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Bedding Out

Created and performed by Liz Crow
Live durational performance, 2012-2013
With audio description, captions, BSL interpretation and transcripts


Originating with a performance as part of SPILL Festival of Performance in November 2012, Bedding Out emerges from the current welfare benefits overhaul, which threatens many with poverty and a propagandist campaign that has seen a doubling in disability hate crime.

The project sees artist-activist Liz Crow taking her private bed-oriented life and placing it in the public arena for all to see over a 48-hour period in order to show that what many see as contradiction, or fraud, is simply the complexity of  real life. Bedding Out has  gone on to tour as part of the People Like You exhibition at Salisbury Arts Centre in April 2013, coinciding with the introduction of the Personal Independence Payment, which replaced Disability Living Allowance on 8 April 2013.

Members of the public are invited to participate in ‘Bedside Conversations’, gathering around the bed to talk about the work, its backdrop and its politics, while those unable to attend in person are invited to take part virtually, through social media. The Salisbury performance was watched on livestream by more than 9,750 people in over 50 countries and received national coverage in The Guardian newspaper. In August 2013, Bedding Out travelled to Edinburgh where it was performed as part of The Fringe.

Bedding Out also exists in installation form.

Bedding Out was  commissioned as part of Disability Arts Online’s Diverse Perspectives project (, which  commissioned eight disabled artists across the UK to make a new artwork that would spark conversations and debate about the Creative Case for Diversity.



Commendation for innovation, Jodi Awards for accessible digital culture, 2013

Rowen Jade Award, 2013

Twitter Conversations

These Twitter Conversations contain a selection of the many thousands of #beddingout tweets generated from the run up to the Salisbury and Edinburgh performances to their aftermath.

Eight conversations were held with people around the bed, with commentary from the twitter feed, as well as several conversations that were specifically twitter-based. As well as public twitter conversations, others were held with Occupational Therapy Chat, DADAA (Disability in the Arts, Disadvantage in the Arts) in Australia and with students at Sheffield Hallam University.

Tweets have been edited for ease of reading and reordered by theme. A few additional comments have been included from Facebook and The Guardian article about Bedding Out. Some conversations run over several tweets and have been edited into paragraphs.

All URLs were checked in September 2013.

Liz Crow would like to thank Judith Stewart and Emma Sheppard for help with editing and especially ‘tweetmeisters’ Dawn Willis and Laura, without whom there wouldn’t have been a twitter feed at all!

A subsequent book chapter by Lucy Burke and Liz Crow considers the way that Bedding Out placed new social media at the centre of its exploration of changes to the benefits system and the human consequences of austerity, potentially transforming the ways in which we conceive of arts based political activism, the politics and ethics of artistic practice and the capacity of both to effect change in the world.


  • A two-dimensional image of an empty bed, photographed and mounted onto a white background, white quilt, & pillows with imprint from a head.
  • A large mat displaying a life-sized photograph of Liz's empty double bed, white bedding and a red fabric throw, lies flat on the black floor of the stage. Grouped around it are four chairs, each with a headset looped over its back. At the pillow end of the   mat, mounted on the wall, is a screen showing the film Reflections from the Bed. Above the stage stretch the stained glass windows of this former church.
  • A large mat displaying a life-sized photograph of Liz's empty double bed, white bedding and a red fabric throw, lies flat on the black floor of the stage. Grouped around it are four chairs, each with a headset looped over its back. At the pillow end of the   mat, mounted on the wall, is a screen showing the film Reflections from the Bed.
  • Three cordless headsets on a white shelf, next to a TV showing the film Reflections from the Bed.
  • A stack of A4 sheets, ‘Bedding Out’, giving information on the performance for visitors.
  • A child looks up at a wall-mounted TV monitor which displays the credits for the film.To the left is a row of three cordless headsets.
  • A head-and-shoulder shot of Liz Crow, gazing pensively to the right of camera.
  • A close up of Liz lying amongst white sheets. She wears a blue top, and a throw of red fabric drapes across the quilt.
  • Liz Crow lies on the stage in her bed, with four people seated around it, holding microphones. A sign language interpreter stands to the side of the bed. Stage right are two monitors.
  • The dark pine bed photographed from the footboard, a wall of white drapes behind. Liz is almost hidden beneath the covers. Next to the bed is a white unit of cubes with books, a lamp, wicker baskets and a small vase of flowers. A red rope loops from left to right forming a barrier between the viewer and the bed.
  • Liz Crow is propped up in the bed, six people seated around it in animated conversation.
  • A close up as Liz lies asleep in bed, her head sunk into pillows and a quilt drawn high to her chin.
  • In the midst of a busy café, Liz lies in her bed up on a stage.
  • A close up of Liz Crow and Dawn Willis, reclined next to each other on the bed. Liz looks over to Dawn and gesticulates, as Dawn types.
  • Between the silhouettes of two onlookers, Liz lies in bed, her cheek resting on her hand.
  • Liz is in the bed the interpreter kneeling up next to her, and five people seated around it.
  • Behind the red rope, Liz’s daughter perches on the bed, her mother's arm around her.
  • A montage of photos giving a panoramic view of Liz's view from the bed: white walls and a ceiling dotted with lights, an open door to the room, with two large high windows on the wall opposite. Liz's arm extends across the sheets.
  • A montage of photos giving a panoramic view of Liz's view from the bed: a large red curtained arch, black beams on the ceiling and expanses of canvas sails are framed by stained glass windows. Liz's arm extends across the sheets.
  • A montage of photos giving a panoramic view of Liz's view from the bed: two standard lamps frame the bed with a warm yellow glow, the space extends beyond the foot of the bed to a cafe area, the words 'cafe' lettered on a large picture window. Above the bed is a fabric canopy in white, festooned with multiple red paper lamp shades. Liz's arm extends across the sheets.
  • An Adshel poster shows a close up from the Bedding Out performance, Liz Crow nestled into white pillows. It is superimposed with the text 'As politicians plunge thousands into poverty and government-press propaganda sees a doubling in disability hate crime, Bedding out performance against the benefits overhaul to show what many call contradiction or fraud is simply the complexity of life.' It includes a web link the the RGP project In Actual Fact.
  • In a white-walled gallery, is a double bed with a white quilt and a throw of red fabric. Leaning against the pillows is a video display screening Reflections from the Bed.
  • In a white-walled gallery, is a double bed with a white quilt and a throw of red fabric. Leaning against the pillows is a video display screening Reflections from the Bed. On the wall behind are images from...

Tour History

  • Bedding In (performance)

    • Ipswich, Suffolk

      1 - 3 Nov 2012

      SPILL Festival of Performance, Ipswich Art School Gallery

    • Salisbury, Wiltshire

      10 - 12 April 2013

      Salisbury Arts Centre

    • Edinburgh

      9 - 10 Aug 2013

      Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Hunt & Darton Cafe

  • Bedding Out (installation)

    • Salisbury, Wiltshire

      8 Mar - 9 Apr 2013

      People Like You exhibition, Salisbury Arts Centre

    • Poole, Dorset

      4 May - 15 Jun 2013

      People Like You exhibition, Lighthouse Centre for the Arts

    • San Diego

      27 Jun - 19 Jul 2014

      Performing Crip Time: Bodies in Deliberate Motion exhibition, Space4Art

    • Leicester

      17 Nov 2015 - 17 Jan 2016

      Art, Life, Activism, Attenborough Arts Centre

    • Rennes

      20 May – 30 Jun 2017

      Autonomous Spaces exhibition, Les Ateliers du Vent

    • Madrid

      25 Oct 2022 – 29 Jan 2023

      Mujer y discapacidad/Women & Disability exhibition ONCE Foundation Art Biennial, CentroCentro

    • Montreal

      23 Feb – 6 Apr 2024

      De la vie au lit/The bed life exhibition UQAM – Galerie de l’UQAM

  • Bedding Out (exhibition poster)

    • Bristol

      Sep - Nov 2013

      Bearpit Outdoor Gallery, People's Republic of Stokes Croft


  • UK

    BBC Big Screens, UK-wide
    DPAC conference, London
    Daisy Festival, Guildford
    Autonomous Spaces exhibition, Rennes
    Millions Missing event, Bielefeld


  • Bedding Out

    Created & performed by Liz Crow

    Trish Wheatley (SPILL Festival)
    CoQuo PR (Salisbury)
    Amy Hicks (Edinburgh Fringe)

    Dawn Willis (Salisbury)
    Laura Stringhetti (Edinburgh Fringe)

    British Sign Language Interpreters
    Emma Saunders & Carol Rees-Williams (Salisbury)
    Yvonne Waddell (Edinburgh Fringe)

    Marian Cleary (Salisbury)


  • Dear Liz, Bravo! Your spirit shines!

    Yoko Ono
  • wit and rage…defiance and openness...daring and brilliance

    Exeunt magazine
  • A valuable insight into lives beyond our own

    Three Weeks Edinburgh
  • Liz Crow performs Bedding In, doing what she does best: radical risky truth-telling

  • An urgent piece calling to collective action

    Rosa Postlethwaite, SPILL Writing
  • When lives are literally at stake, it's easy to see why it drives people like Liz Crow to get out of bed in the morning. Or even stay in it.

    Morning Star
  • Wonderful concept that really speaks to my experience, exactly the type of subject that Disability Arts should be exploring

  • A perf activist doing important work not “just” for the disabled community, but for
    *all of us*


Advice & Support

RGP can’t advise on benefits applications and appeals – this is not our specialist area – but these groups can.

Citizens Advice Bureau
“We help people resolve their legal, money and other problems by providing free, independent and confidential advice.” Website lists local branches.

Law Centres Network
Search for your nearest law centre.

Benefits and Work
Subscription service (£19.45/year) for detailed and up-to-date guides on how to make effective claims and appeals.

Counselling & crisis

Confidential helpline open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. “Talk to us any time you like, in your own way, and off the record – about whatever’s getting to you… Please don’t suffer alone.” Website lists local branches.
08457 90 90 90 (UK only)
Email [email protected]
Samaritans youth project: 020 8692 5228

Turn to Me
Online mental health support community, where you can remain anonymous. Valuable resource in times of real crisis and whilst feeling suicidal thoughts.

In Scotland: Telephone Counselling Service for Disabled People in Scotland
Monday – Thursday 11am – 3pm
0808 8010362 (freephone in Scotland)

Campaigns & Resources


The People’s Assembly
A national forum for anti-austerity views to bring together campaigns against cuts and privatisation with trade unionists in a movement for social justice

Disabled People Against the Cuts
Direct action for justice and human rights for all disabled people

Black Triangle Campaign
Anti-defamation campaign in defence of disability rights

In Actual Fact
Anti-propaganda site of actual facts about cuts and claimants

WOW Petition!
Your signature is needed to call for a cumulative impact assessment of welfare reform, and a new deal for sick & disabled people based on their needs, abilities and ambitions

Diary Of A Benefit Scrounger
Sue Marsh shares information on welfare cuts, illness, disability and general, current, political.

Benefit Scrounging Scum
Life in a broken bureaucracy with a bendy and borked body

Where’s the Benefit?
Campaigning against the government’s distressing war on disabled benefit claimants

Contact your MP
Identify your MP and write to them free.

They Work for You
Find out what your MP, MSP or MLA is doing in your name, read debates, written answers, see what’s coming up in Parliament, and sign up for email alerts.


Reading & videos

The Tallest Order
Filmed interviews documenting the government’s cuts in disability funding and benefits

Jolly, D (2012) A Tale of Two Models: Disabled people vs Unum, Atos, Government and Disability Charities
Explains the biopsychosocial model that underpins changes to disability benefits, which claims that we can think ourselves out of being disabled and disqualifies large numbers from qualifying for the support they are entitled to.

Wintour, P (2013) The Day Britain Changes: welfare reforms and coalition cuts take effect, The Guardian, 1 April
A summary of the changes being introduced from 1 April 2013.

Baumburg, B, Bell, K & Gaffney, D (nd) Tall Tales about Welfare Reform, Red Pepper
Refuting some of the lies.

Tomlinson, R (2013) 10 lies we’re told about welfare, The Guardian, 2 April
Refuting more of the lies.

Stuckler, D & Basu, S (2013)
The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills, Penguin Books
Looking at the human costs of austerity policy.

Compass (2013) Social Security for All: the renewal of the welfare stage (briefing)
Report from a summit of groups, organisations, chariiites and individuals seeking to defend a comprehensive social security system in response to a speech by David Cameron in summer 2012 which signalled the end of the welfare state if the Tories win a majority at the next election.

Broach, S & Whittaker, K (2012) Using the Law to Fight Cuts to Disabled People’s Services
Summarises the key legal rights for disabled people and those supporting them, and looks at some of the general duties which may prevent services being cut or withdrawn.

Disability News Service
The UK’s only news agency specialising in disability issues, with a weekly news roundup on a range of issues including benefits.

NHS Whistle Blower
Former Regional Director of the Department of Health explains changes in the NHS and why he resigned his post in protest. Search on ‘Gabriel Scally’.

Quarmby, K (2012) Leveson is showing ‘wilful blindness’ towards disabled people, The Guardian, May
Shows the connection between the fraudster rhetoric and hate crime.

The Ten Stages of Genocide
Genocide is a process that develops in ten stages that are predictable but not inexorable. At each stage, preventive measures can stop it.

The Three Rs: Rights, Resistance and Reclamation
An interactive presentation and debate with Debbie Jolly and Robert Williams-Findlay, co-founders of Diabled People Against Cuts, evaluating the changing nature of contemporary disability politics since the UK Coalition came to power.


  • DAO
  • Arts Council England

To cite this page: Crow, Liz (2012) Bedding Out, Roaring Girl Productions [online] [Available at:] [Accessed 14/07/2024]