Kate McLean is a practicing designer, cartographer, lecturer, researcher and collector of smells and their stories. Regarded as a world expert on smellwalking and on smellscape mapping, McLean has spent the past 12 years working to understand how humans make sense of the world through their noses.
She has researched and generated over 30 major public smellscape mapping projects (involving up to a hundred people at a time) in France, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, UK, USA with further commissions pending in Brazil and Turkey. In the process, she has led 170 organised smellwalks with over 2000 people in these countries as well as in Norway, Sweden, Mexico, Morocco, Germany and Canada.
Her art and design work has been exhibited in over 20 national galleries and museums worldwide including the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York and MAIF gallery in Paris, and forms part of 5 permanent collections.
Creator of several ‘smellmap’ installations, Kate exhibits internationally and has been featured in the media worldwide, including in New York Times, Guardian, Time Out, WIRED, Sky, BBC, Slate, Atlas Obscura, New Scientist, Telegraph, Washington Post, and ABC News.
Kate is a member of the International Society of Typographic Designers and the British Cartographic Society. As an academic, she has published extensively, including co-editing Designing with Smell: Practices, techniques and Challenges published by Routledge in 2017. She presents at numerous conferences and regularly advises olfactory research groups such as Odeuropa. She also consults for the wine, beauty product and cleaning industries. She is working on an illustrated book on smell.