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The Politics of Deafness

  • Free
  • Discussion
  • Speech-to-text
  • Relaxed
Sophie Woolley's headshot. Her hair is in a long bob.
Sophie Woolley. © Image by Justin Munitz.

Come and explore different perspectives on D/deaf identity politics. You will hear from Rinkoo Barpaga who will talk about racism in the Deaf community and the politics of different forms of sign languages. You will also hear from Sophie Woolley, the ‘deaf cyborg’ who will share her experiences of going deaf and going hearing again via cochlear implantation. There will be a chance to share your thoughts and ask questions.



Need to know


We’ll be in the Henry Wellcome Auditorium. To get there, take the stairs or the lift down to level −1. The auditorium is fitted with a hearing loop.

Place not guaranteed

Booking a ticket for a free event does not guarantee you a place. You should aim to arrive 15 minutes before the event is scheduled to start to claim your place. If you do not arrive on time, your place may be given to someone on the waiting list.


This event will be live-transcribed, with text displayed on a large screen.

For more information, please visit our Accessibility page. If you have any queries about accessibility, please email us at access@wellcomecollection.org or call 0 2 0. 7 6 1 1. 2 2 2 2

Our event terms and conditions

About your contributors

Rinkoo Barpaga

Rinkoo Barpaga


Rinkoo Barpaga is a stand-up comedian, actor, TV presenter, film and theatre maker, one-man show, and street photographer. Social truth-telling is a passion of Rinkoo’s, exploring language origins and partaking in the historical research of colonialism and the effects this has had on signed languages. As a keen BAME member, Rinkoo believes it’s his humane duty to hold a mirror up to social and political injustices through performance, comedy, documentary and written storytelling.

Black and white photograph of Sophie Woolley, a white woman, with long bobbed fair hair. She wears a plain black dress and looks brightly into the camera with a slight smile.

Sophie Woolley


Sophie Woolley is a writer and performer from London, working across theatre, radio and TV. In 2019 she set up Augmented Productions, which became an associate company of Told by an Idiot. In 2020 she toured her solo show, Augmented. In 2021 she appeared in Best in Lockdown (An Idiot Film) and Veneer (Film 4/ Mutt & Jeff Pictures). Recent TV-writer credits include ‘EastEnders’ and ‘Casualty’.

Black and white photograph of artist Jonny Cotsen. Sign in background reads "I am deaf"

Jonny Cotsen


Jonny Cotsen is a Welsh-based freelance performance artist and access consultant. He makes work that weaves the aesthetics of access within his work. He is an artist in residence with Pervasive Media Studio at The Watershed working on a new immersive theatre piece. He recently became a trustee with Disability Arts Cymru, an organisation that have supported him since his early artistic development. He is currently on tour with his solo show, ‘Louder Is Not Always Clearer’, produced and directed by Mr and Mrs Clark and had a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe 2019.

Headshot of Abigail Gorman

Abigail Gorman


Abigail Gorman is a Young Person Violence Advocate for a domestic abuse organisation . In her spare time, she is a Human Rights trainer for the European Union of the Deaf Youth and can often be found delivering workshops in various cities in Europe relating to equality, equity, privilege and politics.