We’re excited to announce that the toilet team is back with a new project, ‘Beers, Burgers and Bleach: Hygiene, toilets and hospitality in the context of Covid-19’. This research builds on our work in the Around the Toilet project, where we explored the toilet as a place of exclusion and belonging. Our research findings highlighted the labour carried out by both workers and occupants in the upkeep of toilets, something we recognised as an important area for future research (see our report here).
This new pilot study gives us the opportunity to explore the work involved in cleaning, monitoring, and re-stocking customer toilets in hospitality venues. This comes at a time where concerns about hygiene and viral transmission are heightened, and where many public toilet facilities are permanently closed or temporarily unavailable. Safely preparing and maintaining bars, pubs, cafes, and fast-food venues for use has required significant additional labour for hospitality staff. In collaboration with workers, trade unions and local campaigns, this project responds to rapidly changing circumstances in the sector. Together we will explore the labour involved in new hygiene routines in the time of Covid-19, with particular attention on toilet work, and the impact that additional sanitation measures have had upon the lives of hospitality workers.
Our research team brings together Dr Charlotte Jones, Dr Jen Slater, Dr Jill Pluquailec and Dr Lauren White. The team comprises diverse interests across critical disability studies, feminist and queer studies, and the sociology of health and illness, as well as academic expertise and activist commitments to trade union organising, and work and employment rights. This collaborative research has been developed and will be carried out in partnership with people at the forefront of these evolving working environments, with outcomes intended to support their wellbeing. The study is funded by a Wellcome Centre Enhanced Research Award. You can find out more about the Centre here.
More details on the project and how to get involved will be released very soon! In the meantime, please follow us on twitter at @cctoilettalk.