Current projects

Queer experiences of disasters, intersectionality, and space

Dr Billy Tusker Haworth (he/him or they/them) – Principal investigator and project manager, Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI), University of Manchester
Mr Tiago de Paula Muniz (he/him) – Research assistant, HCRI, University of Manchester
Mr Luan Carpes Barros Cassal (he/him) – Research assistant, University of Manchester
Dr Christine Eriksen (she/her) – Collaborator, Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich
Dr Scott McKinnon (he/him)  – Collaborator, University of Wollongong
Dr Stephanie Rinaldi (she/her) – Altruistic administrative consultant, HCRI, University of Manchester

2020: Impact Acceleration grant for project titled ‘LGBTIQ+ experiences of COVID-19 (UK and Brazil)’, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) (£9,990.91).
2019: Early Career Visiting Fellowship, Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space (ACCESS), University of Wollongong (AU$4,000).

The “Progress” pride flag. Image: Daniel Quasar

Consideration for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, intersex, and queer + (LGBTIQ+) people is often absent in disaster and humanitarian strategies, yet they experience unique vulnerabilities linked to inequality and marginalisation. Where LGBTIQ+ people are considered, it is often as one uniform group, but LGBTIQ+ people are not homogeneous, with diversity of experiences both between and within subgroups. Framing LGBTIQ+ experiences as homogeneous is insufficient and risks contributing to further inequalities, with the voices of more visible or dominant groups, such as gay men, viewed as representing all LGBTIQ+ experiences.

I aim to explore the following questions:
1. How do varying experiences of marginality within the LGBTIQ+ community influence vulnerability and disaster risk?
2. What coping strategies and coping capacities are present among queer populations for facing disaster, public health and other crises?
3. How can activities such as participatory mapping be used as research tools and vehicles for advocacy in reducing disaster risk among diverse marginalised populations?
4. How can disaster and humanitarian policies/strategies be more inclusive of LGBTIQ+ needs?

Associated  outputs/activities to date:

Haworth, B.T. (2020). Researching experiences of gender and sexual minorities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Blog post and podcast, October 2020. Posted on and

Haworth, B.T. & de Paula Muniz, T. (2020). LGBTIQ+ experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic: a comparative study of vulnerabilities and coping strategies in the UK and Brazil. HCRI COVID-19 book event (online), University of Manchester, September 2020.

Haworth, B.T., Eriksen, C. & McKinnon, S. (2019). Online tools can help people in disasters, but do they represent anyone? The Conversation.

Haworth, B.T. (2019, presented paper). Queer experiences of disasters, intersectionality and the spatial dimension: a working proposal. ACCESS seminar series, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, April.

Reading social realities through graffiti and street art in conflict-affected societies

Dr Billy Tusker Haworth (he/him or they/them) – Chief-investigator and project manager, Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI), University of Manchester
Dr Eric Lepp (he/him) – Co chief-investigator, University of Waterloo
Dr Birte Vogel 
(she/her) – Co chief-investigator, HCRI, University of Manchester
Dr Catherine Arthur (she/her)- Co chief-investigator, HCRI, University of Manchester
Dr Dylan O’Driscoll (he/him)  – Co chief-investigator, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

2019: HCRI Research support fund (competitive) for project titled ‘A spatial and thematic analysis of graffiti in divided Nicosia, Cyprus’, University of Manchester (£1,700) – disrupted/postponed due to COVID-19.
2019: HCRI Research support fund (competitive) for project titled ‘The writing on the wall: reading social realities through graffiti and street art in conflict-affected societies’, University of Manchester (£3,230).

Street art and graffiti represent a diverse range of artistic, social, cultural, and political practices in urban landscapes, whereby writers publicly mark their different intentions, forms of expression, and potential impacts on communities. Graffiti defines places in dynamic spatial and temporal ways, and often garners divided views. Graffiti is frequently understood as either vandalism or art, but this dichotomy under-represents graffiti; it provides rich insight into societies and social life, including different cultures, social issues, trends and political discourse, and spatial and territorial identities. As both a contributor to and commentary on contested spaces, graffiti is particularly valuable in (post)conflict societies undergoing social and political transformation as it furthers knowledge of peace and conflict practices.

IMG_20190615_162429 (1)
Street art in the north of Nicosia, June 2019 (Photo: Billy Haworth)

For this project we will draw on existing data that project members collected on previous research trips to Timor-Leste, Colombia and Iraq, and build on it with new empirical data from a further, distinct (post-)conflict region: Cyprus. Cyprus is physically, politically, and culturally divided, and presents an excellent case to examine how the political (or non-political) and artistic acts of graffiti and street art maintain or challenge narratives of conflict.

We aim to explore the following questions:
1. What can be gained from an analysis of graffiti writings and occurrence for the management of contested spaces, promotion of peace, and everyday experiences of politically-divided territories?
2. To what extent does graffiti play a role in not only commenting on public and political discourse relating to peace, but in shaping it?
3. How can participatory action research tools, such as walking interviews and qualitative GIS, be useful in advancing understandings of the relationships between graffiti, space, and peace?

Associated  outputs/activities to date:

Vogel, B., Arthur, C., Lepp, E., O’Driscoll, D. & Haworth, B.T. (2020). Reading socio-political and spatial dynamics through graffiti in conflict-affected societies. Third World Quarterly41 (12), 2148-2168.

Haworth, B.T., Vogel, B. & Lepp, E. (session conveners). Reading spaces of peace and conflict through public visual arts. Royal Geographic Society (with IBG) Annual International Conference, London, 1-4 September 2020. (session call for abstracts). CONFERENCE POSTPONED TO 2021 DUE TO COVID-19

A digital photo exhibition / Story Map: “Your Wall Can(not) Divide Us

February 2020, photo exhibitions at University of Manchester, at the HCRI Careers Day reception, and in the Sam Alex Building.
4 more exhibitions were planned for 2020, including 2 at Manchester community events and festivals, and 2 at international conferences (Stockholm; London) – all postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19.

2019 established the International Consortium for Conflict Graffiti (ICCG)

Arthur, C. & Haworth, B.T. (2019, presented paper). Reading social realities through graffiti and street art in conflict-affected societies. Advancing Peace Geographies conference, Coventry, July.

Haworth, B.T., Arthur, C. & Lepp, E. (2019). Graffiti in Cyprus paints a rich and complex picture of this divided society. The Conversation.

Haworth, B.T., Arthur, C. & Lepp, E. (2019). Cyprus’ graffiti paints a rich and complex picture of a society divided. The Independent.

Haworth, B.T., Lepp, E. & Arthur undertook a scoping visit to Nicosia and other parts of Cyprus to observe graffiti, meet local artists and academics, and assess potential for future fieldwork/research, June 2019.

Haworth, B.T., Arthur, E., Lepp, E. & Vogel, B. (workshop conveners). Graffiti workshop: space, peace & conflict, and interdisciplinary approaches (workshop with internal and national and international external participants), HCRI, University of Manchester, 28 May 2019.