SCO Workshop on July 5th

Smelling & Organizing: Exploring olfactory territories

An interactive workshop with Claus Noppeney

Collective utopian ideas have aimed at organisations as air conditioning systems that allow for aligning and controlling collective experience and emotions. In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932), for example, it is Mustapha Mond, the Resident World Controller of Western Europe who by the way remarks: ”We’ve sacrificed the high art. We have the feelies and the scent organ instead”. In this dystopian world, social life is organised and controlled by inflicting pleasures: an object releasing a ”delightfully refreshing Herbal Capriccio”. Since ancient times, the sense of smell has been known and used for its emotional and mood changing qualities. And in early modern times, social life was even conceptualised as a “miasmic intercourse” (Corbin 1986).

By now, miasma theories have widely gone out of fashion. Yet, industrial air pollution, chemical weapons, postindustrial air design, as well as the new prevalence of multiple chemical sensitivities, all draw attention to the vital importance of the air condition. Being in the breathable is no longer the ontological situation, as Peter Sloterdijk (2002) observes. Accordingly, making the air condition explicit is the subject of cultural and social studies.

Nevertheless, the sense of smell is widely absent in organisation studies. It is mundane, overlooked and silenced. In an effort to venture into the territory of smells and scents, the 4th Space, Creativity and Organising workshop interrogates the role of olfaction in organisational life. What is the role of the sense of smell at the workplace? How can we research organisations as olfactory spaces? What creative methods can be used to elicit olfactory experiences? The 4th Space, Creativity and Organizing workshop will address these questions through a series of short academic inputs, meaningful discussions and fun exercises.

5 July 2018 6:30 to 8:30 pm

6:30 Welcome and short introduction by Nicolas Bencherki and Boukje Cnossen
6:35 Introduction to Eesti Arhitektuurimuuseum by curator Mait Väljas
6:45 Claus Noppeney on “Approaching organizations as olfactory territories”
7 pm Exercise: How to talk about smell: Smell, Tell & Surprise at the Workplace
7:25 Debriefing exercise: Multisensory methods in organization studies (lead by Claus Noppeney)
7:40 Discussion & input: Smelling & Organising (lead by Claus Noppeney)
8 pm Drinks and informal discussion
8:30 End of workshop

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