It is commonly accepted that our sense of smell is linked directly to our emotions and our memories. The year-old project Odeuropa is applying state-of-the-art AI techniques to historical texts and image datasets that span four centuries of European history, to identify and trace how smell was expressed in different languages, with what places it was associated, what kinds of events and practices it characterised, and to what emotions it was linked.
The curated research is being used to create novel ways of exploring European cultural heritage. These new storylines are being developed for varied formats for different audiences: as an online ‘Encyclopaedia of European Smell Heritage’, as ‘interactive notebook’ demonstrators, and in the form of toolkits and training documentation describing best-practices in olfactory museology.
The goal of the Odeuropa project is to show that critically engaging our sense of smell and our scent heritage is an important and a viable means for connecting and promoting Europe’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
Check out the Smell Explorer for a olfactory European tour. Or Launch of City Sniffers: A smell tour of Amsterdam’s ecohistory cpmplete with scratch and sniff maps.