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Online Talk: ‘Digitalisation of Access Work: From Fiction to Policy’

September 2023

In September 2023, Grand Union co-launched a publication entitled Criptörök, with an online talk, ‘Digitalisation of Access Work: From Fiction to Policy.’ This event centred on the fiction work by Jenny Chamarette and Jo Lindsay Walton. A recording of this discussion and reading series is now available to view online.⁠

Looking at the labour of transcribers, captioners, and on-demand workforces like mechanical turks, the speakers follow the fiction of Jo and Jenny to encounter the often-hidden aspect of access work. They challenge the assumption that accessibility happens behind the scenes and delve into the histories and futures of access work to understand the potential harms and injuries.

During the discussion, they are joined by Natalie Kane, curator of Digital Design at the Victoria and Albert Museum, to explore emerging themes from the fiction project, including how we can protect authorship from Chat GPT and how the protection of authorship can also protect the roles of access workers. What are the harms of automated text for disabled and D/deaf workers?


– Jo Lindsay Walton’s “An Eternal Amanuensis”

– Jenny Chamarette’s “Criptörök”


– Natalie Kane (Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

– Louise Hickman (Principal Investigator, Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy, University of Cambridge) and Hannah Wallis (Co-Principal Investigator, Grand Union)

The event is co-hosted by Grand Union (Birmingham), the DIGIT network, and the Minderoo Centre of Technology and Democracy.

About the authors

Jo Lindsay Walton

Jo Lindsay Walton is a writer, arts and humanities researcher, and creative practitioner who enjoys interdisciplinary collaboration involving science and technology. His interests encompass AI and automation, climate transition, futures and speculative cultures, finance and governance, as well as games and play.

Jenny Chamarette

Jenny Chamarette is a writer, artist/curator, and mentor who has worked in higher education for the past 17 years, researching and teaching gender and sexuality in film, contemporary art, and visual culture. She has lived with chronic illness for many years and has found solace in writing and connecting with nature during challenging times. Her writings have been featured in various publications including MAI Journal, Another Gaze, Club des Femmes Culture Club, LUX, Litro Magazine, Sight & Sound, and most recently in an artist’s book by the art collective “The Hildegard von Bingen Society for Gardening Companions.” Her nature memoir, “Q is for Garden,” was shortlisted for the Nature Chronicles biennial prize 2021/2, the Fitzcarraldo Essay Prize 2021, and longlisted for the Nan Shepherd Prize 2021. An essay extract from “Q is for Garden” was recently published by Saraband.

About the Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy

The Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy is an independent team of academic researchers at the University of Cambridge, who are radically rethinking the power relationships between digital technologies, society and our planet.

The Minderoo Centre is based in CRASSH (University of Cambridge Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences).