Call for papers. Sensewalking: sensory walking methods for social scientists. RGS-IBG Annual Conference, Manchester: 26-28 August 2009, date limite 23rd January 2009

Sponsored by the Social and Cultural Geography Research Group and the Urban Geography Research Group (UGRG tbc) Convenors: Mags Adams (University of Salford) and Kye Askins (Northumbria University)

In recent years there has been a growing interest in the role of non-visual senses in the relationships between people and places, in particular how ‘sense of place’ involves complex corporeal encounters with our environments – how we ‘sense’ place in terms of sound, smell, touch, taste (alongside sight) as well as understand it through social constructions and circulated texts (Wylie, 2005; Butler, 2006; Edensor, 2006; Pink, 2007). Such interest is evidenced in the publication of ‘The Senses and Society’ journal since 2006, and includes an increasing body of work regarding the ways in which senses and sensory perception are caught up in social and spatial in/exclusion and everyday cultural geographies (eg. Tolia-Kelly, 2007; MacPherson, 2007; Paterson, 2007).

An emerging development of such work is the innovative use of sensewalking, in a variety of guises, as a research methodology to investigate and analyse how we understand, experience and utilise space. Such methodologies have been adopted to examine a diverse range of issues in a variety of contexts: from ethnographic practices of researching the sensory landscapes of domestic workers’ in Hong Kong (Law, 2001), through phenomenological analysis of human experiences of road traffic in the modern city (Taylor, 2003), participatory research around migrants’ perceptions and experiences of urban greenspaces in the UK (Rishbeth and Finney, 2006), exploration of the inner dialogue of persons living with HIV/Aids (Irving, 2007), to qualitative investigations into the environmental quality of 24-hour cities (Adams et al, 2007).

These methods involve some form of sensory walking, whether focusing on the multi-sensory experience of being in a location, using the walk to focus on particular sensory experiences or enabling participants to express personal and intimate relationships with a place. Researchers from across disciplines have worked with the ‘sensory walking’ concept, utilising sensewalks, soundwalks, listening walks and smell walks as a means to involve participants in discussion, interview, photo-survey, GIS mapping and sound recording, among other innovations/adaptations. While a recent ESRC seminar series addressed ‘Sensescapes’ more broadly (see, there has not been a concerted effort to bring together researchers working with beyond-the-visual senses as method.

This session seeks to rectify such a gap and welcomes papers from geographers, sociologists, artists, anthropologists, planners, landscape architects and designers (amongst others), acknowledging the multi-disciplinary nature of much of the work in this area.
The aim of this session is to encourage critical debate about research involving sensory methodologies. We hope the session will promote discussion regarding the different perspectives and experiences of sensewalking as research method, the diversity of approaches within such methodology, the untidiness, complexity and effectiveness of such methods, issues around rigour and reliability, the impact of sensewalking on the research process more widely, ethical concerns, and how research involving sensewalking may be most appropriately disseminated.

The session will include presentations of a variety of sensewalking methods in different research contexts, encompassing theoretical and empirical contributions. As such, we invite proposals for papers that fall within the broad theme of sensewalking as methodology. Since much work in this area is of an urban nature, we anticipate the majority of papers to reflect research undertaken in an urban context; however, papers demonstrating the use of sensewalking in rural areas are also welcomed. The session organisers are aware of the lack of an academic text on sensory methods for social scientists and hope there will be sufficient interest from contributors to develop a book proposal on this topic.

Proposals for papers (and potentially chapters), with a short abstract and full contact details should be emailed to Mags Adams ( or Kye Askins ( by 23rd January 2009. We will be asking for full papers to be circulated prior to the session.
Dr Mags Adams
Senior Research Fellow
Acoustics Research Centre
University of Salford
Salford M5 4WT
Tel: +44 (0) 161 295 4599
Dr Kye Askins
Senior Lecturer
Division of Geography
School of Applied Sciences
Northumbria University
Ellison Building
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST
Tel: +44 (0) 191 227 3743

Citer ce billet
Françoise Acquier (2008, 19 décembre). Call for papers. Sensewalking: sensory walking methods for social scientists. RGS-IBG Annual Conference, Manchester: 26-28 August 2009, date limite 23rd January 2009. Le Cresson veille et recherche…. Consulté le 23 juin 2024, à l’adresse

Françoise Acquier

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  1. ZekeestetiX dit :

    hi, new to the site, thanks.

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