Smelling turns cultural

The sense of smell has long been disregarded as one of the lower senses. More recently, however the cultural and social relevance of the sense of smell has increasingly been recognized: People express and give meaning to their experiences of smells, compare scents in relation to one another and more importantly recognize how olfactory experience contributes to other cultural and social domains (e.g. customer experience, product quality, art, design, literature, music, work, organizational performance).

Research-wise, the sense of smell has so far primarily been an issue in natural sciences (e.g. physiology, neurology, biology etc.). Following the new relevance in the cultural and social domain other disciplines (e.g. management & business research, cultural studies) discover the new terrain. Scent or smell culture studies have emerged and develop as an innovative new field in universities, art & design schools as well as other research institutions.

The formation of Scent Culture Institute reflects this development. It is involved in different kinds of projects focusing on the sense of smell in culture, business and society. Projects vary in orientation: research, consulting, education, scent design, etc. The growing number of projects show how olfaction, scent and smell are increasingly the focus.

This website informs about our activities, shares observations, reflects on current developments and encourages a broader discussion of the expanding field of scent culture.

History of Scent Culture Institute

Scent Culture Institute originates from different research projects at Bern University of the Arts and the Business Departement at Bern University of Applied Sciences. Find out more about the history.

Scent Culture Institute is a hub for different kinds of projects: research, consulting, education and scent design. The projects capitalize on the interdisciplinary collaboration between management and design research, cultural studies as well as business, artistic and design practice. Find out more about the people involved.

Our activities are regularly featured in the media. Moreover, our contributions also actively shape public discourse on smelling in business, culture and society. Here are some examples of our media presence.

Stay updated!

Stay updated and browse through our presence on social media.  If you have any questions about Scent Culture Institute or ideas you would like to discuss, please do not hesitate to contact us ! We are particularly interested in possible partners from other social or cultural domains. Thank you for your interest!

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