Free Word: Interim Director

One of our senior partners, Stephen Escritt, was appointed to act as an interim director by Free Word is a centre for literature, literacy and freedom of expression, based in Farringdon, London. Free Word was founded by a group of eight organisations, including Index on Censorship and English PEN, and is funded by Fritt Ord and Arts Council England as a venue and centre for the activities and ideas of its members. Its events programme includes talks, festivals and performances, with facilities including a lecture theatre and a café.


Stephen was appointed Interim Director at Free Word during a four-month interregnum between permanent directors in 2011. His brief was to maintain high standards of activity and innovation, and to review Freeword’s finance and operations in conjunction with the incoming Director, Rose Fenton.


Stephen ensured continuity in Free Word’s programming and significant collaborative work between the founder members. He oversaw the annual audit and Arts Council annual submissions and Free Word’s National Portfolio contract discussions. He also worked to deliver a new website for the organisation and reviewed Free Word’s activities and practices, from management accounts to collaborative programming.


The period between permanent directors was managed without disruption to the organisation. By working strategically and collaboratively Stephen was able to help Free Word develop and ensure continuity with a thorough and ongoing handover process with the incoming director. Stephen’s involvement with Free Word continued beyond his interim role, when he co-curated the Politics & Olympics exhibition there in 2012.

Politics and Olympics: Ideals and Realities

Image © Free Word, used with permission.