Brought up in Whitley Bay, Vidar Hjardeng MBE attended school in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, then studied languages at Manchester University before a post-grad Journalism course at London's City University. Now Diversity Manager for ITV News and Regions, Vidar has spent over 20 years working on ITV's regional programmes, much of that time as Editor/Executive Producer on political and social action magazine programmes, documentaries and ‘live' debates. Concurrently Vidar spent a number of years as a Consultant with Channel 4's Daytime political show produced by ITN and also worked on a number of documentaries for the BBC's Disability Unit. He is one of ITV's representatives on the Creative Diversity Network.
In addition to this he reviews audio-books for Radio 4's In Touch programme and has contributed to a number of publications including The Book Magazine; Disability Now; The FT and Art, Disability and Culture, and is on the judging panel for the Spoken Word Awards. He reviews audio-described theatre and operatic productions at a variety of venues around the UK, including Royal Shakespeare performances at Stratford; Wolverhampton Grand, and Nottingham Theatre Royal - he also chairs the Birmingham Hippodrome's Access Forum. Vidar is also a Trustee for many organizations including RNIB ;SHAPE; Action for Blind People; Performances Birmingham (which oversees events at Birmingham Symphony/Town Halls) and has just completed his term as Chair of the national audio description charity, VOCALEYES.
Esther Fox and Camilla Brueton were delighted to have an opportunity to meet Vidar and hear more about how the broadcasting networks approach diversity and most specifically how they include disabled people’s perspectives within news coverage.
“I think it is extremely important that disabled people are seen as integral to our society. They are interested in the same issues as the broader viewing public. When we have a topic such as tuition fees, we should also see a disabled student being interviewed alongside their non-disabled peers.”
“I understand that this very much aligns with Accentuate’s aim of raising the profile of disabled people in all areas of public life and I fully support their aim of creating a cultural shift in the way society views disability.”
Accentuate is excited to have Vidar as an Ambassador and looks forward to future conversations with him, tapping into his wealth of knowledge and thoughtful insight into the influential world of Television.
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