‘This is Me’ – 4 new films celebrate the lives of adults with learning disabilities

Photo of Robin Meader with illustrations by Robin Meader

A Frome based charity has released four new films exploring the personal stories of people with learning disabilities.

The films, which were produced with support from OpenStoryTellers and funding from Somerset County Council, celebrate the lives of 4 people who have a learning disability and live in Somerset.

All four films, which explore themes of disability, equality, and diversity, were produced in collaboration with the interview subjects, who were involved in film making, production, and creative illustration and animation.

View the films:

This is Me: Robin
This is Me: Katie
This is Me: Joe
This is Me: Clemma

Alex MacNeil, Director at OpenStoryTellers said:

“We are thrilled to release these films on behalf Clemma, Katie, Robin and Joe. They showcase the phenomenal creativity of people with learning disabilities and power of storytelling for all of us.

“These stories are all unique to each person who tells them, reflecting what matters them, what it’s like to be them and what they each wanted to share with the wider world. Each person had artistic control over the process and the opportunity to collaborate with disabled and non-disabled artists.

“Pigeon Productions is a new wing of our charity and made these films. It is made up of artists, illustrators, storytellers, poets and musicians. We are proud to say that this project also provided paid employment for 5 people with a learning disability.

“We hope these films will encourage other people to explore their own personal stories. The creative arts are vital, and stories are what make us human.  OpenStoryTellers supports people with learning disability to find their voice and provides opportunities to use it.”

Robin Meader, who illustrated 3 of the films, said:

“I joined  OpenStoryTellers in 2004 and became a self-employed artist in 2010. Last year I helped to launch Pigeon Productions because I love making art and films. I have learning difficulties and want people to understand that we have our own lives, our own memories and friendships in the outside world. We don’t just sit at home, we achieve lots of amazing things!  I want to share stories about our world and the rights of people with learning disabilities and autism.

“Lots of people ask why we are called ‘Pigeon Productions’ – well it’s because the pigeon is a creature that often gets left out of society. People can be mean and put spikes up to keep them away. I know what it feels like to be left out and bullied. But pigeons are amazing and strong and good for sending messages. For many years they were used to fly around the world and help people, which is what I would like to do in my films.”

David Huxtable, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said:

“These films are absolutely fantastic and showcase the amazing creative talents of our Somerset residents with learning disabilities and autism. In Somerset, we want to move the social care conversation from focusing on vulnerability to focusing on value – people with learning disabilities and autism have an amazingly unique way of perceiving the world, and it’s a real privilege to get to support them to develop and share their talents.”

There are lots of learning disability support roles available on the Proud to Care website – please visit: proudtocaresomerset.org.uk/jobs

For more information about OpenStorytellers, visit: https://www.openstorytellers.org.uk/

Follow OpenStoryTellers on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OpenStoryTellers
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/frome_openstorytellers/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/OpenStoryTeller

Follow Robin Meader on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Robin-Meader-Artist-109351024154084

Follow OpenStoryTellers filmmaker Howard Vause on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HowardVauseFilms


For more information, please contact the press office on 01823 355020 or email pressoffice@somerset.gov.uk