Staff Profile


Dr Kate McLean

Senior Lecturer

School: Media, Art and Design

Campus: Canterbury

Tel: 01227 925135

Profile summary

Dr Kate McLean is a specialist in the emerging field of Sensory Communication Design. She was awarded a PhD from the Royal College of Art in 2019. Her work at the intersection of human-perceived smellscapes, cartography and the communication of ‘eye-invisible’ sensed data. To achieve this she leads public smellwalks internationally and translates the resulting data using digital design, watercolour, animation, scent diffusion and sculpture into smellscape mappings. Commissions and research projects can be seen at

Educated in the UK and USA she has a BA (Hons) in Related Arts from the University of Chichester and a diploma in Graphic Design from NESADSU in Boston, USA. Her MFA (with distinction) is from Edinburgh College of Art and a PhD from the Royal College of Art, London.

Her Sensory Map research projects are online at

As Programme Director Graphic Design she specialises in Information Design and Data Visualisation teaching Design Fundamentals, Simplicity and Complexity, Dissertation and Final Major Project.

Research and knowledge exchange

Creator of smellscape maps world-wide Kate's work has been purchased by the National Library of Scotland for its permanent collection. Her research has exhibited globally including Paris (2018) and Smithsonian Design Museum, NYC (2018). Kate continues to offer workshops and smellwalks for media, arts, charities and research projects.

Her current exhibition and commission is with Musée de la main in Lausanne in the summer of 2019.

Teaching and subject expertise

Kate is a member of the International Society of Typographic Designers, the British Cartographic Society and the American Institute of Graphic Artists.

She works closely with different disciplines from Allied Health to Geography and Life Sciences in the exploration of smells, maps and data visualisation.

External activities

To be updated

Publications and research outputs

Kate's research is practice-based. She exhibits her Sensory Maps worldwide in the cities that they depict, and occasionally some that they don't:

Glasgow Smell Map / artist / Glasgow Science Centre, UK / Sept 2012 (250 – 750 viewers per day)

Newport, RI Smell Map / artist / Discover Newport Visitor Centre, USA /Aug 2012 (up to 6000 vpd)

Scottish Taste Map / invited artist / Edinburgh International Science Festival, City Arts Centre, Edinburgh, UK / Apr 2012 (up to 1000 vpd)

Edinburgh Smell Map / invited artist /Sensory Worlds Conderence, IASH, Edinburgh, UK 2011 / Dec 2011 (300 conference delegates)

Sensory Maps / artist / ECA Degree Show 2011, Edinburgh, UK / May – Jun 2011 (up to 1000 vpd)

Participatory Smell Map of Edinburgh / artist (juried) / Edinburgh International Science Festival, John Hope Gateway, Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, UK / Mar – Jun 2011  (500 –1500 vpd)

SMAP: 4 participatory sensory maps of Edinburgh / solo artist / ECA Evolution House Foyer, Edinburgh, UK / Feb 2011 (150 vpd)

A Private Sniffing: A Smell Map of Paris / artist / ECA, Edinburgh, UK / Oct 10 – Nov 10 (up to 100 vpd)

No Ego / co-curator and artist / photographs at Bolllington Arts Centre, Cheshire, UK / Mar – Apr 2010    (10 – 100 vpd)

Calendar Boys / solo artist / photographs at Clarence Mill, Bollington, Cheshire, UK / Nov 2008 – Jan 2009

The Other Side of Paris / solo artist / photographs at American Library in Paris, 75007 PARIS / October 2008

The Other Side of Paris / solo artist / photographs at 11 rue Jules Verne, 75006 PARIS, France / July 2008 (used as a film set)

The Other Side of Paris / solo artist / European City of Culture / photographs at  Domino Gallery, 11 Upper Newington, Liverpool, UK / May – July 2008


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Last edited: 09/09/2019 10:29:00