The Politics of Deafness

  • Free
  • Discussion
  • British Sign Language
  • 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.

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.

Sophie Woolley


Sophie is a writer, performer and director of Augmented Productions, an associate company of Told by an Idiot. As a writer and actor Sophie has worked with Ovalhouse, Soho Theatre, the Lyric Hammersmith, Barbican, the BBC and Channel 4. Her solo stage show ‘Augmented’ is touring this spring.

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. 



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.

Relaxed event

This is a relaxed event, which means that if you need to, you are welcome to move around and make noise at any time.

First come, first served

Booking a ticket for a free event does not guarantee a place on the day. Doors usually open 15 minutes before an event starts and we advise arriving before the scheduled start time to claim a place. We hold some spaces for people with access requirements. If you have any access requests or requirements, email us at or call 020 7611 2222.

British Sign Language

This event will have British Sign Language interpretation. If you would like to come along, email us at or call 020 7611 2222.


This event will have live speech-to-text transcription for visitors who are D/deaf or hard of hearing. If you would like to come along, email us at or call 020 7611 2222.

Our event terms and conditions