For help with a story or to find an expert: 0114 225 2811
Media centre home > News > Around the Toilet project wins national award

Issued:05/12/16

A project that aims to revolutionise public toilets has won a prestigious national award.

Around the Toilet, a project led by Sheffield Hallam University, worked with organisations and individuals to look at how cultural and societal change in modern Britain means the humble public loo is now in danger of discriminating against some of those who need to use it.

The project was awarded the top prize in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences category of the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement’s (NCCPE) bi-annual Engage Awards - beating more than 180 other entries in the process.

Awarded nearly £50,000 by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the project engaged with disabled, queer and trans people, parents, people with religious beliefs that affect their toilet experiences, lorry drivers, and school children.

The project was led by Dr Jenny Slater, senior lecturer from Sheffield Hallam's Sheffield Institute of Education.

Dr Slater said: "The project has been amazing and has led us down avenues of debate we simply never expected to explore when we started out. Now we’re using the findings to help start a conversation with architects about how toilets are integrated into public spaces in the future."

The NCCPE judging panel said “This project took something seemingly mundane – the toilet – and used it to leverage profound change in how people think about and design toilets. A remarkable project, led by a researcher in the early stages of her career, weaving the very best of the arts, humanities and social science disciplines.”

David Sweeney presents NCCPE Award for Around The Toilet project web.jpg

Click to view the image

Other finalists’ work ranged from digitally reconstructing city histories to protecting endangered species; from working with older people as researchers to delivering hyper-local science festivals; from young children conducting their own research to influence the United Nations, to using theatre to improve oral health outcomes.

As award winners the Around the Toilet team has received £1,500 towards further public engagement work and will be supported by the NCCPE to share their work across the UK.

For press information: Please contact Martin Webb in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 2621 or email m.webb@shu.ac.uk.