Around the Toilet is a cross-disciplinary, arts-based research project funded by the AHRC Connected Communities programme. iHuman’s Dr Kirsty Liddiard is a co-investigator on this innovative project, along with colleagues at Sheffield Hallam University, which explores the toilet as a space of exclusion and belonging.
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 that 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.