Duncan’s Wheels and the DRC Photography Group

Tuesday 5th June, 2018

The Disability Resource Centre (DRC) is a day centre providing services for physically disabled and sensory impaired people living in Renfrewshire.

The centre provides a number of leisure, social and educational activities for its members – including its very own Photography Group.

It’s been a busy time for the group, which has been working on a special animation called “Duncan’s Wheels”. The film is due to get its first proper public screening at the Celebrating Volunteering Event 2018 at Paisley’s Lagoon Centre on Friday 8 June.

Ahead of the screening, Paul Cameron, Digital Participation Officer at Renfrewshire Council, tells Paisley is more about the work of the DRC, the Photography Group’s projects and talks to some of the volunteers and workers at the centre.

“Duncan’s Wheels is a short animation by Renfrewshire’s Disability Resource Centre Photography Group. It’s a light hearted look at serious subjects, including the challenges wheelchair users face with access, parking, shopping and thoughtless people. The film will get its public premiere at the upcoming Renfrewshire Volunteer Celebration event at the Lagoon in Paisley. Two people in the audience will be Kirsty and Jodi who have been volunteering at the DRC and supporting the group over the past few months.

“The Photography Group is one of over 20 different activity groups that take place through the DRC, which range from music and art to woodwork, sailing, gardening, creative writing and more. The purpose-built DRC day centre has been providing services to people with physical disabilities and sensory impairments for over 30 years.

“Photography has always been an activity at the DRC – and while the old darkroom is now used as a store cupboard, the Photography Group has gone from strength to strength. It has really taken off in the last 5 years as the group has been setting up and taking part in exhibitions.

“Last year the group received funding from Renfrewshire’s Culture Heritage and Events Fund and the Paisley Disability Arts Forum to take part in a series of workshops with Glasgow’s Street Level Gallery. Over 8 weeks the group worked with photographer Margaret Mitchell and learned how to use film cameras, develop black and white film and take digital portrait photographs.

“Using an outdoor studio, the group set up shop outside Paisley Abbey and over a weekend the group took a series of portraits of local people. The portraits were then shown in their ‘Paisley People’ exhibition which was held in Linwood’s Tweedie Hall, last year.

“The Photography Group means a lot to the people who are in it. As well as developing skills, it’s also a place where friendships are made and support is given.

“The Photography Group has been trying out a number of new activities this year, including stop motion animation using LEGO.”

You can watch “Duncan’s Wheels. Guess whose coming to dinner” on the Disability Resource Centre’s Facebook page.

Here’s some feedback from people involved in the project:

Digital Volunteer, Jodi Robertson, said: “We have created a five minute animation called Duncan’s Wheel’s, which follows the hero Duncan in his wheelchair while he pulls together ingredients to make a meal for his mystery guest and attempts to get round various obstacles. The animation was made over 5 four hour sessions.”

Support Volunteer, Kirsty Brown, added: “The film was made in separate sections. In the morning we planned it, wrote the script, made the models and set and in the afternoon we filmed. We used an iPad, a cheap animation app and we used our mobile phones as lights. We had fun doing the voices.”

Mary Christison, Senior Officer at the DRC, said: “I think the group surprised themselves with how well it has turned out. It gives a serious message about how everyone can make things better for wheelchair users but it says it with a bit of humour. We hope that we can enter it into some animation festivals, hopefully it will go down well”

Duncan a long term member of the group said: “It’s friendly, it’s social and you are with people who have a common interest and people help each other. You leave your disabilities at the door in the DRC.”

Accessible events in Renfrewshire

I regularly visit the Paisley Museum and Art Galleries and Paisley Arts Centre and try to attend as many of the festivals and events in the town as possible... I particularly enjoy Sma’ Shot Day.

Laura Gray

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