CRIPtic x Spread the Word

CRIPtic Arts x Spread the Word collaboratively produce a range of activities including salons, a retreat and research for deaf and disabled writers. Our work together aims to offer a range of activities to support, develop and empower deaf and disabled writers. 

CRIPtic x Spread the Word Salon

Started in June 2021, the CRIPtic x Spread the Word Salon is an inclusive online, free space facilitated and run by and for deaf and disabled writers, to create a community in which people can learn, have fun, and share their work. 

The latest Salon season starts in May 2023 and runs through to April 2024. Each Salon has  a workshop followed by a reading and Q&A from and an opportunity for participants to take part in an open mic. 

The Salon is open to deaf and disabled writers writing in any genre, new or more experienced and is free to attend. 

The 2023-24 Salon season is made possible through the support of Scope and Arts Council England.

2023 Salon Writers

Elspeth Wilson

May 2023 Workshop Leader

Joe Rizzo-Naudi

June 2023 Workshop Leader

Athena Stevens

July 2023 Workshop Leader

Hayleigh Barclay

July 2023 Workshop Leader

CRIPtic x Spread the Word Retreats

CRIPtic x Spread the Word have run two online Retreats for deaf and disabled writers. Free to participate in, each Retreat encouraged UK based deaf and/ or disabled writers to experiment and broaden their writing practice, get insight into the industry and become part of a writing community. Each Retreat includes creative exercises, workshops, readings, industry insights and a sharing event with access provisions embedded within it.

Our first Retreat, Experimental!, created as a response to the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on deaf and disabled communities, took place in September 2020 and was the UK’s first online writers retreat for deaf and disabled writers. Guest writers and speakers included: Raymond AntrobusElsa SjunnesonAnne FingerSara NovićKayla Whaley and Khairani Barokka.

The second CRIPtic x Spread the Word Retreat took place in July 2021, focusing on poetry, fiction, and scriptwriting. Guest writers and speakers included: Matilda Ibini, Omikemi, Charlotte Heather,  Elle McNicoll, Nadia Nadarajah with industry insights from Vici Wreford-Sinnott, Artistic Director of Little Cog; Julie Farrell, a writer, critic and activist and Aliya Gulamani, Commissioning Editor at Unbound.

Access to Literature Research  

Published in September 2021, Access to Literature presents the first national picture of the barriers deaf and disabled people experience in accessing the literature and publishing sectors as writers, creative producers and audience members.

Authored by Jamie Hale, Artistic Director of CRIPtic Arts, and Ruth Harrison, Director of Spread the Word, it is based on early stage research carried out by Spread the Word and CRIPtic Arts through focus groups and surveys with both individuals and organisations, alongside an online deaf and disabled writers’ retreat.  

The report is for people working in the not for profit literature sector (funded and unfunded) and commercial literature organisations, publishing houses and presses, agents, funders and sponsors of literature and the arts, and non-disabled writers and creative producers. 

We hope that it will start to build an evidence base to support change, opening up a wider conversation regarding access and inclusion in the not for profit literature and publishing sectors as well as with funders for more opportunities for deaf and disabled writers, creative producers and audiences.

Download and read the report 

  • The Full Report can be downloaded as a .pdf and .doc.

  • The Executive Summary can be downloaded as a .pdf and .doc, and Easy Read format.

  • The Case Study can be downloaded as a .pdf and .doc.

The Access to Literature Report is also available in the following formats: 

The Access to Literature research and report have been made possible through support using public funds by Arts Council England. 

Salon Alumni: Workshop Leaders & Guests

Jamie Hale

June 2021 Salon workshop leader and host

Antonia King

June 2021 Salon reader

Jenny Alderton

August 2021 Salon workshop leader

Hayleigh Barclay

August 2021 Salon reader

Shannon Yee

October 2021 Salon workshop leader

Tom Ryalls

October 2021 Salon reader

DL Williams

December 2021 Salon workshop leader

Penny Pepper

December 2021 Salon reader

Ayesha Chouglay

February 2022 Salon workshop leader

Sonny Nwachukwu

February 2022 Salon Reader

Inigo Purcell

April 2022 Salon workshop leader

Betty Doyle

April 2022 Salon reader

Shahid Iqbal Khan

June 2022 Salon workshop leader

Kathryn O'Driscoll

June 2022 Salon reader

Hannah Hodgson

August 2022 Salon leader

Sahera Khan

August 2022 Salon reader

Emily Howlett

October 2022 Workshop leader

Khairani Barokka

December 2022 Salon leader and reader

Emily Brenchi

October 2022 Salon reader

Last year's retreat for deaf and disabled writers showed me so much about the barriers people are facing, and made me realise that we needed an ongoing commitment to supporting, developing, and showcasing deaf and disabled writers, which CRIPtic and I are proud to do alongside Spread the Word

Jamie Hale, CRIPtic Arts