Sawyer Seminar

‘Embodied Values: Bringing the Senses back to the Environment’, a John E. Sawyer Seminar, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation .

Through a series of workshops this project addressed in turn the senses of sight, touch, hearing, taste, and smell from various disciplinary perspectives to deliver humanities perspectives on environmental models of the senses and what constitutes the haptic. The Sawyer Seminar concluded with an international conference in December 2011: Sensory Worlds: Environment, Value and the Multi-Sensory.

Each of the six workshops included a public lecture, as well as a day-long seminar with invited participants and an experiential session. The speakers in the public lectures were:

  • Professor Paul Carter, Deakin University, Australia: An Auditorium for Echoes: inventing sound places and the ethics of recollection (Hearing/Sound)
  • David Rothenberg, New Jersey Institute of Technology, gave an evening concert in which he played jazz saxophone alongside digitally modified bird and whale sounds (bird sound was slowed down and whale song speeded up).
  • Rothenberg worked closely with deep ecology originator and supporter, Arne Naess. (Hearing/Sound)
  • Professor David Howes, Concordia University, Montreal: Smellscapes: The Role of Odour in the Constitution of Selves and Environments (Scenting/Smell)
  • Professor Kate Soper, London Metropolitan University: Seeing is Caring? Aesthetic Perception, Environmental Concern and Cultural Renewal (Seeing/Sight)
  • Professor Steven Connor writer, critic and broadcaster; Academic Director of the London Consortium: Intact (Touching/Touch)
  • Professor Olga Taxidou, University of Edinburgh: Theatricality, Violence and Affect: The Case of the Bacchae (Senses in Motion)

Further details can be found on the Sawyer Seminar project website