Vidar Hjardeng MBE

Brought up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Vidar studied French and German at Manchester University before a post-graduate Journalism course at London's City University. Now Diversity Consultant for ITV News across England, Wales and the Channel Islands Vidar spent over 25 years working for ITV in the Midlands - much of that time as Editor/Executive Producer on political and social action magazine programmes, documentaries and ‘live' debates - before joining the ITV News Senior Management Team leading on Diversity. Concurrently Vidar spent a number of years as a Consultant with Channel 4's Daytime political show produced by ITN, and also worked on documentaries for the BBC's Disability Unit. He has represented ITV as an Associate on the Broadcasting and Creative Industries’ Disability Network; the Leicester Multi-Cultural Advisory Group and Birmingham Diocesan Communications’ Advisory Group.

Vidar has reviewed audio-books for Radio 4's In Touch programme, as well as contributing to a number of publications including The Book Magazine; Disability Now; Vision Magazine; The FT and Art, Disability and Culture, and has been on a variety of judging panels for events including the Spoken Word Awards, The Asian Media Awards and the RADAR People of the Year Awards. For Insight Radio, Vidar reviews audio-described theatre, operatic and dance productions performed at a variety of venues, including the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Theatres - he also chairs the Birmingham Hippodrome's Access Forum, as well as a similar forum at Birmingham's Symphony/Town Halls. Vidar is also a Trustee with the RNIB Group; SHAPE; Performances Birmingham (which oversees events at Birmingham Symphony/Town Halls) and was a Board member with the national audio description charity, VOCALEYES, which he chaired from 2008 to 2011. Vidar has also been an advisory board member with Screen South and is an Associate with the Business Disability Forum.

In April 2013 Vidar began a new role as a director with Healthwatch, Birmingham and in June 2013 began the role of Director of Communications with Focus Birmingham. In the same year the Minister for Disabled People invited Vidar to become a role model for a new national DWP campaign aimed at encouraging young disabled people to aspire to their chosen career. Vidar has also been asked to join a new Birmingham City Council Challenge Unit focusing on the local authorities’ policy around Social Inclusion across the city.

As a motivational speaker Vidar gives after dinner speeches and presentations at awards ceremonies and charity events, as well as delivering university lectures. In the 2012 New Year’s Honours Vidar was awarded an MBE for services to broadcasting and visually impaired people.