We are delighted to come back to you once again with our latest news. It’s been a busy year so far and we have many updates to share! We have taken part in international events, launched a a multisensory museum tour, won an award, published the first research outputs, and hosted the BBC Travel show in Amsterdam. Plus, our work in fostering interdisciplinary conversation on approaches and methods in smell history has been included in an experimental space of the American Historical Association. Here's an overview of the contents:
Visiting a historic spicery with BBC Travel Show
Smelly conversations in the American History Review
We won Best Resources Paper prize!
'Detecting olfactory gestures' presentation at Ghent
Smell preservation at international Heritage Science conference
Smell heritage and sensory mining resources now available
Odeuropa MUSTI challenge
Next month: City Sniffers in Amsterdam
Keep reading for more details!
After a long delay due to COVID19 restrictions and a lot of hard work in collaboration with Museum Ulm, the tour 'Follow Your Nose: a Guided Tour with Smells' is now available to the public. By approaching paintings from the permanent collection through their noses, visitors can enjoy a multisensory experience this spring. The historical scents, developed by International Flavours and Fragrances (IFF) in collaboration with Sofia Ehrich and Lizzie Marx (KNAW), are paired with paintings for the public to make a journey filled with sensations, history, and art.The tour will be running for several months, during which we will measure the impact of using smells in museums for storytelling, education and engagement. You can explore some of the scent stories here.
A few weeks ago, Inger Leemans and Marieke van Erp (KNAW) led the BBC Travel Show programme on an exploration of Amsterdam’s fragrant and foul spots (including the oldest apothecary in Amsterdam, ‘Jacob Hooy’, featured above), while talking about the challenges of uncovering scents from the past through the use of historical recipes and Artificial Intelligence. A snippet of the show can be seen here.
We are pleased to share that Odeuropa is the focus of the first History Lab, included in the current of the American History Review (AHR) journal. William Tullett (ARU) and Inger Leemans (KNAW) are leading the contributions, which extend to every aspect of the project. The AHR History Lab is part of the redesign of this publication and aims at helping reimagine the practice of history in the 21st century. You can read a conversation among researchers working on smell from different disciplines here, and listen to the Follow Your Nose podcast, featuring several Odeuropa researchers, here. It is a great opportunity to share our experience with a worldwide academic and scientific community.
A reason to celebrate: on 2 June, the Odeuropa team won the Best Resources Paper prize at the 19th European Semantic Web Conference in Crete. The paper titled "Capturing the Semantics of Smell: The Odeuropa Data Model for Olfactory Heritage Information" by Pasquale Lisena, Daniel Schwabe, Marieke van Erp, Raphaël Troncy, William Tullett, Inger Leemans, Lizzie Marx, and Sofia Colette Ehrich explains how Odeuropa information about smell is represented in a database. The data model and the resulting paper were co-created by computer scientists and historians in the project.
Perhaps one of the clearest expressions of smell in imagery is through gestures: figures hold their nose against a smell, make a facial expression in reaction to a smell, or bring odorants to their nose or consume an odorous substance. However, gestures happen to be one of the most challenging sorts of olfactory imagery for computer vision to detect. Mathias Zinnen and Lizzie Marx from the WP2 Images branch shared their conundrum and the methodologies to solve it at the Ghent workshop Body Posture and Art: New Approaches, held on 19–20 May, organised by Koenraad Jonckheere, Elsje van Kessel, and Aagje Lybeer. Among the many inspiring presentations, the research shared by Leonardo Impett, who has experience in computer vision and automatic pose recognition, was especially helpful for the team to advance their work. They are looking forward to continuing the conversations with the workshop participants as the project develops.
We had another chance to discuss our work with international audiences when we took part, in March, of part of the symposium ‘Heritage for the future, Science for heritage’, celebrated in Paris. Cecilia Bembibre and Matija Strlic (UCL) talked about the scientific efforts to identify and preserve smells with cultural value, while addressing the main challenges and opportunities for heritage scientists. They remarked on the importance of interdisciplinary work in preventing the loss of olfactory cultural heritage. You can watch the talk here.
Also in March, Odeuropa went through the first project review, which resulted in a positive outcome from the EU panel. They agreed that we fully achieved the objectives and milestones for the period. At the half point through our research tasks, we have submitted a total of 23 outputs (deliverables). Here you can currently access the documents listed below:
A taxonomy of Olfactory Phenomena in Images.
Annotated image data, version 1.
Annotation scheme and multilingual taxonomy.
Multilingual historical corpora and annotated benchmarks.
Ontology and vocabularies for olfactory information.
The European Olfactory Knowledge Graph version 1.
PastScent Network, a social network for scholars in any discipline working on smell in the past.
Guidelines on the use of smells in galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs).
Impact Activities Report Y1.
Now, for something new: we have launched a new challenge to try your hand at Multimodal Understanding of Smells in Texts and Images. Does your team have what it takes to solve it? Compete in the MediaEval 2022 MUSTI challenge organised by the Odeuropa team to further the state of the art in language technology and computer vision. In this task, it is your job to identify references to smells in paintings and match them to appropriate text snippets. More information and registration at: https://multimediaeval.github.io/editions/2022/tasks/musti/
August 2022: Data releases
Beginning November 2022: Runs due
28 November 2022: Working notes paper due
12-13 January 2023: MediaEval 2022 Workshop
Finally, join us at the end of summer for our urban smell tour in Amsterdam titled, City Sniffers- A smell tour of Amsterdam’s ecohistory. This experience explores the city through smell narratives of the past and present, which are used as a tool to raise awareness on climate change and the city’s underlying histories. Participants will engage with their senses through a ‘Rub and Sniff’ card and a mobile application with which they can navigate the route. The locations of the tour and their sensory histories will be brought to life through curated texts and images. This experience will be hosted by the Amsterdam Museum and was created by Odeuropa in collaboration with Scent the Brand, IFF, and the Institute for Art and Olfaction. Starting September 1st, you can collect a Rub and Sniff card from the Amsterdam Museum’s information desk (Amstel 51, 1018 EJ Amsterdam) and start your sensational journey. Keep an eye on our website for updates.
The Odeuropa team