Sensory Research in the Humanities: An Introduction to Five Methods

With thanks to funding from the Wellcome Trust, following discussion at the MedEnv workshop held in Bristol in Summer 2022, some of the network members in association with the University of Bristol ‘Senses and Sensations’ research cluster have compiled a free resource focused on five methods of sensory research in the humanities.

The methods and authors are as follows:

  • Sensory Ethnography – Austin Read
  • Walking Methods – Sarah Bell
  • Text-Based Methods – Lena Ferriday
  • Using Poetic Transcription to Explore Sensory Material In Archival Texts – Abbi Flint
  • Speculative Mapping Activity – Rebecka Fleetwood-Smith

You can download the resource here: sensory-research-methods-booklet-2

A note from the authors:

We hope that you will find it a useful and exciting introduction to sensory research methods for humanities researchers. We expect that it will be particularly useful for postgraduate researchers, and for those whose work relates to the subjects of health and the environment. We have chosen five quite different, but complementary, methods as an introduction to the varied ways that humanities scholars can engage the senses: whether in a field or in an archive! Some of these you may already know, and others might be new to you. While you might opt to flick straight to the page that interests you, we encourage you to look at them all, as we hope you will find also something unexpected or inspirational in familiar and new methods alike.

With many thanks to Sarah Bell, Lena Ferriday, Abbi Flint, Rebecka Fleetwood-Smith, Austin Read, Victoria Bates & Andy Flack, and members of the Senses and Sensations group for their reviews and feedback.

If you use the resource do let us know how you got on!