"It is important that non-deaf people also take action for more accessibility."
Lisa Hinderks is 27 years old and graduated as a medical anthropologist and sociologist. She works as a lecturer and researcher at Hogeschool Utrecht, where she mainly conducts research into the deaf community and interpreters. For example, she studies the identity and subjectivity formation of deaf and hard-of-hearing young people. She also teaches Deaf Studies and Investigative Skills and identifies herself as a Deaf Activist. Lisa was born hard of hearing, but later became deaf due to Pendred's syndrome. In addition to her social science work, she enjoys writing and reading. She prefers to read books that stimulate her to think about certain subjects. Recently Zachtop lachen from Malou Holshuijsen and The survivors by the Swedish Alex Schulman made a huge impression on her (bonus tip!). Lisa also likes to make time to play volleyball and drink coffee.
What do you like to watch?
‘I have access to quite a few streaming services, where I watch a lot of movies and follow many different series. For example, I watch House of the Dragon and Girls on HBO Max, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Prime, The Crown and Wednesday on Netflix and the Marvel superhero movies on Disney+. Sometimes I also go to the cinema. In the cinema I always watch foreign-language films, because Dutch films are not automatically subtitled. I don't use apps like Subcatch.’
‘Digital accessibility is not expensive or complicated. The government should create more awareness about this.’
What was a pleasant, accessible viewing experience?
‘I enjoy the previously mentioned series that the streaming services offer. English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing are available for most productions on those platforms. You can find it under 'closed captions', abbreviated to 'CC'. Of course you can also opt for Dutch, translating subtitles. But those subtitles are much less accessible, because they only include the dialogues. Especially the acknowledgment of background sounds in the CC means that I like those subtitles much better, and therefore find a series or film much easier to follow.'
What do you experience when the content you want to watch is not accessible?
‘It sometimes feels like there's a whole world of information, especially online material, that I can't access. That can often frustrate me. I do try to create awareness about this, but only when I have the energy for this. I always say to myself: 'Choose your battles.' Because there is so much content that is not accessible, I sometimes quickly think: never mind. That is why it is so important that non-deaf people also take action. I think it can be very helpful if they can make each other more aware of this.'
What needs to be done to make (video) makers and content providers more aware of the need for video accessibility?
‘Awareness is the first step. Many people are simply not aware that many productions are not accessible. That awareness must come to everyone: among the hearing fellow human beings, among the video makers and content providers, but also among politicians. In addition, I think that the government can stimulate accessibility much more. This can be in the form of a subsidy or other arrangements, but also in the form of practical support. There is still too often the idea that digital accessibility is expensive, difficult or impossible to achieve. The government could do much more in this; in awareness, but also in providing targeted, applicable knowledge.'