Mereijn Van Der Heijden
Mereijn van der Heijden is owner of Soundfocus, a post-production facility specialised in accessible media. His company is involved with all the major audio description projects in the Netherlands. He started researching film accessibility for the blind and partially sighted during his MA studies in Music Technology (HKU) and his studies in Sound Design (MMus, Bournemouth University). Because of his background as a sound designer, the improvement of sound-quality is always an important factor in both production and research. Mereijn has given presentations and workshops at many international conferences, including Language and the Media (2008-2010), NCDT (2011, 2014), Media for All (2009, 2011), ARSAD (2009, 2011, 2015) ITU Conference (2015, Belgrade). He is regularly a guest lecturer at several universities (University of Utrecht, University of Antwerp, University of Gent, Bournemouth University). In 2013 Mereijn came up with the idea for Earcatch (a mobile application for audio description) because the Dutch film and broadcast industry couldn’t provide a proper solution for an audience with sight problems. Earcatch was launched in 2015 and has become the industry standard for delivering AD in the Netherlands. In 2016 Earcatch received the Dutch Interactive Award and a silver European Lovie Award.