What does your sense of smell mean to you?

The best public engagement is underpinned by world-class research. In March, the Institute of Philosophy’s Centre for the Study of the Senses held a launch event for the national charity Fifth Sense that brought together leading researchers, clinicians, campaigners and loss-of-smell sufferers to raise awareness of the effect on people’s quality of life if they lose their sense of smell. What we know as ‘taste’ is really taste, touch and smell; you don’t have strawberry receptors on your tongue, for example – that’s all smell. – Professor Barry Smith, Institute of Philosophy The Centre for the Study of the Senses often calls on its wide range of international partners to create events that bring the latest findings to the national subject communities and the wider public. Its launch event for Fifth Sense included an international workshop, open to all interested parties, that featured leading researchers on olfaction (the sense of smell) from philosophy, psychology and neuroscience. Jay Gottfried (Chicago) discussed the close connection of sense of smell to memory and emotion; Juyan Lim (Oregon) explained why odours reaching our nose from the mouth are experienced as tastes. Ilona Croy, from Europe’s leading centre for the study of olfaction in Dresden, and Spanish philosopher, Marta Tafalla, spoke about the many roles smell plays in everyday life. Marta, who was born without a sense of smell, and unable to taste most flavours, spoke movingly about her search to find out what she was missing. Philosophers and psychologists from the universities of Glasgow, Oxford, Roehampton and Warwick were invited to comment on these talks. The following day, the team from the Centre joined together with clinicians, medical researchers, campaigners and anosmia (loss of smell) sufferers from Fifth Sense to explore life without this sense. Patients spoke of the emotional changes the loss had caused, while others spoke of ways...

Connecting Latin America and Caribbean scholars across the UK

The regional seminar series scheme at the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) has made an important contribution to enhancing and strengthening the sharing of research and developing of national networks outside of London. While many research seminars are held in London across different universities, it is not always possible for researchers across the UK to go to them, and regular attendance is very difficult. Scholars of Latin America and the Caribbean are also widely dispersed geographically, so the Institute’s scheme provides support for conveners in regional universities to organise a seminar series around a particular theme in order that they can meet and attend more regularly than would otherwise be possible. A key aim of the scheme has been to encourage inter-institutional collaborations between regional universities in the UK. Instead of showcasing the research of one institution or department, organisers of the seminar series are asked to hold events across two or more universities. The funding we received from ILAS could not have come at a more opportune moment. [It]… enabled us to work together in order to increase the visibility of American and Latin American Studies [and…] to demonstrate to our respective institutions the significant potential for growth and future cooperation in this area. [We] hope to be able to work together in the supervision and training of new doctoral students in the future. – Dr Sarah Bowskill, Newcastle University. In March 2014, Newcastle University approved the establishment of a Research Centre in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. By encouraging an interdisciplinary approach and facilitating networking, the series will have an impact on the regional Latin American scholarly communities beyond the events themselves. In Wales, for example, the seminars have led to a research group being formed to focus on connections between Cuba and Venezuela, the establishment of a database of Latin Americanist scholars working in...
The Naukratis Project

The Naukratis Project

  One of the most important activities of any SAS Institute is to promote and encourage cutting-edge research and to ensure that the results of projects are given the widest possible circulation among the whole research community and to a wider audience. The Naukratis Project is one example of how the Institute of Classical Studies (ICS) uses its limited funding to do just this. Given in May 2014 by Naukratis Project members at the British Museum, led by Alexandra Villing, a curator in its Department of Greece and Rome, this lecture was highly successful. It highlighted the Institute’s important work in publicising new research and fostering debate with implications for many different humanities topics. The Institute is collaborating with the Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy to support this international and interdisciplinary project, which involves some 70 institutions worldwide with contributions from ICS researchers. Naukratis is a famous archaeological site in the Nile Delta, which was excavated repeatedly in the 19th and 20th centuries, most famously by Sir Flinders Petrie who rediscovered the site in 1884. Founded in the seventh century BCE and still active into the seventh century CE, the city was an important trading port, having documented connections with 12 different Greek cities, here involved in a unique economic venture on Egyptian soil. Classical scholars have traditionally viewed the site as essentially Greek, in effect a Greek colonial settlement founded, occupied and sustained by Greek traders and settlers, perhaps even against initial Egyptian resistance. The Naukratis Project aims to reassess this conception critically, combining the work of Classical and Egyptological historians, archaeologists and scientists. At its core is the online publication that, in the virtual space of the internet, reassembles some 20,000 finds from these earlier excavations, distributed today between some 60 museums worldwide, where they have remained largely unstudied and unpublished....