Nottingham Sensory Studies Network

Current events

Details of current events will appear here soon.

Past events


Music, Noise and Silence 

This AHRC-funded research network will bring together university researchers, musicians and museum staff to explore the structure and outline of a major public engagement project looking at music in relation to science and technology in the context of sonic modernity.

Taking the 80th anniversary of the Science Museum’s 1935 noise abatement exhibition as a starting point, we will run a series of discussion and performance events to explore how the cultural and historical categories of music, noise and silence could be used to structure public engagement in recent work with sound studies, music and history of science and technology.

Find out more


The Heavy Note: An Audio Installation – 24 June - 9July 2017

The Heavy Note is a new audio art-work by Rebecca Lee developed through research collaboration at the University of Nottingham. It takes inspiration, information and material from the history of Brewhouse Yard in Nottingham.

Situated in the caves at the Museum of Nottingham Life at Brewhouse Yard, the work draws out and explores moments of intensity and rhythm by entwining four elements of the history of the site: the 17th century non-conformist Philadelphian group who met there, the ongoing presence and influence of water in the form of the river Leen, the 'cosmic ray' experiments that took place within the caves in the 1970s, and an individual, Lucy Towers, who was born there. The experimental piece explores 17th-century magical musical theory, water flows, cosmic data, and oral history to re-characterise the histories of the site and explore new possibilities for museum auralities and temporalities. 

Rebecca Lee

Rebecca Lee is an experimental musician, who works across installation, broadcast, performance and recordings. Most recently, she has made new work for Yelena Popova at Nottingham Contemporary, produced two commissions for Trust New Art at the National Trust and performed on a project and tour with musician Samuel Rodgers. She is an associate artist at Fermynwoods Contemporary art and is based at Primary.  

The Heavy Note was produced via a joint research project - 'Resounding in the Museum' - led by the Creative and Cultural Industries Research Priority Area and the Nottingham Sensory Studies Network at the University of Nottingham and the Museum of Nottingham Life.  

With thanks to the Paul Nix Collection and the Nottingham Hidden History Team, and Nottingham Local Studies Library.


Sensing Divinity: Incense, Religion and the Ancient Sensorium Conference 

– 23-24 June, 2017

This conference will explore the history of a medium that has occupied a pivotal role in Mesopotamian, Greek, Roman and Judeo-Christian religious tradition: incense.

According to Margaret E. Kenna in her provocative 2005 article ‘Why does incense smell religious?’, this aromatic substance became a diagnostic feature of Greek orthodoxy during the Byzantine period, but it is clear that incense was also extensively used in the rituals of earlier polytheistic societies to honour the gods. Fragrant smoke drifting up towards the heavens emblematized the communication that was established between the mortal and the immortal realms, which in turn contributed to the sensory landscape of the sanctuary.

Keynote speaker

  • Esther Eidinow (University of Nottingham)


Mark Bradley, Associate Professor of Ancient History, University of Nottingham

Béatrice Caseau, Professor of Byzantine History, University of Paris-Sorbonne 

Adeline Grand-Clément, Associate Professor in Greek History, University of Toulouse Jean-Jaurès

Anne-Caroline Rendu-Loisel, Post-Doctoral Researcher in Assyrology, University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès

Alexandre Vincent, Associate Professor in Roman History, University of Poitiers


Download a programme (PDF)

This conference has been funded with generous support from the École française de Rome, the British School at Rome, the Institut Universitaire de France, Labex RESMED and the IDEX of the University of Toulouse and the University of Nottingham.



Nottingham Sensory Studies Network and The Centre for Critical Theory invite you to participate in a Sense-Walking Workshop – 15 June 2016, 2-6pm

In an era of terminal purposefulness, the acts of loitering, taking one's time and aimless wandering are under threat. Equally, as public spacesbecome subject to intensive practices of ordering and rationalisation, everyday movements are rendered as political undertakings. This workshop seeks to explore walking as both a sensory and political practice, so please join us for an afternoon of wayfaring, ambling, psychogeography and sound walking as we aim to rewrite the text of the campus.

Speakers and Workshop Facilitators:

MORAG ROSE (Sheffield) is a member of the Loiterer's Resistance Movement, a Manchester based collective ofartists, activists and academics interested in public space and the hidden stories of the city. Her research is concerned with the potentialities of the feminist derive for a ludic urban landscape

JENNIFER RICH (Nottingham) is AHRC Cultural Engagement Fellow at the Science Museum, London, who researches the politics and poetics of walking with sound.


Urban vibrations: selfhood, sounds and the city – 10 May 2016, 6.30-8.30pm

Examining the politics of urban sound artist Magda Stawarska-Beavan’s and historian Dr James Mansell will discuss issues of memory, anxiety and personal/public space. Sharing their respective approaches to researching, collecting and editing city sounds, they will discuss the complex spatial narratives revealed by urban soundscapes, and explore how art and historical methods can encourage different forms of ‘critical listening’. The event is free. 


Home Atmospheres: Sensing and Feeling at Home – 28 March 2014

History of Home Subject Specialis Network, 6th annual conference 

28th March 2014, The Geffrye Museum of the Home 


RhythmWork – 17 January 2014, 10am-4pm

A study day dedicated to Henri Lefebvre's Rythmanaly sis and its implications for developing sensory research methods.


Sensing Change – 27-28 March, 2013

Our perception of change and of changing times is, irreducibly, sensory; we often anticipate change wordlessly: with a sense of dread or excitement or world-weariness. We may also register change belatedly, aligning our senses with events retroactively.

Social, political and cultural transitions thus communicate themselves as much through dispersed sensory experiences as they do via messages and cognitive processes. Such sensory experiences are diffuse and hard to attribute, constituting intensities, moods, rhythms, atmospheres, stutterings, disruptions, banalities and frustrations. We notice change, frequently, through subtle alterations to our environments that escape straightforward rational apprehensions. Social, political and cultural transformations, then, are felt as much as they are understood.

This conference will seek to investigate the question ‘what does it mean to live through change?’ by foregrounding sensory approaches.

Download the PDF for more details



Affective Atmospheres – 1 April, 2012

This one day event explored the factors – geographical, architectural, visual, tactile and sonorous – that contribute to the production of ‘atmospheres’ conducive to particular affects, whether excitement, fear or boredom. As such, it engaged with the so-called ‘affective turn’ in the human and social sciences and the specific methodological challenges faced by researchers working on sensory experience and culture.

A paper by Tim Edensor (Manchester Metropolitan) on the role of lighting in creating the unique atmosphere at the Blackpool illuminations was followed by a roundtable discussion on innovative methodologies in sensory research with Tim Edensor, Ben Anderson (Durham), Tracey Potts (Nottingham) and James Mansell (Nottingham).

The day concluded with a public lecture by Ben Anderson on ‘Atmospheres of Emergency’ held at the Nottingham Contemporary art gallery.



Nottingham Sensory Studies Network

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5757