Victoria Henshaw, 1971 - 2014 / by Brian Goeltzenleuchter

Last spring I stumbled upon a blog titled Smell and the City. Its title was uncannily similar to that of a project I had recently completed. Worried that I may have been upstaged by someone named Victoria Henshaw, I poured a gin and tonic and made my way through about a year’s worth of her posts. Nearly two hours had past and I had barely made a dent in my drink. Victoria’s writing was appealing on a number of levels. It was a take on urbanism that blended anthropology, social psychology, and art (among other disciplines) at the service of olfactory advocacy - encouraging the reader to wake up to the smells around her. Victoria’s prose was crisp and lively, with the ideas of someone who could write for a specialist audience, but who appeared to be motivated by reaching a broader audience.  

Not long thereafter, I emailed Victoria to introduce myself and praise her blog. In an act of generosity rarely extended in art and academe, she asked me to contribute a paper to a book she was editing on scent design. I was in the midst of reading her new book, Urban Smellscapes: Understanding and Designing City Smell Environments, which is and will continue to be an original contribution to both urban studies and olfactory studies. I happily agreed and we began friendly correspondence up to the time of her death. My deepest sympathies go out to Victoria’s family and friends.