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'Public Inconvenience: The Politics of Toilets in India' - the second UCL Global Health Symposium

3 March 2008


Global health ucl.ac.uk/global-health/events" target="_self">UCL Institute for Global Health

The second UCL Institute for Global Health (IGH) Symposium - 'Public Inconvenience: The Politics of Toilets in India' - will take place on 11 March 2008.

Inviting all staff and students, Professor Caren Levy (UCL Development Planning Unit) said: "Toilets are unlikely to be your core academic concern, but your expertise is needed in relation to an issue that affects billions of people. 'Public Inconvenience: The Politics of Toilets in India' will explore the politics of toilets in Mumbai and Pune, India - and the implications for global health, community development and the built environment.

"How communities are able to organise and make decisions about the design, construction and maintenance of appropriate toilet facilities - and to build community health and social responses around them - has relevance for anthropology, sociology, political science, engineering, law, biomedicine and, indeed, most of the disciplines represented at UCL."

At the seminar, Sundar Burra from the Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC), an Indian community organisation, will discuss the politics of toilets in India, the communities that are motivated to develop responses and the implications for the work of many of us across UCL.

Panel members discussing the broader implications of these issues will be:

  • Professor Anthony Costello (UCL Centre for International Health & Development and UCL IGH)
  • Dr David Satterthwaite (UCL Development Planning Unit and International Institute for Environment & Development)
  • Dr David Osrin (UCL Institute of Child Health)
  • Mekhala Krishnamurthy (UCL Anthropology)
  • Professor Matthew Gandy (UCL Urban Laboratory).

Audience participation is also a key aspect of UCL IGH Symposia.

Professor Levy said: "I am keen for us to develop a community of UCL people working in Mumbai and to illustrate across disciplines how important various perspectives are to the successful implementation of programmes at scale."

This new series of challenging and stimulating multidisciplinary global-health symposia aims to encourage you to learn more about, and get involved in, the new UCL IGH. Its underlying philosophy is that the solutions to achieving sustained long-term health improvement reside equally in all UCL disciplines, from the arts and humanities, built environment, engineering and law, to basic and applied biomedical sciences.

The subsequent Spring 2008 symposia will be

  • 15 April 2008 - 'HIV/AIDS: Where next without a magic bullet?'
  • 13 May 2008 - 'Global Health Governance - Who is accountable to whom?'

'Public Inconvenience: The Politics of Toilets in India' will take place 4.30-6pm, 11 March 2008, in the Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, UCL Wilkins Building, followed by drinks. All are welcome and there is no need to book.

To find out more or to register your interest in the UCL Institute for Global Health, use the link at the top of this article.