Smells of Auld Reekie

Auld Reekie (a historical term for Edinburgh) emits a plethora of scents and smells; some particular to Edinburgh, some ubiquitous city aromas. It is the combination of smells, and how they are distributed by the prevailing south-westerly winds that make scents and smells city-specific.

Coloured dots indicate the point of origin of the scents, the contour lines show where the smells might blow in the wind.

Smells associated with Edinburgh were collected from local residents and are primarily the smells of late spring and early summer. They include: Sea, sand, beach; Brewery malt fumes; Vaults & underground streets; Boys toilets in primary schools; Fish & chip shops; Penguins at the zoo; Cherry blossom; Newly-cut grass; Coffee.

Research undertaken during 2009-2010 and exhibited at Edinburgh College of Art Degree Show 2011 in a plan chest with a set of kitchen-made smells of nine bottled smells.

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Date: 2011

Media & size: Digital print, 1089mm x 841mm
2019 – “You are here” on tour curated by Paula Williams
2016 – “You are here” at National Library of Scotland curated by Paula Williams
2014 – “Atlas” at The Jam Factory, Oxford, UK curated by J.P. Reid
2011 – Edinburgh College of Art Degree Show
2011 – Edinburgh International Science Festival
2012 – The Commons
2016 – “Mind the Map: Illustrated Maps and Cartography”, pub. Gestalten
2018 – “Cartography”, by Ken Field, pub. ESRI Press
Permanent Collection(s):
National Library of Scotland
Manchester University Library