Well, last week was busy and exciting all at the same time. I have been co-organising a conference on movement and sensory experience of religious groups or in religious terms. The conference was all day last Friday, 12 June 2015, and was drew a variety of people from the US, Europe and the UK. It was a great day of fascinating papers and good networking.
We organised the day around panels of 2 or 3 20 min. papers, followed by a 10 min. response from an invited respondent. Since we grouped the panels by themes the time periods and geographical locations could vary drastically from paper to paper. To help facilitate discussion, not only with the panelists but between all in the room, the respondents offered thoughts, criticisms and questions for everyone to explore in the discussion time. The respondent all had insightful and engaging responses that fostered great discussion. I was glad to be apart of the conference and made many new colleagues in the field of Sensory Studies.
Following the conference, and coming out of some of the discussion, we set up Sensory Studies in Antiquity. The site is for those interested and working in the field and will have events and resources posted as they arise. They sight is not limited to the listed authors but open for researchers in the field. If you are interested in participating on the site, as an author, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Authors will be listed on the site and can write posts about upcoming events or offer ideas for discussion on the blog. We hope that the site will provide a space for the growing, and quite diverse, community of scholars and students researching in the field of sensory studies in the ancient world. You can also follow Sensory Studies in Antiquity on Twitter for updates.
I should have posted these before the conference but, I have put the abstracts from Religious Movement & Sensory Experience here. The conference was fantastic and I will post about the day later this week.
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.
CLAS Research Day Schedule