Water security is a growing issue in urban areas in emerging countries (Obani and Gupta, 2016) as populations in the countries lack access to clean water and sanitation, UN’s sustainable development goal 6 (SDG). These workshops are unique in that they include bio-physical and socio-cultural factors to gain invaluable knowledge of the issues related to water security and gender. This inter-disciplinary vantage point is crucial to enhance knowledge and create new solutions. Underlying the approach is the belief that ensuring clean water and sanitation for all is fundamental to sustainable growth and development (Barbier and Burgess, 2017).

The aim of both workshops is to create knowledge and ideas that can propose innovative solutions to water security with the focus on gender. Overall, the objective is to help address the particular issues faced by women and LGBTQ populations in regards to water security through:

Identifying water insecurity issues;

Exploring and creating clear action points;

Creating and facilitating a platform for creation of networks, knowledge sharing and capacity building.

The first workshop took place in May 2019 at the University of Kent (more information below) and the second will take place in Kolkata, India, on 13 and 14 August.

The second workshop will have a focus on solutions – building sustainable solutions and research that can help solve issues related to water security.  The workshops, and the underlying project they are connected to, are geared towards creating inclusive, bottom up water justice approaches, which we have found are absent in current policy and implementation of initiatives addressing water security issues.

We are looking forward to two days with lively discussions amongst participants from across academic disciplines, community members, organisations and stakeholders on how to create solutions to water injustices and insecurities along biophysical, environmental, socio-economical, political and cultural dimensions.

To second workshop will aim to create knowledge and ideas that can propose innovative solutions to water security with a focus on gender, and the workshop specifically aims to:

  • Explore and create clear action points;
  • Create and facilitate a platform for creation of networks, knowledge sharing and capacity building.

The workshop will consist of two days, one field-trip day and one day of discussions.

On the day of discussion, the workshop will be structured along three themes; research methods, community based solutions and implementation. The day will end with a panel discussion and presentation of the findings and platform created in the project.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Kolkata Research Assistants

Sandeepta Das is a strong, ever-poised young revolutionary who has been bending societal barriers for the love of humanity. They continue to create art which will speak of stories: words do not suffice. Sandeepta does illustrations, performing arts, paintings, graffiti, and also works for LGBTQIA+ rights in India. They represent Hope, Love, and Humanity through their art work. Art is an unending universe with infinite bodies. Sandeepta’s art are not just illustrations, it is a story of life, woven into ink and colours; of life’s celebrations, triumphs and downfalls. Art is not art anymore. It is revolution.

Jaydeep Sinha completed his Masters in Sustainability & Management from Royal Holloway University of London in 2011. He took Water and Development as an optional module which helped him to understand different interrelated issues related to Water Security especially in the Global South. Although his dissertation was a perception study of sustainability among Indian fashion and textile consumers which has been appreciated by his professors. Jaydeep worked as an intern at the Centre for Social Markets, Bangalore on a Oxfam supported research project that dealt with different business models (for profits, not for profits & hybrid) contributing to eliminate Urban Poverty. To gain a deeper field knowledge Jaydeep further worked with Nidan in another research project by the MIA and EU in rural Bihar. It was a real learning experience for him about India, its rural life and micro health insurance, SHGs, microfinance issues and so on. The last few years Jaydeep has focused on his musical career. He won the All India Radio Music Competition in 2009 and performing Ghazals on stage. He is closely associated with theatrical productions as well.

Update from our Water Security on a Gender Continuum workshop 23 May 2019

We organised our first workshop on the 23 May at the University of Kent, Canterbury and had a great day filled with discussions around what key issues related to water security on a gender continuum are, and how we can identify them through research and community work.

The workshop was followed by two training workshops on the 24 May on collaborative interdisciplinary activist & community driven methods and GIS mapping methods with physical and social scientific data. We had around twenty participants at the main workshop from across the world, and despite challenges in gaining visa entries, we were also lucky enough to have community representatives and scholars present in Canterbury– all of which meant the workshop could really dvelve into the lived problems  related to water security for populations across the gender continuum.

The workshop was the first of two workshops that bring together scholars, community organisations and stakeholders across disciplines and South Asian countries to explore and identify the intersecting needs and issues faced by people across the gender continuum from physical and social sciences viewpoints. The second is due to take place in August 2019.

The May 2019 workshop brought together stakeholders, academics, civil servants and activists from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, and focus on biophysical, environmental, socio-economical, political and cultural factors.

23 May Workshop Programme

Workshop sessions will focus on identifying issues and challenges in groups, and in the end as a whole group – setting out & identifying key issues to be addressed in Water Security on a gender continuum.

Room: Sibson Seminar room 1 – directions found here.

9:30 – 10:00 Coffee & registration

10:00 – 10:15 Welcome & practical information

10:15 – 10:45 Water Security on Gender continuum – Introduction & initial findings (Subham Mukherjee & Dr. Trude Sundberg)

11:00 – 12:00 Key notes:

Water Security & Gender: what we know – Leila Harris, Co Director, Program on Water Governance (https://www.geog.ubc.ca/persons/leila-harris/)

Paul Boyce, University of Sussex

12:00 – 13:00 Workshop sessions – Where and how does water matter across the gender continuum? Identify problems

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 15:00 Key note – Water Secuirty & SOGIESC issues – Emily Dwyer, Edge Effect (https://www.edgeeffect.org/emily-dwyer/ )

15:15 – 4 Workshop session – Gendered water security:  from identifying challenges to suggesting problems that needs focusing on

16:15 Panel & sum up: What the key issues in water security & what is the role of gender in these issues

Professor Sikdar

Professor Mahalaya Chatterjee, University of Calcutta

Dr Stroma Cole, UWE Bristol

Dr Leila Harris

2 community representatives – to be confirmed by Friday as we are awaiting visa application decisions.

18:00 Drinks & snacks

Biographies of workshop leaders

The following academics/practitioners presented on the workshop outcomes at Kent’s GCRF Conference in July 2019.

Dr Trude Sundberg

Dr Trude Sundberg is Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR).

She received an MSc in Comparative Politics (Research) from the London School of Economics and Political Science and an Mphil in Political Science from the University of Oslo, before completing her PhD at the SSPSSR.

Her main interests are public attitudes, values and perceptions of vulnerable groups on a series of dimensions applying an intersectional and gender sensitive approach. She researches these comparatively, and have focused on Mainland China the last two years.

One dimension of her work focuses on welfare legitimacy and the values, attitudes and perception underlying and supporting different types of welfare arrangements across the world. She is continuously developing and working on several research strands along this dimension: one focusing on deservingness and stereotyping of welfare claimants, one focusing on comparative views of government responsibilities in East-Asia, China and Europe.

A second dimension of her work focuses on reactions to and the lived experiences of attitudes, stereotypes, values and perceptions held by the public and by those facing the consequences of these. This has led her to research Chinese feminism as well as the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals in China.

The last dimension of her work is aimed to improve research methods research through radically inclusive and innovative research methos, and previously she has in particular done research on systematic review methodology and the ‘what works’ tradition.

She is Joint Coordinator of the Kent’s Q-Step Centre, a centre which aims to combine innovative teaching and applied social sciences to the benefit of both our own students as well as the wider population in Kent, and in particular students in Secondary Education.

Dr. Debanuj DasGupta

Dr. Debanuj DasGupta is Assistant Professor of Geography and Women’s, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Connecticut. Debanuj’s research and teaching focuses on racialized regulation of space, immigration detention, queer migrations, sustainable development, and the global governance of migration, sexuality, and HIV.

Prior to his doctoral degree, Debanuj worked for over sixteen years within several international development agencies, HIV/AIDS, LGBT rights and immigrant rights organizations in India and the US. In 1994, Debanuj founded the first HIV prevention program for men who have sex with men, gay men, and transgender women in Kolkata.

Since relocating to the United States, Debanuj has organized around environmental justice throughout Midwestern United States, LGBT immigrants & asylum seekers in the New York tristate area. Debanuj serves on the political geography editorial board of the Geography Compass and is Board-Co Chair of the Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies: CLAGS at the City University of New York. He is the recipient of the Ford Foundation-funded New Voices Fellowship, American Association of Geographers and National Science Foundation funded T. J. Reynolds National Award in Disability Studies, and the International AIDS Society’s Emerging Activist Award.

Debanuj is currently completing a Mellon Humanities and National Endowment for the Humanities funded Junior Fellowship in Trans-Regional Studies: Inter-Asian Linkages & Connections through the Social Science Research Council. His project investigates the changing nature of legal recognition of transgender and intersex communities in South and South-East Asia. He was recently awarded the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Award, and he is collaborating on a transnational research project about water security issues faced by women and transgender communities in South Asian countries.

He is the co-editor of Friendship As Social Justice Activism: Critical Solidarities in Global Perspective (University of Chicago Press), and Queering Digital India: Activisms, Identities and Subjectivities (University of Edinburgh Press). His scholarly work has been published in journals such as Disability Studies Quarterly, Contemporary South Asia, SEXUALITIES, Gender, Place & Culture, Emotions, Space, and Society, and the Scholar and the Feminist (S&F online).

Subham Mukherjee

Subham is a PhD candidate working on Urban Water Security assessment at the Freie University of Berlin, for which he has been awarded the DAAD full scholarship. His PhD project explores the dimensions and issues for quantitative assessment of urban water security in Kolkata. He holds Masters of Science degrees in Ecohydrology (Christian Albrecht University of Kiel, Germany), in GIS for Catchment Dynamics and Management (University of Leeds, UK) and Remote Sensing and GIS (University of Burdwan, India).

Subham has held several research positions both in academic positions and in advisory/management roles for the Governments of England, Scotland, and India. In the latter context, Subham’s expertise in GIS and Mapping Techniques has been applied to research under the Rural Payment Agency for DEFRA (2010-2011), in contribution to various rivers projects for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (2011) and as a Project Supervisor for Coastal Regulatory Zones under the Ministry of Environment and Forest for the Government of India (2014). His academic roles have seen him engaged both as a research associate and within a teaching capacity, with responsibility for Masters Students both at the Capital Normal University, Beijing (2014-2016) and the University of Kiel (2013).

Subham has been the recipient of several prestigious scholarships in acknowledgement of his academic excellence throughout his career. In addition to the DAAD scholarship which supports his PhD, Subham was awarded a full Research Scholarship from the Chinese Scholarship Council to pursue his work in China, and the UNESCO-Erasmus Mundus Full Scholarship to support his MSc Studies at the University of Kiel (2011-2013). He has a number of publications in reputed journals, and has frequently presented at conferences and roundtables in his areas of specialism. He is a Postgraduate fellow of the Royal Geographical Society ( with IBG) where he served as an Ambassador of Geography (2009 – 2010) to promote Geography in Schools.