Ep 15: Our stinking city: the importance of smell when understanding place ft. Dr. Alex Rhys-Taylor


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Smell. One of the five senses. Yet, perhaps one you take for granted until you have a cold?

When you lose your sense of smell, you suddenly realise what an impact it has on your day to day life. It is crucial to the taste of food, reminds you of certain places and people, and it can even inform you of danger.

Today’s guest is Dr. Alex Rhys-Taylor, a sociologist from Goldsmiths University in London. Alex’s work focuses on the multisensory experience of urban space. He has written a book Food and Multiculture: A Sensory Ethnography of East London as well as several papers and articles exploring the multicultural food scene of East London, and has discussed the significant role smell plays in understanding the city of London.

Alex and I chat about how he got into researching smells, why scent is so important when it comes to understanding the world around us, the changing smellscape of London, the attempt to enhance heritage sites using smell, how scents are preserved, changing opinions on the smell of Fish and Chips, and much more!

(Recorded September 2020)

21 episodes