Blind and partially sighted actors star in charity films aimed at getting people to think #BeforeYouAsk
Leading sight loss charity the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has released a series of humorous, yet challenging, #BeforeYouAsk short films as part of its See the Person, Not the Sight Loss campaign which aims to raise awareness of and dispel misconceptions about sight loss.
The #BeforeYouAsk films use everyday relatable experiences; in the workplace, romantic relationships, applying make-up, watching football, travelling on the night bus and unavoidable school message groups, to banish myths around what it’s really like to live with sight loss.
The main actors in each of the six short films all have sight loss and were keen to use their own experiences to inform their performances.
Grace Whitford, one the actors who starred in the short film, said: “Campaigns like this are really needed as blind people, like me, get these types of questions all the time. The day before my audition, a taxi driver spent the entire journey asking me how many boyfriends I’d had and how difficult it must have been to get them because of my sight. After that, I was very motivated to join the campaign.
“Some sighted people may know about guide dogs and white canes, but there are a lot of day-to-day things they don’t know so much about and that’s where the negative assumptions lie. Before you ask a question, please just remember that disabled people are human beings.”
Alongside the short films, RNIB has developed an interactive video chat where users can navigate around up to 40 questions to hear the answers delivered personally by blind and partially sighted people. The questions were gathered directly from people with sight loss who shared what questions they are frequently asked. The interactive video chat will be going live on Thursday 2 November.
Vivienne Francis, RNIB’s Chief Social Change Officer, said:
“RNIB’s #BeforeYouAsk films use humour and familiar scenarios to make people think. They also underscore a serious point about the misconceptions people face and the barriers these lead to in terms of people living independently.
“The films challenge these misconceptions head on, showing that of course blind and partially sighted people go to work, watch football, use public transport, seek romance and navigate the tricky world of school message groups - just like sighted people do.
“These scenarios were chosen for a reason; each relates closely to the issues that blind and partially sighted people have identified as the key areas that need to change, from removing barriers to getting around easily, to levelling employment opportunities.
“We hope this campaign will go a long way to stopping both the misguided everyday questions blind and partially sighted people face but also the more deep-rooted misconceptions about the expectations, needs and wants of people with sight loss, which we know are leading to gaps in experiences compared to sighted people; these gaps need to close.”
Last October, RNIB launched a new campaign ‘See the Person, Not the Sight Loss’, challenging outdated public attitudes and misconceptions of sight loss. At the heart of the campaign sits an emotive and thought-provoking short film, telling the story of Ava, a fictional teenage girl who is coming to terms with losing her sight. This above-the-line campaign will be running again on TV and video-on-demand.
‘Before you Ask’ adds a fresh element, centred around the lived experience of people with sight loss and focusing on specific challenges they face. Alongside the short films and interactive video chat, OOH posters will be on display at various sites across the UK, along with radio ads, a quiz and paid social and digital content.
Find out what it’s really like living with sight loss. For more information about #BeforeYouAsk please visit www.rnib.org.uk/our-campaigns/see-differently-see-the-person/.