Here are some of the frequently asked questions we get at CRIPtic

What do you mean by deaf and disabled?

The focus of CRIPtic is on deaf and disabled people within the arts.

By this, we mean “all people who face disableist [including audist or neurotypist] barriers”, or “people who identify themselves as deaf or disabled and/or are identified by others as deaf or disabled in society”.

Audist barriers are barriers created assuming on a hearing world, which exclude and marginalise deaf people.
Neurotypist barriers are barriers created assuming on a world constructed for neurotypical people, which exclude and marginalise neurodivergent people.

Our definition of ‘disabled’ covers everyone who faces socially constructed disableist barriers in their lives. We recognise that many disabled people face barriers that emerge from their underlying condition (or impairments) which impact on their access to opportunities within the arts as well as socially constructed barriers.

We don’t focus on specific impairments, and include everyone disabled. However, people whose experiences fit into the below categories (alongside many others not listed) might find a home for their work as CRIPtic.

  • Deaf, deaf, deafened, and hard of hearing people
  • Blind people, visually impaired and people with low vision
  • People with physical impairments
  • Mad people, people with mental health problems, mentally ill people, and people experiencing mental distress
  • People with learning disabilities
  • Neurodivergent people
  • People with chronic illnesses and chronic pain
  • People with energy limiting impairments

Certainly we recognise that not everyone who we have listed would identify themselves as “disabled”. Nonetheless, “disabled” is valuable as an umbrella term. We obviously don’t insist that people use it for themselves. This is because we see the word as reflecting the common route of our oppression, and the solidarity we owe each other.

Why do you say ‘deaf and disabled’?

We have moved to saying “deaf and disabled” rather than “d/Deaf and disabled”. This is to recognise changes in how deaf people use language and the shared experiences of deaf people with all linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Our events generally have BSL and auto-captions, and we welcome Deaf signers.

What do you mean by the social model of disability?

We base a lot of our work on the social model of disability. By this, we mean that the source of the oppression deaf and disabled people face is in society. While we might have our conditions, impairments, or illnesses (which might affect us all differently), society places barriers in our way. Touretteshero explain it excellently here.

What types of access barriers are there in the arts?

  • Physical – these include people hosting events in spaces where they have not provided wheelchair access for performers, or for the audience. It also includes galleries hanging pictures where viewers can’t get close enough to see from a wheelchair or if someone is blind or has low vision. As well, places have dim lighting which then makes lip-reading and navigation difficult.
  • Informational – people not having captioned their videos or events without BSL interpretation. These include writing confusing and complex documents or formatting them badly for screen-readers.
  • Organisational – organisations not having considered that people might face access barriers. This means they might not have calculated them into event plans or project costs.
  • Technological – websites not being accessible via screen-reader, online events relying on people being able to see and hear everything currently going on and not providing audio-description and captions/BSL.
  • Attitudinal – assumptions that because of your ‘impairment’ you can’t do a particular artform, like be a blind aerialist (Tito Bone). These could also be people saying it’s impossible to accommodate someone with your impairment in a project

Why do you sometimes prioritise people facing the highest access barriers

All deaf and disabled people face access barriers within the industry, and we design CRIPtic Arts’ projects with the intention of reaching everyone. However, we also recognise that whether due to unmet access needs, some people will face barriers that others don’t. These might include

  • Physical – people unable to leave their house, or people who require a Changing Places toilet to work in a venue
  • Informational – people who require information in BSL or Easy Read
  • Organisational – people with high access costs that projects refuse to cover
  • Technological – people who can’t access online events where captions and BSL aren’t being provided correctly
  • Attitudinal – people who use assistive or augmentative communication, or have learning disabilities, when people treat them as if they’re unable to work within the arts.
  • Intersectional – people who experience intersecting oppressions where new barriers arise and organisations do not meet requirements

This means that for some of our projects, we prioritise people who are the least likely to be able to get the opportunities they need to succeed – but many of our projects are open access. We do not limit ourselves to people facing these barriers. However, we do try to ensure that we are supporting and prioritising people who would not get their needs met elsewhere, and who would get real benefit from these opportunities.

If you have any other questions, please email team@cripticarts.org