Wandering Around the Toilet, 15th September, Manchester

To celebrate 10 years of playing out, The Loiterers Resistance Movement are holding Loitering With Intent: The Art and Politics of Walking, a special exhibition at the People’s History Museum in Manchester. The exhibition will be open July 23rd – October 14th, hosting a number of fascinating events, including one from us, details below:

Wandering Around The Toilet
Wednesday 15th September (walk 2-4pm, installation all day).

This tour will explore the history of spending a penny and how a lack of public loos impacts on who can use the city. There will be tales of public health, gender inequality, the blurring of public and private space and the fight for fair access to the toilet. All day in the gallery you can meet members of the Around The Toilet Team, and see an installation designed by Architecture students at the University of Sheffield. The construction is based on the materials and design of public toilets to challenge assumptions and provoke a rethinking of issues of gender, ‘ability’, access, surveillance and the meanings of ‘public’ itself. Drop into the People’s History Museum gallery all day and book free tickets for the walk here: http://toiletwalk.eventbrite.co.uk


Loitering With Intent: The Art and Politics of Walking
July 23rd – October 14th, People’s History Museum, Manchester

The Community Gallery will be full of art by LRM members and friends from Manchester and beyond who are inspired by creative walking. There will also be archive material, short films, music and a programme of talks, walks, games and tools to take away to start your own explorations. From cake maps to CCTV bingo and DIY maps, from strolls across oceans to travels around toilets and the fight for the right to roam we demonstrate how the pedestrian becomes an artistic and political act. Join us for a very special exhibition that shows our pavements are full of stories,  adventures and new connections just waiting to be discovered. Please come and walk, play, wander and wonder with.  A full line-up of participating artists to be revealed soon. An introduction can be found here, and the events programme here.

The LRM (Loiterers Resistance Movement) is a Manchester based collective interested in psychogeography, public space and uncovering the secret stories of the city.  Since 2006 they have been organising public walks, dérives (drifts), games and spectacles offering new ways to explore the streets.  To celebrate 10 years of loitering, please come and play.

Advertisements

Re-Imagining Toilets: An event summary

At the closing event for the Around the Toilet project, we celebrated the provocative, visual and artistic creations produced in our research workshops over the last seven months. The exhibition space provided by Z-arts in Manchester gave us plenty of room to display the ‘Toilet Stories’ comics created by children at a local Primary School, toilet drawings and postcards by Smizz, the alternative toilet symbols created by members of Venture Arts, and the incredible installation game designed and built by MA Architecture students at the University of Sheffield as part of the Live Projects programme. In a separate workshop area, creativity continued to flow on the day thanks to resident artists who helped us to stencil political toilet slogans and designs onto t-shirts and tote bags. A cinema room also offered people attending the event the opportunity to watch a range of activist, artistic and Hollywood depictions of toilets.

Final event pic 2

[Three images: L-R: T-shirts printed with toilet slogans; Venture Arts alternative toilet signs; the toilet installation game. Photos courtesy Eleanor Lisney, Jana Kennedy and Niki Sole.

Activists, campaigners, academics, architects, and others with an interest in toilets, space and access, assembled at our ‘Re-Imagining Toilets’ event on 27th November to continue the conversations that the Around the Toilet project – and many campaigners and academics before us – have been having around the safety and accessibility of public toilets. In particular, but not exclusively, the event considered provisions for queer, trans and disabled people. Dr Jenny Slater, Principal Investigator on the project, introduced the day by reflecting on the social perceptions of toilets, toilet research and campaigns around access. Slater notes that despite toilets playing a fundamental role in all of our lives, the Yorkshire Post recently dropped an article they had invited Around the Toilet researchers to write to mark World Toilet Day. The article was unsuitable, the Yorkshire Post claimed, because it was believed to focus too much on ‘minority issues’. Slater argued that not only were the Yorkshire Post wrong to think that toilet issues were applicable to an insignificant number of us (in fact, we all use toilets), but also that ‘minority issues’ shouldn’t be addressed in their paper.

The speakers joining Slater on the panel had also played key roles on the project. Like Slater, they reflected on how toilets are crucial yet mundane parts of our everyday lives. Dr Emily Cuming, Co-Investigator on the project, considered how toilets are both materially and socially forged, ‘hooked up’ through plumbing and mechanics, but also understood and used as part of a wider public, cultural space. There is nothing natural or given about the categorisations our bodies acquire through toilets, adds Cuming; toilet designs, location and labels are always ideologically loaded. Disability equality trainer, Gemma Nash, spoke about disabled parents’ use of toilets, noting the stigma and moral judgements which place them under greater scrutiny regarding their ability to care for their children. Nash argues that this can unfortunately lead to disabled parents doubting themselves. Communal baby changing spaces may work well for some, Nash adds, but due to the judgement many disabled parents face, shared spaces may feel intimidating or uncomfortable for others.

Final event pic 4

[Three images: L-R: The ‘Toilet stories’ comics; ‘The only good tory is a lavatory’ t-shirt; Smizz’s drawings of the event. Photos courtesy of Action for Trans Health, Jenny Slater and Eleanor Lisney.]

Morag Rose, co-founder of the Loiterers Resistance Movement, discussed how the power structures of our built environment need to be incorporated into our consideration of toilets. She pointed to the rich social history of public toilets, reflecting on whose bodies and identities have been considered in their planning, and the often unexplored boundaries of public/private space. Jess Bradley, Action for Trans* Health Trustee, was the final speaker in the first session. She argued that that by labelling toilets as ‘male’ and ‘female’, we assume that these two categories are the only ones available. Toilets do not only reflect how society understands gender, Bradley comments, toilets produce our ideas about gender. However, things are changing. Bradley notes that gender neutral toilets are becoming increasingly commonplace, and are very often incorporated into building designs without controversy. We do, after all, use a gender neutral toilet every day in our own homes.

Following a refreshment break, the next panel addressed the importance of architects’ perspectives on toilets. Dr Lisa Procter, Co-Investigator on the Around the Toilet project, illustrated how the historical model of the ‘ideal’ (hu)man had been used to design toilet facilities and that these measurements were taken to be a universal standard. Whilst approaches to design have changed, toilets still fail to adequately reflect the diversity of their users. Procter provided many visual examples of the aesthetic potential of toilets. In some cases, toilets are not simply hidden away, but incorporated into the design of the city as their own feature; toilets as public art. Following Procter, Niki Sole and Suki Sehmbi, MA Architecture students at the University of Sheffield, talked about their roles on the Live Projects toilet team. A group of eleven students spent six weeks designing various tools for disseminating and exhibiting our research findings. One of the key outputs from the Live Projects group was the installation game on display in our gallery on the day. Sehmbi and Sole discussed the design process behind the installation, reflecting on some of the challenges of their brief – especially the size limitations, given that the disassembled installation needed to fit inside the boot of Slater’s car. Both Sole and Sehmbi emphasised how participating in the project had transformed their understanding of toilets and the design and planning processes involved in accommodating access requirements.

Final event pic 3

[Three images: Photos of some of the outputs produced by the MA Artichecture students. L-R: Toilet roll with Smizz cartoon drawings; Installation game; Toilet twitter handbook. Photos courtesy of Y Mu.]

Our final panel of the day brought together members of the Loiterers Resistance Movement, Action for Trans* Health, Queer of the Unknown, Truckers’ Toilets UK, the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People, Changing Places, Accessible Derbyshire, and the MA Architecture Live Projects programme. It was inspiring to hear so many voices dedicated to putting toilets on the political agenda. We discussed the ways forward for toilet activism, practice and research; covering a wide range of topics including: the closure of public toilets, the re-labelling of toilets to include a gender neutral option, the use of direct action in response to accessible toilets used as storage cupboards, the lack of consideration given to Changing Places toilets when training architects, on-street urinals and gender socialisation, school toilets, menstruation and learning disabilities, and the radical potential of toilet protests. Many of these discussions were framed within a broader context of austerity and welfare cuts. Morag Rose argued that if the city is presenting itself as open 24 hours then its toilets, too, need to be available at all times. Similarly, Jess Bradley reminded us that toilets need to be included in anti-austerity campaigning, just as a critical perspective on cuts and privatisation needs to be incorporated into our discussion of toilets.

After a delicious vegetarian buffet, a performance from Queer of the Unknown brought the event to a close. Jess Bradley and Loz Webb staged their piece within the toilet installation, using the copper pipe arches to create the public cubicle stalls in which their performance was set. The piece drew on a range of performance practices, including dance, poetry, movement, and even some (well-received!) audience participation. They encouraged us to think about many of the themes of the day; access, safety, transgression, policing and solidarity. Scene-by-scene, Queer of the Unknown negotiated an artful balance between funny, political and poignant; proving all three are possible at once.

Final event pic

[Image: Queer of the Unknown performing. Two people: one sitting within the toilet installation and one standing, reading form a piece of paper. Blue lights overhead and the audience sitting at the front. Photo courtesy of Steve Graby.]

Thank you to everyone who attended Re-Imagining Toilets, or has contributed to the project over the last few months. Hopefully this won’t be the last you hear from us…

(A storify of the event is also available to view here).

Pissed off with Toilets?

Are you a committed toilet activist trying to make the loo a better place? Or someone who’s angry about the politics of toilets and fed up of struggling to piss in peace? Maybe you haven’t got active in campaigning yet, but it’s only a matter of time? Would you like to meet others who want to revolutionise our toilet spaces too?

The Around the Toilet project has grown out of an activist history led predominantly by trans people, disabled campaigners and feminists, who have been arguing for greater toilet access for years. We know we’re not the only ones who are fighting this battle, so we would love others with similar political goals to attend our final event on Friday 27th November in Z-arts in Manchester. The event is free to attend but registration is recommended. There are limited funds to cover travel and/or childcare. Please get in touch with j.slater@shu.ac.uk if this would be useful to you. More information available here.

Please spread the word with anyone who shares our aims for better toilets for everyone, let’s do this together!

toilet logo

Re-Imagining Toilets: End of Project Event

We are excited to invite you to join us for the final event of the Around the Toilet project, Re-Imagining Toilets: Adventures into the Design of the Public Loo, on Friday 27th November at Z-arts in Manchester.

Re-imagining Toilets is a FREE event marking the end of the Around the Toilet project. Over summer we’ve invited queer, trans and disabled people to explore what makes a safe and accessible toilet space. Based on the stories, performances and artefacts created at our workshops, this event launches some of the exciting results of the project, including a toilet-themed game/installation designed and made by a team of Masters Architecture Students as part of the Sheffield School of Architecture ‘Live Project’.

The Re-imagining Toilets event will also include talks from the project team and organisations involved, t-shirt making, an evening performance from Queer of the Unknown, and a free light vegetarian evening meal. The event will run from 2.30pm-8pm but you are free to drop-in and leave at your convenience. The event is free to attend but please reserve a place via the Z-Arts venue website here.

If you’re an architect, city planner or designer, a trans, queer and/or disabled person, have been involved in a toilet campaign, or are just interested in the project, then sign up to come along.

Programme for the day
2:30pm: Arrival
2:45pm: Session 1: Around the Toilet: Project Round-up (60 mins)
Break
4.15pm: Session 2: Architects’ Perspectives (30 mins)
Break
5.15pm: Session 3: Panel – Ways Forward in Toilet Activism, Practice and Research (45 mins)
6.00pm: Light evening meal (vegetarian) (60 mins)
7.00pm: Queer of the Unknown performance (60 mins)

T-shirt printing and toilet films running all afternoon, and a quiet room available all day.

Click here to view a timetable for the day, and click here to view our Facebook event to save the date in your calendar. We would also appreciate support in sharing and circulating the event amongst your friends, colleagues and any interested/relevant networks.

Access information

– More information on getting to the venue here.

– There are limited funds to cover travel and/or childcare. Please get in touch if this would be useful to you.

– A light vegetarian evening meal will be provided. Please let us know if you have any specific dietary requirements.

– Children are welcome to join us for the afternoon and food. We will not be monitoring attendance to the evening performance but it may contain strong language and sexual references.

– There is step free access to the building and all rooms are on the ground floor.

– A quiet room will be provided.

– There is on-street parking around the building.

– BSL interpretation will be provided.

– There will be more information on the programme coming soon, but get in touch if you want more information about any of the activities.

– We endeavour to make this event as accessible as possible. Please let us know if you have any more access questions or requirements.

Performance Workshop Summary

Our most recent workshop, an exploration of toilets through the art of performance, was held at Manchester Deaf Centre on Saturday 18th July. Jess, Loz and Rohan from the queer poetry, art, and theatre collective, Queer of the Unknown, facilitated the session in a way which was relaxed and comfortable, even for those of us who – like me – were nervous about performing in front of others. Activities ranged from the absurd to the serious; using our bodies, experiences and ideas to respond to toilets in physical ways which were new, exciting and different from the conversations we’d had in previous workshops.

For our first performance piece, we divided into pairs to dramatize toilet action using movement and sound, but no words. Performances included secret sexual encounters, covert graffiti, the loud threat of the hand-dryer and getting locked inside a cubicle. So many of our toilet encounters take place without verbal communication that this felt like quite a familiar and comfortable mode of expression which also helped us to get used to the feeling of being silly in front of each other.

In another activity, we were invited to imagine our bodies shrinking down to a size which allowed us to fully enter the toilet system. As a group, we swam down into the toilet bowl and then made our own discoveries of what existed past the U-bend. Some found mermaids, fish, and other exciting treasures, and others discovered less creative offerings, such as my own encounter with a ginormous barricade made of fused toilet roll and excrement.

One of the final activities required a different type of creativity. We were asked to conceive of a toilet door covered in graffiti. Amongst all of the gossip, sleaze and slander, we discovered a beautiful sonnet. It was our task to write that sonnet over the next half an hour. Some participants explored their feelings of toilet anxiety, whilst others took the opportunity to serenade and romance their favourite loo.

Toilet love letter

[Image: An image of a tweet which includes a photo of a hand-written ‘love letter to the Toilet’ with the sonnet rhyming pattern written down one side of the paper.

This was a fun, relaxed day which allowed us to express important ideas and experiences in colourful and poignant ways. Thank you Queer of the Unknown!

At our next workshop on Tuesday 11th August we’ll be exploring toilet politics whilst getting creative with art materials. For more details take a look here. Hope you can make it along!

– Written by Charlotte Jones, Research Assistant on the Around the Toilet project

Next Workshop!

Making/Creating Workshop

Tuesday 11th August 2015, 12-4pm, Z-arts, Hulme, Manchester

Facilitated by Nicky, an artist from The Bower Wirks, this free workshop will explore toilet politics whilst getting creative with art materials. Participants will make their own props and exhibits to use in toilet activism or to take home and put up on the wall. We will be creating our own toilet seats, cardboard cubicles and lots of props to explore feelings of awkwardness and comfort when accessing and using public loos. This will start us on a journey of re-imagining the toilet and ultimately exploring how toilets can make our lives happier. If you live in or near Manchester, identify as trans*, queer and/or disabled, and you’d like to attend the workshop, please sign-up using our Eventbrite page or get in touch with Lisa Procter (l.h.procter@sheffield.ac.uk). No prior artistic skills needed. Free lunch, tea and coffee will be provided on the day and funds are available to cover local travel costs and childcare. Workshop places are limited.

For further details about the workshop contact Lisa Procter (l.h.procter@sheffield.ac.uk), or for more information about the project more generally, please contact Jenny Slater (j.slater@shu.ac.uk).

Toilet Talks – An Event Summary

On Monday 29th June, we held our first public event at Manchester Metropolitan University to celebrate the launch of the Around the Toilet project, ‘Toilet Talks: a speaker event on bodies, identities & design’. We were so pleased by the interest shown in the event and the project itself, both by those who attended on the day and others who weren’t able to make it in person but sent their support. It’s quite a challenge to cover the breadth of critical toilet insight provided by the speakers and other parties attending the event, but below is a small glimpse at some of the thoughts shared on the day, along with some reflections of my own.

[Image: A photo of the ‘Toilet Talks’ programmes: white booklets with a photo of a row of sinks]

In her introduction to the event, Emily Cummings (University of Leeds) briefly considered the literary, art and social histories of the toilet. She alluded to the number of literary bathrooms – such as in James Joyce’s Ulysses and Sarah Waters’ The Paying Guests – which, despite their frequent portrayal, are not always noticed by critics. The importance, but persistent invisibility, of toilets was then situated alongside current struggles against austerity and the social effects of neoliberalism. Cummings encouraged us to reflect on the consequences of the privatisation of public spaces and the importance of defending and recognising the value in the commonplace parts of our cities such as our libraries, parks and public toilets, which can often be taken for granted.

This half-day event, however, took nothing of the toilet for granted. Key figures in the field of toilet research, as well as an exciting range of cross-disciplinary voices on the history, design and role of public (and private) toilets, delved into the meanings, politics and uses of the toilet. The venue itself was decorated with multi-coloured postcards, featuring the illustrated toilet experiences told by Around the Toilet participants at a storytelling workshop last month, and for four precious hours #cctoilettalk became a trending topic on Twitter in Sheffield (storified here).

The first speaker, Barbara Penner (Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL), discussed the high stakes of toilet talk, which she believes is always politically charged. When people argue about toilets, Penner observed, they’re talking about the rights of certain social groups to occupy public space. In this sense, Penner points out that toilets can be a powerful indicator of social status. She drew not just on the current struggles for toilet access in the UK, but also on past movements and those outside of the West, such as the dispute that broke out in 1900 over a proposal to introduce a women’s public toilet in Camden Town, London; the continuing battle for usable, sanitary toilets in the township of Khayelitsha, South Africa; and the Occupy Men’s Toilet movement, started by Li Tingting in China after she became tired of waiting in long queues for women’s toilets. Campaigns for equal access to toilets have been around, notes Penner, for as long as – if not longer than – the first public toilet.

[Image: A photo of Penner’s powerpoint presentation showing the two editions of Kira’s ‘The Bathroom’. Photo courtesy of Eve Stirling.]

Penner’s main emphasis was on the heritage of Alexander Kira’s (1967) widely-celebrated monograph, The Bathroom. Despite the huge media interest at the time, Penner notes that the book is particularly interesting for its failures – Kira’s anticipated readership (primarily designers and architects) restricted his ability to suggest anything too radical, and there were many major omissions in his work. The second edition of the book (1976), however, appealed directly to the public and took greater interest in discussions of gender and disability. Barbara asked for us to follow Kira in recognising the importance of incorporating/considering the user and the body in the toilet design agenda.

Following Penner, Leo Care (University of Sheffield), provided a useful example of how these considerations can be incorporated into architectural education. Care discussed the projects undertaken by the Sheffield School of Architecture, including Live Works, an exciting multi-disciplinary collaboration between staff, students, graduates and alumni. Care argued that our aspiration to maximise accessibility should include accessing knowledge, an understanding of how things work, and an interaction between the built fabric of the environment and its users. Care called for an optimistic approach to toilet design, hoping for unification, rather division; social change, rather than conflict; and a place which can be used for inspiration and reflection, rather than solely functional needs.

[Image: A photo of Leo Care’s powerpoint presentation which shows the Sheffield School of Architecture’s reflections on gender netural toilets. Photo courtesy of Jen Slater.]

After a short break, Jess Bradley (Action for Trans* Health), one of the community partners of Around the Toilet, introduced the second part of the afternoon. Bradley pointed out the massively important day-to-day impact of toilet access for trans* and disabled people (amongst others); it’s not just about the right to pee, but also the right to leave the house and get out and about. She argued that toilet politics are a microcosm of the gender structures and policing seen in society more broadly: who is recognised as what, and who gets to decide who’s allowed into certain spaces? Bradley, like Penner, recognised just how long these conversations have been happening. Trans* people and feminists have been arguing for greater toilet access for years, she notes, but are very often dismissed. She believes that this is why projects like Around the Toilet are so important.

Morag Rose (University of Sheffield) explored the history of the public toilet in Manchester, from issues during the Industrial Revolution right up to the present day. Rose’s talk was illustrated by a huge range of fascinating photographs she’d taken on her walking tours of the city, including a collection of toilet signage from around Manchester. Rose reflected on the way in which disabled people can often be de-sexualised and de-gendered by accessible toilets, in contrast to the hyper-gendered spaces intended for ‘able-bodies’. She commented on the heavily gendered environment of public toilets, which aren’t only subject to the policing and surveillance of ‘acceptable’ bodies and behavior (reflected on by many of the speakers throughout the day); but can also be spaces of comradery (e.g. chats in the queue and the passing of toilet paper under cubicle doors). Following Cummings’ earlier resolutions, Rose also incites us to incorporate a critical response to austerity measures in our discussions of toilet politics. She refers to the ban on homeless activists using toilets in a Manchester public library, the huge number of public toilets getting closed throughout the city and the £80 fine if you’re caught peeing in public. Rose advocates for social change, resistance to these measures, and more poo activism(!).

[Image: A photo of Morag Rose pointing at her powerpoint presentation, which shows a number of images of toilet signs indicating ‘female’ toilets. Photo courtesy of Jen Slater.]

The final speaker, Jo-Anne Bichard (Royal College of Art), provided an introduction to The Great British Public Toilet Map, a free interactive online resource launched at the end of last year which locates over 7,000 public toilets. Using an audit tool to assess toilet accessibility and usability, Bichard found that the most common access requirement which fails to be met by public toilets is a colostomy shelf (only 3% of audited accessible toilets had this feature). As she notes, shelves could be used for many other access needs as well, but a fear of these surfaces getting used by people taking drugs means that they’re not incorporated into the designs of public toilets. The concern around toilet mis-use and criminal behaviour, Bichard points out, often means that toilets are much less accessible than they could be. She also adds that the range of impairments which necessitate certain toilet requirements are homogenised by the blue wheelchair/accessible symbol. Bichard notes that architects will often only consider the needs of wheelchair-users when creating an ‘accessible’ toilet, neglecting to incorporate a huge number of other access features which could make going to the toilet easier, or even possible, for many.

Lisa Procter (University of Sheffield) eloquently summarised the event, briefly reflecting on the hidden emotional geographies made present when we negotiate toilet spaces. She observed how issues of control and policing had been key themes of the day; especially the policing of space, of bodies, and of behaviour. In Procter’s closing remarks, she reminds us of the need to de-standardise these designs, listen to the narratives of people using these spaces, and battle on towards a future of toilet transformation.

– Written by Charlotte Jones, Research Assistant on the Around the Toilet project

Forthcoming Workshops

Performance Workshop

Saturday 18th July 2015, 12pm – 4pm, Manchester Deaf Centre, Manchester

This free workshop, led by Queer of the Unknown, will be an informal investigation of toilets – our thoughts, ideas and experiences – through the medium of performance. If you live in or near Manchester, identify as trans*, queer and/or disabled, and you’d like to attend the workshop, please sign-up using our Eventbrite page, or get in touch with Jenny Slater (j.slater@shu.ac.uk). No prior experience of performance is required. Free lunch, tea and coffee will be provided on the day and funds are available to cover local travel costs and childcare. Workshop places are limited.

Making/Creating Workshop

Tuesday 11th August 2015, time TBC, Z-arts, Hulme, Manchester

Led by researchers on the Around the Toilet project, this free workshop will explore toilet politics whilst getting creative with art materials. Participants will make their own props and exhibits to use in toilet activism or to take home and put up on the wall. If you live in or near Manchester, identify as trans*, queer and/or disabled, and you’d like to attend the workshop, please sign-up using our Eventbrite page or get in touch with Jenny Slater (j.slater@shu.ac.uk). No prior artistic skills needed. Free lunch, tea and coffee will be provided on the day and funds are available to cover local travel costs and childcare. Workshop places are limited.

For further details about the workshops or for more information about the project, please contact Jenny Slater (j.slater@shu.ac.uk).

Storytelling Toilets: Workshop Report

On Saturday 30th May, researchers from the Around the Toilet project met with a group of participants with links to two of our community partners, Queer of the Unknown and Action for Trans* Health. Held at Z-arts in Manchester, this was the project’s first workshop, with a focus on storytelling and experiences of toilet use. A huge range of important issues were covered by participants in the discussion, including the problems presented by toilets labelled as gender binary, anxiety around making ‘noises’ in the toilet, the barriers caused by the architecture of bathrooms and the potential uses of humour in thinking about the toilet.

The stories shared in the workshop were drawn live whilst they were being told by Sarah Smizz, an artist based in Doncaster. We’ll be turning Smizz’s drawings into postcards which will be available for free at future events.

Our next event is Toilet Talks: A speaker event on bodies, identities and design (more info here). We’ll be holding another participatory workshop event in July – this time using performance as a method of exploring toilets. If you’re interested in attending the workshop, please get in touch with us (contact details here).

Keep up to date with our movements by following us on twitter at @cctoilettalk and #cctoilettalk!

Toilet Talks: Project launch event

Everybody is welcome to join us at:

Toilet Talks: a speaker event on bodies, identities & design

Monday 29th June, 1-5.30pm, Brooks Building, Birley Campus, Manchester Metropolitan University

To celebrate the launch of the ‘Around the Toilet’ project we are holding our first public event in Manchester: a half-day speaker event featuring key figures in the field of toilet research, as well as an exciting range of cross-disciplinary voices on the history, design and role of public toilets.

The event is free and open to all members of the public, but please sign up for a ticket here on our Eventbrite page. This page also tells you more about the location and accessibility.

Speakers will address questions, such as:

– What makes an accessible toilet?
– What can toilets tell us about social constructions of gender identity and disability?
– How have designers approached this most private of public spaces?
– What do the hidden histories of toilets in the city reveal?

List of speakers

Jo-Anne Bichard (Royal College of Art), ‘Extending Architectural Affordance or How to Spend a Penny’
Leo Care (University of Sheffield), ‘Around the Toilet: From Social Mess to Architectural Touchstone’
Barbara Penner (Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL), ‘Redesigning for the User: Alexander Kira and the Ergonomic Bathroom’
Morag Rose (University of Sheffield and co-founder of the Loiterers Resistance Movement), ‘Are You Engaged? The Secret World of Manchester’s Toilets’
Clara Greed (Emerita Professor, University of Bristol), Closing Remarks and Discussant

More information about the event can be found here.