UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage


UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage researcher selected for the UCL Cities Partnerships programme

7 December 2022

Dr Cecilia Bembibre's work on the olfactory side of heritage has been recognised with a funding award from the UCL Cities Partnership in Paris

Image of a UCL Museum staff member holding a lab tool next to a display cabinet

The UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage been successful in an application to the UCL Cities partnerships Programme in Paris. The project, entitled The aura of objects: enhancing sensory awareness for curated collections, will be led by Dr Cecilia Bembibre, in collaboration with Dr Francesco Aletta from the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering, Dr Thomas Kador from UCL Arts & Sciences and colleagues from the Osmothèque archive in Versailles/Paris.

Museum collections are valuable gateways to the past: by exploring them we learn about our history and heritage. Our experience of these collections is, almost exclusively, visual. However, research shows that involving the intangible dimension of collections, especially multisensory stimuli, in our engagement with heritage makes the interaction more memorable, enjoyable and meaningful. Heritage professionals, however, are not usually trained in multisensory interpretation of artefacts.

The award from the UCL Cities Partnerships Programme in Paris will fund a workshop designed to addressing that gap, raising awareness of the potential for multisensory engagement and providing useful tools to develop best practice. The workshop will also explore the connection between sensory vocabularies and the London/Paris environment via a sensory walk.

This workshop will be led by the olfactory heritage team at the Institute for Sustainable Heritage, which is has been at the forefront of interdisciplinary research on the role of smells in heritage, and currently heads the olfactory heritage science tasks in the EU Horizon 2020 project Odeuropa. The event will be held in collaboration with the Osmothèque, the world's largest scent archive and a leading international research institution tracing the history of perfumery. Their experienced team will foster the development of sensory vocabularies in the workshop participants, and to lead nose-on experiences of the UCL Object-based lab collections. 

  • Learn more about the UCL Cities Partnership programme here.
  • Learn more about the Osmothèque archive here.
  • Learn more about Odeuropa here.
  • Learn more about Cecilia and her research here.
  • Learn more about our research in olfactory heritage work here.