Last Thursday I went down to University of Kent to hear my department discuss their finishing/upcoming research projects (see the schedule posted bellow). It was a great chance to hear what the faculty in the department are researching, as I am in London most of the time. It was also a reaffirmation my choice to study at Kent and my own research projects place in the wider community of the department.
In particular, two faculty members, neither of which are affiliated with my PhD, discussed sensory experience projects that overlapped with my own interests. First, Patty Baker discussed her upcoming project looking at the role of gardens in the health and well being of Romans. Following her work on ancient medicine, Patty will look at the physical make of gardens, such as plants, decorations, layout and features, to assess the health benefits of the spaces. There are clear parallels with my interests in acoustics and sounds, particularly the way the architecture of gardens could conjure certain emotions or feelings. Second, Keli Rudolph shared her research on the values of the senses. Growing out of her work on ancient philosophy and theories of perception, Keli discussed the need to better understand the ancient philosophical context for Aristotle’s hierarchy of the senses. Aristotle is often referenced in terms of his hierarchy with only passing comment on the context of the discussion. The overemphasis on the hierarchy as a negation of the importance of the senses does not adequately deal with the context of the passage.
Again, it was a great day of sharing exciting research going on at Kent and I am glad to be apart of such an department.