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Dr Kate McLean.

Lecturer, Artist, Designer, Researcher

Hello, my name is Kate McLean. I map city smellscapes, lead smell walks and write. My work is at the intersection of human-perceived smellscapes, cartography and the communication of ‘eye-invisible’ sensed data. I use a range of media including digital design, watercolour, animation, scent diffusion and sculpture to generate smell maps to encourage and stimulate people to consider smell.

In May 2024 I signed a contract with Laurence King publishing negotiated by my agent, Madeleine Millburn, to create and write my first book – An Atlas of Scents & Smells. This follows 12 years of dedicated research into how smells might be communicated, olfactory data collection and mapping smellscapes around the world. The illustrated book will include many new works exploring how smells relate to place, culture, weather and activity across at least 6 of the 7 continents.

I have a PhD from the Royal College of Art, “Nose-first: practices of smell walking and smellscape mapping” and recently designed and set up a brand new BA in Graphic Design at the University of Kent in Canterbury, UK. From September 2024 I am taking a year out to focus on my first book.

My ultimate preference is to be outdoors and to this end I enter strange events to challenge and give a goal to my love of running, swimming and more recently, open water swimming. In 2023 I completed a cross channel swim with a phenomenal team of women and this year competed in the world ice swimming championships. I also love to grow food and tend vines, cook and make wine, eat and drink.

For my research interests see Research