The toilet is often thought to be a mundane space, but for those who lack adequate or accessible toilet provision on a daily basis, toilets become a crucial practical issue which can create and reaffirm feelings of exclusion and regulation. Disabled people, for example, frequently report that ‘accessible’ toilets are not accessible enough, while other studies show that diminishing numbers of public toilets can prevent older people leaving the house. Toilets can also present a stark visual and material enactment of a gender binary in ways that can be problematic for trans, genderqueer or non-binary people. Thinking around toilets and their function as material as well as socio-cultural environments presents an opportunity to consider forms of identity in multi-faceted ways.
Around the Toilet (AtT) is a cross-disciplinary, arts-based research project funded by the AHRC Connected Communities programme, which explores the toilet as a place of exclusion and belonging. The project is based at Sheffield Hallam University with researchers working across three universities in the north of England.
Over the last five years, we’ve been working with various communities – including trans, queer and disabled people – to explore the ways that toilets can exclude some, whilst including others. More information on our current and previous research is available here.
If you would like more information about the research, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Header image: © Loranchet / Sinks in the public toilet of the Castle Terrace Parking Garage in Edinburgh, Scotland / Wikimedia Commons