Archive for the ‘External Collaborators’ Category

Remembering Dr Victoria Henshaw [1971-2014]

October 21st, 2014

In Memory, Victoria Henshaw: 1971-2014

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr Victoria Henshaw, who was our first international research fellow, and a great inspiration and influence on our work. Dr Henshaw is not only valued for her pioneering and original scholarly work but for her warmth and the generosity of spirit she brought to her mentorship and guidance of other researchers, including our own, while creating a new field – out of thin air. While there has been much scholarship on the ‘culture’ of the senses, Dr Henshaw’s work drew attention to the practical, ‘everyday’ and ‘lived’ realities of smell as dimension of the built and ambient environment that has been largely neglected by more aesthetic, scientific and consumer-oriented work on the senses. Most directly, it was through Dr Henshaw’s experiential and ‘nose-to-the-ground’ ‘smellwalks’ that her work was truly brought ‘to life’ and given meaning by the people, places and smells that inspired it.

Last January, we were privileged to host a visit from Dr Henshaw, who spoke to Ryerson’s Faculty of Design students about her work on urban smellscapes and dropped by the lab to talk with our researchers about the social and pedagogical dimensions of smellwalks. Earlier that month, lab director Dr Jason Nolan and RA Melanie McBride had participated in a panel presentation assembled by Dr Henshaw on the pedagogical and socio-cultural dimensions of ‘Designing with Smell’ for the Design Principles & Practices Conference in Vancouver.


Dr Henshaw sharing scents with EDGELab RA Alana Butler.

Building on Dr Henshaw’s work, RA McBride and Dr Nolan are contributing a chapter about DIY curriculum and pedagogy for olfactory learning for Dr Henshaw’s final book project, which is a collection of essays focused on designing with smell. In the spring of 2015, we will be organizing a smellwalk in memory of Dr. Henshaw (further details forthcoming later this winter).

Warmly, we remember Dr Henshaw’s exuberant presence and the sincerity, integrity, inclusiveness and inspiration that guided her work and interactions. Above all, we can best celebrate her life and legacy through the direct experience of sensing the wisdom of the world that is right beneath our noses.


Urban Smellscapes (Routledge, 2013)
A full length work based on Dr Henshaw’s doctoral and subsequent research on the role of smell in urban design.

Smell and the City: Urban Smell Enthusiasts 
A collaborative blog that was overseen by Dr Henshaw.

The woman kicking up a stink about urban life: ‘Cities are losing their smell’
“From chocolate shops to noodle bars, from Japanese ‘sites of good fragrance’ to a hint of purest Glasgow, one woman is on a mission to reopen our nostrils to the smells of the city” – Article about Dr Henshaw’s work from the Guardian.

Don’t Turn Up Your Nose at the City in Summer
“Summer in New York, Season of Smell”
A feature article by Victoria Henshaw in the New York Times.

Obituary: Victoria Henshaw
Dr Henshaw’s life and work are described in her obituary in the The Guardian:

“A town centre manager turned urban academic, [Henshaw] became fascinated by this element of the environment that she thought had been crucially overlooked by architects and planners alike. Her doctoral research involved undertaking “smellwalks” with a range of built environment professionals, including urban designers and planners, architects and engineers, in order to open their noses to the aromas of the city” 


EDGE lab welcomes Dr Victoria Henshaw as 2014 visiting International Research Fellow

January 30th, 2014


The EDGE Lab is very proud to welcome Dr Victoria Henshaw who is joining us as an international research fellow, focusing on projects involving multi-sensory environments, design and inclusion. We recently had the privilege to host a visit from Dr Henshaw in Toronto who spoke with Ryerson’s Faculty of Design students about her work on urban smellscapes, which is focused on a ‘human-centred’ approach to the sensory dimensions of urban design and city centre management. As part of her urban design practice, Dr Henshaw described her practices with guided ‘smellwalks’ in towns and cities around the world. While it was too cold to enjoy a smell walk during the recent cold snap, we plan to invite her back in warmer times.

Among the unique highlights of Dr Henshaw’s visit was having the opportunity to smell some of her wonderful collected smells, including some rare Arabian Oud Oil and scents of Paris:


You can learn more about her urban smellscapes at her blog, Smell and the City. Dr Henshaw is a lecturer in the department of Town and Regional planning at the University of Sheffield.

Prior to Dr Henshaw’s visit, EDGE lab director Dr Jason Nolan and doctoral researcher Melanie McBride presented a talk as part of Dr Victoria Henshaw’s ‘Designing with smell’ colloquium at the Design Principles and Practices conference in Vancouver.  Nolan and McBride’s talk advanced ‘neurodiversity’ as a standpoint from which to address inclusive sensory design principles and practices in relation to different ways of sensing that challenge, but also extend, the normative ‘sensory order.’  This talk furthers Nolan and McBride’s ongoing research into the conceptualization and design of technologically mediated multi-sensory environments and McBride’s doctoral research on smell as a neglected modality of digital communication and culture.



Bullying Prevention for Children with Differences and Disabilities

December 2nd, 2013

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Lab researchers Jason Nolan and Donna Koller are members of IMPAKT, and wish to invite members of the Ryerson community to this important talk: Bullying Prevention for Children with Differences and Disabilities by Dr. Debra Pepler

December 9, 2013, 3:30 – 5:00pm Main Auditorium – Hollywood Theatre 1rst Floor Black Wing, Room 1249 The Hospital for Sick Children

Topic: Children with differences and disabilities are bullied at a higher rate than their typically developing peers. Natural processes within children’s groups move these children to the margins, where they are at increased risk for victimization. Children with differences and disabilities want and need healthy peer relationships as much as any other child. The healthy development of all children depends on healthy relationships. It is our role as adults involved in the lives of children to redirect natural peer processes to ensure that children with differences and disabilities are fully included in positive peer relationships. We will explore critical strategies for promoting healthy relationships and healthy development for children and youth including: adults’ self awareness, building rapport with children and youth, scaffolding or coaching, social architecture, and systems change.

Dr. Debra Pepler is a Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology at York University and a Senior Adjunct Scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children. Her research focuses on aggression and victimization among children and adolescents, as well as children in families at risk. Together with Dr. Wendy Craig, Dr. Pepler leads a federally funded national network, PREVNet (Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network), that is Canada’s Authority on Research and Resources for Bullying Prevention and a National Centre of Excellence Knowledge Mobilization Network. PREVNet’s mission is to promote safe and healthy relationships and prevent bullying for children and youth.

More info at: IMPAKT Talk -DebraPeplerDec9-2013

Edge Lab Partners with Phantom Compass to Innovate!

March 13th, 2013

Ryerson just put out a press release about the EDGE Lab/Phantom Compass partnership.



TORONTO, March 13, 2013 —- Ryerson University’s pioneering Experiential Design and Gaming Environments (EDGE) Lab has partnered with leading Toronto game development studio Phantom Compass. The partnership brings EDGE Lab’s world-class academic research and the creative industry know-how of Phantom Compass together, facilitating commercialization of the Lab’s applied research projects while enhancing the effectiveness of the studio’s desktop, mobile and tablet game products. EDGE Lab and Phantom Compass have already started sharing experience, best practices, and state- of-the-art technology to study how children learn while playing games and how to use that knowledge to better engage children in learning at school…. [read more]

Happy New Years GamingEdus Style

January 1st, 2013

GamingEdus is a project hosted at the EDGE Lab, and we’re happy that it has lit the way into the next year.

Bringing Adaptive Design to McMaster University

December 22nd, 2012

Jason and I had a great meeting with Brianna Smrke and Alisha Sunderji, two Arts and Science students from McMaster University, who visited the EDGE Lab to find out how they can make adaptive design happen in Hamilton. We’re all hoping that we can start a collaboration between our two cites.

Jen Cole on ‘Original Cyborgs: Disability and Technology’

December 12th, 2012

GimpGirl director and EDGE Lab collaborator Jen Cole on “Original Cyborgs: Disability and Technology”:

When we think of deep integration with technology, disability is rarely thought of unless it is a direct focus. There are technologies being developed such aswheelchairs that are controlled by thoughtrobotic exoskeletons being developed primarily for people with spinal cord injuries to allow them to walk, andstair climbing wheelchairs. They are still clunky and imprecise (or ridiculously expensive and not covered by insurance), but perhaps indicative of future adaptive technology. The “cyborg chic” technologies such as “Skinput” style keyboards andwearable computer technology often are not accessible or designed with an eye to Universal Design concepts.


Play, Build & Explore: Three projects for teachers this summer

July 11th, 2012

TDSB Teacher/Librarian, award winning children’s author, and research collaborator with the EDGE Lab has a great post on projects for teachers this summer. Check out his books as well!

Original Cyborgs: Disability and Technology

November 13th, 2011

Original Cyborgs: Disability and Technology: The Exploration of the Cyborg is a new article by EDGE Lab external collaborator and Gimp Girl Community founder/director Jen Cole. Jen refers to past lab grad student, and now external collaborator Alison Gaston‘s research into disability and technology.

It is great how she ‘owns’ the cyborg from a disability perspective. Don’t miss it.

Welcome New EDGE Lab Collaborators

August 17th, 2011

Jaime Woo is a writer, game designer, and co-founder of Gamercamp, Toronto’s festival celebrating the art, creativity, and fun in games. Gamercamp is now in its third year and has recently spun off Gamercamp Jr, an experimental project to help guide the next generation of game designers and developers. Jaime’s first game Gargoyles premiered at Toronto’s Recess.TO meet-up and was featured in the magazine Grid. Jaime has spoken about his love of video games on television programs Electric Program and interSPACE and on the CBC radio program Metro Morning. In addition to a passion for video games, Jaime has a deep interest in how technology affects culture and his work has been published in Financial Post, Vancouver Sun, Now Magazine, Torontoist, and Xtra. He has been a speaker on technology and social media at the prestigious SXSW Interactive and NXNE Interactive conferences, and for the Rotman School of Business.


Danny Bakan‘s research is focused on music education, song, social networking and technology. He has an interest in arts-based research and a/r/tographical methodologies. Danny holds an MA in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning from OISE/UT, has taught music and creative arts pedagogy at Ryerson University’s School of Early Childhood Education, been a lecturer at the Royal Conservatory of Music, and has taught music, theatre and creative arts to children and adults in school and non-school settings for over 20 years. Danny is holds a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship and is working towards his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Pedaogy at the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columba in Vancouver. Danny is also a songwriter, banjoist and performer. His artistic portfolio includes two albums of original songs, performances across North America, and appearances on CBC and NPR. (htp://