographical perspectives on the transformation of urban everyday life“. Specifically, her research focuses on practices of production and appropriation of space, urban governance and digital tools of urban resistance and network practices. Furthermore, she is an academic consultant and member of the advisory board for Gender Mainstreaming and Diversity for the Senate Department of Housing and Urban Development in Berlin.

One thought on “Sensory Mapping through Smellscapes

  1. I find this experiment very interesting and a powerful memory generator methodology. It is hard sometimes to answer to some questions made at a certain moment, because the memory might be a little dusty. When you show this kind of methodology it works and I can tell you from my experience. Once my wife prepared me some food and the smell it generated sent me back in time at my childhood memories when I went at my grandparents house. After that I was able to recall lost memories.
    I have been reading and following your workshop outcomes and I really like them. Continue with the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

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