As part of our ongoing project creating a film about the artist and entrepreneur, C John Taylor, and his work on Seil Island we visited the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh to discuss the impact his ongoing support for them.
Over the course of several years, Mr Taylor and his family donated £125,000 to the Royal Blind Charity, which administers the school. Donations of such continued support and scale are unusual in for any charity so his support for them is truly remarkable.
The difficulty in making a film showcasing the many paintings and locations which inspired a man’s life is that it could end up just being a slide show, rolling through various locations with no way of advancing the narrative. So pulling together strands of a person’s influence and testimonies about the mark they have made can help build that narrative. So we have some content already and having the organisation they supported be so forthcoming in talking about impact allows us to tie the legacy built in a small community in the West of Scotland to a national level support service for kids with disabilities.
I always find it so enriching to visit places such as the Royal Blind School. You learn so much, gain so much perspective and genuinely feel encouraged by the great work people do to improve the lives of others. I didn’t know, for example, that they support not only children who are blind or partially sighted, but a wide range of children with disabilities. Moreover, they also support people who were formally pupils but are now at university or beyond and also those who would not be able to live independently outside of the support system. The new purpose built campus has been designed to appeal to senses beyond sight, with textures and sounds apparent. The thing I liked most was that each classroom had a relevant object mounted on a panel beside the door to signify the purpose of the room i.e. a paintbrush for art, a small globe for geography, a screwdriver for CDT.
I also observed the care and patient dedication which the staff had for the pupils in their care. I kept my kit minimal and was not filming people, so they were not performing for the cameras (should any cynics be reading) but were just really being the best form of support to the pupils. Invaluable I’d say.
It is places like this, combined with my experience in the third sector, which makes me keen to make social cause film-making one of the areas in which Simmerdim focuses as a strategic aim. The stories are so valuable.