This page contains interviews with sensory experts on smell during the COVID19 pandemic. It also includes an evolving bibliography of news media and academic articles on the same topic.
Have an academic article or news piece you think we should include? Let us know at email@example.com.
If you want to submit your own sensory experiences to the Pandemic Sensory Archive then you can do so here.
Expert interviews – Click below to listen to our chats with various sensory experts.
Nick has 20 years experience of working in the fragrance industry, from retail through marketing to the creation of scents. He is a highly experienced fragrance trainer, evaluator and marketer who has written extensively on fragrance for the national and international press and shared his expertise on the radio, TV, and podcasts. He is the co-founder of the scent consultancy Olfiction.
You can find out about Olfiction here and catch up on what Nick has been doing here.
Lucy is a freelance writer and copy-editor with a background in the arts, technology, and healthcare. She has written for HuffPost, Stylist, and Metro.co.uk. Lucy has permanent anosmia and has written about her experience in order to raise awareness about the condition. You can find one of her recent pieces on anosmia here.
Dr Kate McLean
Dr McLean works at the intersection of human-perceived smellscapes, cartography and the communication of ‘eye-invisible’ sensed data. Combining digital mapping, smell-walks, and creative practice, her work aims to think about how we communicate the relationship between our noses and the smells that surround us. During the pandemic Dr McLean has been working on the project ‘Two Centuries of Stink: Smelling Mapping Widnes Past and Present’ with the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre and Museum – funded by Arts Council England. You can find out more about the project here.
Jas is a PhD researcher working on computer interfaces that modulate the human senses of smell and taste. This has included recent work on producing stereo-smell sensations using electrical stimulation. Jas also works with sensory art, runs several workshop and seminar series based around smell culture, and is putting together an online archive of scratch and sniff books.
Liam creates engaging and immersive scents for visitor attractions. Using his experience as a designer for museum and entertainment venues, Liam advises on the most effective ways scent can be utilised to help venues achieve their goals, whether they be to educate, to entice, to scare, to reignite memories or even to direct the movement of people.
AromaPrime’s themed scents and diffusion solutions can be found here.
Key articles – Collating expertise and key links on smell during the pandemic.
- What Can Covid-19 Teach Us About the Mysteries of Smell? – Stephanie Gonot for The New York Times
About the science of smell in relation to COVID-19 smell loss, and a discussion of the value of smell.
The surprising business advantage of training your sense of smell – Anne Quito for Quartz at Work
How an hour spent smelling has been used to help well-being and audio-visual overstimulation as a result of the pandemic.
- Interest in perfume has never been greater, according to Cinquième Sens – Premium Beauty News
Quotes from fragrance industry figures on how the pandemic has produced a new interest in the use of smell for physical and emotional well-being.
- What Does the End of the Pandemic Smell Like? These Brands Have Found Success Trying to Find Out
A piece which details how brands have offered scented candles and perfumes smelling of bars and stale beer, bookshops, and locker-rooms to those who have missed the smells of daily life.
- How the pandemic made us rethink our sense of smell
An article with interviews with a number of Mumbai-based individuals on smell-loss during the pandemic and the impact it has had on them.
- Scents of Place: 12 of the World’s Most Fragrant Travel Destinations
Several interviewees comment on the smells of the places they miss and would like to return to and sniff once the pandemic has subsided.
- See Fewer People. Take Fewer Showers.
An article detailing the impact of working from home and lockdown sociability on people’s hygiene habits.
- Office-scented candles: ‘We obviously want everyone to laugh at this’
An article about the candles produced by two colleagues at New-York-based design company RGA, which aimed ‘to remind us of the office life we never thought we would miss’.
- Handshakes will return quickly post-pandemic — a neuroscientist explains why – Moran Cerf for Buisness Insider.
An article explaining how handshakes are an important part of human chemosignalling involving smell and why this means they are likely to return in a post-pandemic era.
- How do you want your wedding to smell? – Danielle Braff for the New York Times.
A piece on the increasingly popularity of ‘scent-scaping’ weddings, including a note that the pandemic may have increased people’s use of scent-scaping so as to evoke people, places, or things that they were unable to incorporate into lockdown-appropriate weddings.
- Doggy detectives: how our canine friends are sniffing out COVID-19 – Konrad Marshall for the Sydney Morning Herald.
An article exploring the use of sniffer dogs to track COVID, based on trials by university researchers in France.
- Revisiting a 19th century medical idea could help address covid-19 – Melanie Kiechle for The Washington Post.
An article that examines the medical theories of the nineteenth century – about miasma and smell – and how they might be relevant for thinking about the airborne transmission of COVID19 today.
- Louisa Allen (2021). The smell of lockdown: Smellwalks as sensuous methodology, Qualitative Research. https://doi.org/10.1177/14687941211007663
- Shima T. Moein, Seyed Mohammad, Reza Hashemian, Babak Mansourafshar, Ali Khorram-Tousi, Payam Tabarsi, Richard L. Doty (2020). Smell dysfunction: a biomarker for COVID-19, Allergy & Rhinology, 10(8): 944-950. https://doi.org/10.1002/alr.22587
- Nikola Žaja (2021). Alcohol, COVID-19 and the smell of relapse: a case report, Journal of Addictive Diseases, advanced access article: https://doi.org/10.1080/10550887.2021.1932398