PhD Courses in Denmark

Sensory studies: Theories & methods

PhD School at the Faculty of Humanities at University of Copenhagen

Date and time: 2-3 October + 6-7 November 2024 from 9:00 to 16:30

This course investigates the role of the senses in human lives drawing on insights from humanities and social sciences. In the last three decades, sensory studies have established a wide range of research areas and methods that highlight how the senses form a central role in people’s lives – although often in the background of attention. Writings by Constance Classen, David Howes, Michel Serres, Sarah Pink, and many others have developed concepts and approaches that show how traditional understanding of humans as having five senses is in need of rethinking.

In this course we introduce the participants to selected fields of research - and to inspire them to both focused work, pilot studies or experimental efforts of employing methods that home in on the role of the senses, or the senses as a lens of understanding human lives. 

The areas of research and methods include:


  • Corporeal listening
  • Kinesthetic senses
  • Sensory technologies (lighting, sound, smell)
  • Atmospheres
  • Etc.


  • Archival methods
  • Ethnographic methods
  • Sensory memory walk
  • Experimenting with representational forms

Academic Aim

  • Knowledge about current theoretical debates
  • Experience in generating and analysing sensory data
  • Proficiency in presenting
  • Desire to go beyond more traditional academic methods

Target group: Humanities and Social Science PhD Students. 

Course organizers: Mikkel Bille ( and Holger Schulze (


Workshop 1: Sensory studies: Theories

Day 1

  • Introduction
  • Introductory lecture by Prof. David Howes
  • Student present their projects (10 minutes) and feedback (10 minutes)
  • Lunch
  • Lecture: Mikkel Bille
  • Student presentations and feedback
  • Dinner

Day 2

  • Introductory lecture by Prof. Helmi Järviluoma
  • Student presentations and feedback
  • Lunch
  • Lecture: Holger Schulze
  • Student presentations and feedback
  • Reception

Workshop 2: Sensory Studies: Methods workshop

Day 1

  • Introductory lecture: Prof. Holger Schulze
  • Student presentations and peer feedback
  • Lunch
  • Student presentations and peer feedback

Day 2

Student presentations and peer feedback

Registration: Please register via the link in the box no later than 28 April 2024Registration is closed. 

Language: English


Max. numbers of participants: 25

Course fee: DKK 2.500 per ECTS for PhD students from CBS.


Workshop 1: Sensory studies: Theories
Written assignments, deadline 16 September 2024:
2-3 pages on a text that has inspired the student. Submit to Mikkel Bille

Workshop 2: Sensory Studies: Methods workshop
8-10 pages written text on methodological reflections or application in relation to project.
2 pages reflections on learning from Workshop 1. Submit by 21 October 2024 to Mikkel Bille

Further information: For more information about the PhD course, please contact the PhD Administration (

Howes, D. 2023, Prologue (17p) and ch. 6. (12p) in Sensorial Investigations. Pennsylvania State University Press

Corbin, A. 2014, Urban Sensations. The shifting Sensescape of the City. In In the age of empire. A cultural history of the senses (ed. Classen, C.). Bloomsbury (18p)

Bille et al. 2015 Staging Atmospheres. Emotion, Space, Society

Vaninni, P. 2023. The Routledge International Handbook of Sensory Ethnography. Selected chapters (40 pages)

Desjarlais, R. Movement, Stillness. On the sensory World of a shelter for the ‘homeless mentally ill’. In Empire of the senses. (ed. Howes, D.) Berg. (10p)

Petridou, E. 2001. Taste of home. In Home Possessions: Material Culture Βehind Closed Doors. (ed. D. Miller) (20p)

Järviluoma, H. Vikman, N. 2013. On Soundscape Methods and Audiovisual Sensibility. In The Oxford Handbook of New Audiovisual Aesthetics (eds. C. Vernallis, C. Gorbman, J. Richardson) Oxford University Press (21 pages)

Järviluoma, H. 2017. The Art and Science of Sensory Memory Walking. In: The Routledge Companion to Sounding Art (eds. Cobussen, M., Meelberg, V., Truax, B.) Routledge, (15 pages)

Serres, M. 2008. The Five Senses: A Philosophy of Mingled Bodies (chapter “Animal Spirits” 15 pages)

Pink, S. 2009. Doing Sensory Ethnography. SAGE Publishing.

Waldock, J. 2021. The Conflicting Sounds of Urban Regeneration in Liverpool. In: The Bloomsbury Handbook of Sonic Methodologies (eds. Bull, M. & Cobussen, M) Bloomsbury (chapter 48, 8 Pages)