Alabastron is a journal that bridges the gap between academia and the public to explore aromatic history and culture. Our aim is to create diverse and accessible learning environments in which to discuss how olfaction, Scent Culture, and aromatic trades shape the human experience. 

Since the beginning of recorded history, humans have sought to control their sensory environment and express their values aromatically. They have augmented their olfactive habitat and realities for diverse reasons: cultural, religious, sociological, psychological, personal, commercial,  and political, to name a few. Their motivations for doing so emerge from a complex web of personal, communal, and sensorial stimuli that reveal elements of universal human experiences. 

We at Alabastron wish to explore these topics in a way that honours sensorial experiences and embodied knowledge. We believe that collaboration and dialogue among people with different skill sets and backgrounds create a richer tapestry of human experience. We strive to bring a diverse collection of voices together and elevate those rarely given deference when discussing Scent Culture and fragrance. To achieve this, we are guided by the principle of accessible discourse. We must bring the conversation down from the ivory tower and out from behind paywalls that separate it from living communities and embodied experiences. Accessibility, for us, means striving to remove barriers, checking for blind spots, and listening. Finally, while commercial perfumery receives a disproportionate amount of attention in olfactive discourse, it represents a relatively small and recent segment of the diverse ways in which people scent their worlds. Alabastron aims to move the discourse around scent away from commercialisation and into the domain of human cultures.

Guiding principles:

  • Intersectional dialogue
  • Accessible discourse
  • Celebration of the diversity of sensorial experiences
  • Knowledge beyond Academia 
  • Experience beyond conventional commercial perfumery 
  • An excellent read

Call for Submissions for Vol 1 (2024)

The submission period is December 6, 2022 – February 1, 2023.

The Institute for Art and Olfaction is pleased to announce its new journal, Alabastron, co-edited by Nuri McBride and Saskia Wilson-Brown. As a community-centred publication, Alabastron seeks to bridge the gap between academia and the public to create an inclusive and accessible learning environment where aromatic history, culture, and practice can be shared freely. To that end, we invite community members, industry professionals, independent and early career researchers, as well as seasoned academics to submit abstracts for our inaugural issue.

The first issue’s theme is The Scent of Identity: Olfaction’s Role in Culture, Community, and the Formation of Self.

Papers may address, but are not limited to, the following topics: scent and identity formation, aromatic cultural practises, scent in religious practices, scent and queerness, scent and material cultures, scent heritage, scent history, preserving aromatic traditions, aromatics as a form of resistance, unionisation efforts in the fragrance trade, the fragrance industry’s role in shaping aromatic culture, olfaction and class, olfaction and racism, scent and biopower.

Alabastron is looking for three types of contributions:

Research Articles (Word Limit: 5,000)

These contributions should be original research in fields relating to scent and identity. In some instances, we may choose to reissue a previously published article provided the researcher holds the copyright, and the piece is significant to community education.

Embodied Narratives (Word Limit: 2,000)

These contributions should be nonfiction prose focusing on biographical and community narratives surrounding scent, culture, society and/or the self. It is an opportunity to help others experience the world through your nose. A particular focus will be given to underrepresented communities in fragrance media.

Poetry & Flash Fiction (Word Limit: 500)

Poems, flash fiction and other forms of short fiction focused on the issue’s theme should be submitted ready to publish by February 1st. Poetry and flash fiction submissions do not need to send an abstract.


Abstracts for Research Articles and Embodied Narratives must be no more than 300 words. Submissions in all three categories should be sent by 11:59 PM, February 1st , 2023, to

Instructions for Submitting

Submitters will be notified, via email, by the editors regarding the status of their abstract no later than February 8th, 2023. All submissions must be in English. However, abstracts will be considered solely on the quality of the content and not the submitter’s English proficiency.

Please be sure to have the following information in your email submission.

Email Heading

  • Please include: Submission Alabastron Issue 1: [Submission Title]

Email Body

Please include:

  • Your full name
  • Your university or professional affiliation. If not currently affiliated, please note yourself as an independent researcher or community member as you see fit.
  • The title of your proposed submission


  • Submit abstracts of 300 words as an email attachment only
  • Submit abstracts as a Word .doc or .docx file (not a PDF)
  • Do not include your name or identifying information in the abstract document
  • Include the title of the work in the abstract document
  • Use 1.5 spacing, 12 pt Times New Roman font, with no indenting for paragraphs.
  • Do not use citations, footnotes, photos, or figures in the abstract.

Abstracts embedded in the body of the email or whose document is not formatted as noted above will not be considered for further review.


In recognizing our contributor’s expertise and labour, we will offer an honorarium for accepted submissions in all three categories. Further details will be provided upon submission acceptance.


Submissions should be sent by 11:59 PM, February 1st , 2023, to