Our history as Signed Performance in Theatre (SPIT)
Founded in 1994, SPIT was originally established to support the provision of sign interpreted theatre performances. Over 21 years, we worked hard, with limited resources, to support theatres and theatre interpreters and provide useful information to BSL users.
In 2015, we received funding from Arts Council England which enabled us to take a step back and review our aims and activities. As part of our review, we received responses to an online survey from almost 200 BSL users, arts organisations and BSL interpreters and gathered feedback at four focus groups which we ran with Deaf people.
Our research showed us that BSL users want a central point of information for all arts and cultural events which are accessible to them, not just theatre, and to feel that there is an organisation which can represent their interests in ensuring that the arts and cultural sector makes good decisions in their provision of access through BSL. Arts organisations reported that the wanted more support to reach BSL users and in assessing the quality of their services for Deaf people. BSL interpreters and Deaf presenters told us that they wanted more opportunities for professional development and the chance to network with one another.
Our future as Signed Culture
All of this intelligence helped the organisation develop a new strategy for the future. We also decided to change our name to Signed Culture to represent the broader range of accessible arts activities that we wanted to support.
We look forward to seeing 2016 as a turning point in the accessibility of the arts for Deaf people in the UK. You can find out more about how to get involved in the work of Signed Culture by visiting our Membership page here.