Advisory boards

The Turn On The Subtitles Campaign is very fortunate to have the support of two advisory boards; an Academic Advisory Board and a Technology Advisory Board.

Academic Advisory Board

The Turn on the Subtitles campaign has collected evidence from world-leading researchers to demonstrate the benefits of Same Language Subtitles (SLS) for increasing literacy rates, as well as reading, media access and language acquisition. These experts in their field from across the globe have all recognised these benefits and their research shows how powerful a tool SLS can be in improving literacy rates and in turn increase the opportunities for children around the world.

Dr Brij Kothari

Dr Brij Kothari is an academic and social entrepreneur. He is on the faculty of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) and the founder of and who are committed to scalable solutions for literacy and language learning. He led the campaign for the use of Same Language Subtitling (SLS) on mainstream TV for mass literacy in 1996. SLS became India’s broadcast policy in 2019, thanks to 23 years of research and advocacy, of which Brij played a central role. Brij is an Ashoka Fellow, Stanford Digital Vision Fellow, and was selected as India’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2009 by the Schwab Foundation. He was the recipient of the inaugural International Literacy Prize from the Library of Congress in 2013. He has a Ph.D. in education from Cornell University and a Masters in Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.

Dr Deborah Nichols

Dr Deborah Nichols is Associate Professor of Human Development in the College of Health and Human Sciences atPurdue University. Her research focuses on the relationship between children’s cognitive development and learning and the use of multimedia materials; whilst looking at how these relations vary by demographic and social indicators. She has authored over 100 journal articles, book chapters, practitioner-targeted documents, and co-authored the edited volume Media Exposure During Infancy and Early Childhood: The Effects of Content and Context on Learning and Development with Rachel Barr. She has been awarded more than $7 million in contracts and grants from corporate, foundation, and federal sources. Dr Nichols has also collaborated with many educational media companies including the Sesame Workshop and Nickelodeon; members of Congress; and other private agencies and foundations both domestically and internationally, these include Captions For All, the World Bank, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and National Literacy Trust, U.K. Dr Nichols has served on multiple advisory boards at local and national levels including the PBS KIDS Next Generation Digital Media Advisory Board and the Walt Disney Scholars Board.

Dr Géry van Outryve d’Ydewalle

Dr Géry van Outryve d’Ydewalle is an award-winning scholar whose work on language and cognition is highly regarded within the scientific community. Dr van Outryve d’Ydewalle was a professor in psychology and the Head of the Laboratory of Experimental Psychology at Leven until he retired in 2012. He has also taught at the Rockefeller University and LSE. Dr van Outryve d’Ydewalle was awarded the prestigious Franqui Prize for Human Science in 1992 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to scientific research in Belgium. He is an elected member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts as well as serving as the President of the International Union of Psychological Science and Permanent Secretary of the Royal Flemish Academy. In 1978 he was made a Fulbright/Hays Scholar and NATO Fellow. Dr van Outryve d’Ydewalle had an extremely broad focus in research over his career, his work on the effect of subtitles on reading behaviour was seminal in the field.

Dr Pablo Romero Fresco

Dr Pablo Romero Fresco is a leader in the field of research into accessibility within the film and television industry.He is a Ramón y Cajal researcher at Universidade de Vigo and Honorary Professor of Translation and Filmmaking at the University of Roehampton. He is currently working with several governments, universities and companies around the world to introduce and improve access to live events for people with hearing loss. His Accessible Filmmaking Guide is being used by many international public broadcasters, universities and producers to introduce a more inclusive and integrated approach to translation and accessibility in the filmmaking industry. Dr Romero Fresco has worked with Ofcom to carry out the first analysis of the quality of live subtitles on TV in the UK and is working on a similar project in Canada with Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). He is the leader of the international research centre GALMA (Galician Observatory for Media Access), where he is currently coordinating several international projects on media accessibility and accessible filmmaking with funding from the EU Commission. Dr Romero Fresco’s first documentary, Joining the Dots (2012), was screened during the 69th Venice Film Festival and was used by Netflix as well as film schools around Europe to raise awareness about audio description.

Dr Jan Pedersen

Dr Jan Pedersen is the University of Stockholm’s Director of the Institute for Interpreting and Translation Studies where he has produced research into the effects of subtitles across Europe. Receiving his Ph.D. from Stockholm University in 2007 with his dissertation being a comparative study of TV subtitling norms in the Scandinavian countries, Dr Pedersen was made an Associate Professor in Translation Studies at the same institute in 2015. He is the former president of the European Association for Studies in Screen Translation, co-editor of Benjamins Translation Library and Journal of Audio-visual Translation, which he also co-founded. His monograph Subtitling Norms for Television examined subtitling norms across Europe and explored future developments which could be made in this area. He is a frequent presenter at international conferences and has also worked as a television subtitler and a teacher of English across all levels for many years.

Dr Robert Vanderplank

Dr Robert Vanderplank is a pioneer of research into the value of same language subtitles for foreign/secondlanguage learning and has continued to conduct research in this field along with other areas of applied linguistics and second language acquisition. He obtained his Ph.D in Applied Linguistics at Edinburgh University and has since taught and researched English language and applied linguistics at Helsinki University, the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, before moving to Oxford University in 1996 to be Director of the Language Centre. His publications include publications include a book, Captioned media in foreign language learning and teaching: subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing as tools for language learning (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), a peer-reviewed article in The Language Learning Journal, ‘Gist watching can only take you so far’: attitudes, strategies and changes in behaviour in watching films with captions ‘ (2019). He was also an associate in the Department of Education at Oxford University. Dr Vanderplank retired in 2016 from his directorship role and is currently an Emeritus Fellow at Kellogg College, Oxford, and Director of the Centre for the Study of Lifelong Language Learning at the college.

Dr Jan-Louis Kruger

Dr Jan-Louis Kruger is an expert on the study of media accessibility and audio-visual translation, with particular focus on the effects of subtitles. He is the Head of the Department of Linguistics at Macquarie University in Sydney where he has worked since 2013. Dr Kruger’s research focus on eye tracking has allowed him to further understand processing language in multi-modal contexts and the effects different variables have on the reading of subtitles. Dr Kruger has worked with academics in Australia to compile research into the effect of subtitles on the cognitive process and in learning first and second languages. Prior to his role at Macquarie, Dr Kruger worked at North-West University in South Africa for 20 years as the Director of the School of Languages where he primarily researched the use of subtitles in an academic context.

Technology Advisory Board

The technical process of turning on the subtitles by default means different things to different broadcasters/tech companies. Our board of technical advisers is there to help the broadcasters do this in a cost effective and efficacious manner.

Bob Harris

Having held CTO positions within Channel 4 Television and Marks & Spencer, Bob has over 40 years experience in the IT sector, much of that time operating as a C-level technical strategist in a range of Corporate environments including Retail, Media, Recruitment, and the Charity Sector. He has established a reputation for tracking and harnessing disruptive technologies and leveraging them to deliver competitive advantage. Recognised for his early adoption of Public Cloud and Big Data technologies while at Channel 4, Bob is an AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Associate) and has appeared in Computer Weekly’s UKtech50 list of the 50 most influential people in UK IT. Since leaving Channel 4 in 2014, where he was responsible for their technology strategy spanning IT, Web, Mobile, and Broadcast. Bob now operates as an independent IT Consultant at Ethereality Associate, which he founded, and has undertaken numerous tasks including Interim CTO positions, technical due diligence engagements, development of Cloud strategies for numerous large organisations. He is now active in the world of Voice, and is involved, through a new start-up, in developing Voice applications for the Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant platforms. In his spare time Bob is a Rotarian and is actively involved in fundraising activities for local, national, and international projects. He has recently completed a second project in Haiti to deliver clean water to villages in Haiti’s Artibonite Valley, the epicentre of a major Cholera outbreak.

Gideon Summerfield

Gideon’s career can be split in two halves, both dominated by content delivery and technology. For the first half, Gideon was a journalist whose specialism was charting the impact of technology on TV. Itching to partake in the revolution, Gideon switched into Product Management and has led the development of a number of leading and transformative digital products, including BBC iPlayer, Sky Q and Arsenal Player. He also addressed the D2C distribution challenges of numerous content businesses while at startup Base79 (later Rightster/Brave Bison), then YouTube’s largest content network partner in Europe. After a brief period in the IoT and Smart Home space, he’s back in Content, working with a stealth startup seeking to reimagine sports media for Gen Z.

Mark O’Neill

Mark O’Neill is a leading expert in the successful delivery of complex, nation scale digital services and business transformation. In the UK if you have registered to vote, signed a parliamentary petition, recruited an apprentice, or been arrested you have used a service built by Mark in the past decade. Mark set up the world’s first government “Skunkworks” and went on to be one of the founding member of GDS (Government Digital Service). Mark has worked across digital and technology in public and private sectors in a number of roles including as CIO for London 2012 and CDO in a number of government departments. Mark has worked with businesses in sectors ranging from banking to retail and with governments around the world including Japan, Norway, Ireland and Georgia.  Mark is currently CEO of Artraige, a boutique consultancy focused on startups and scale ups from underrepresented groups and on tackling “impossible problems” faced by major corporations and governments.

Gavin Mann

Gavin has 25 years experience working with leading Media & Entertainment companies around the world and has a strong strategy and industry background. Gavin is committed to leading media industry clients to the “new” through use of digital to grow traditional revenues and launch new consumer services. His experience spans work with Warner Music when they started digitizing their business nearly 25 years ago—and continues through to recent work with The BBC to harness digital to transform their audience relationship.  Gavin is the global Broadcast Industry lead at Accenture. Gavin works across the value chain in multiple industries including Broadcast, Music, Education, Movies, Games and Publishing.  He is a recognized public speaker and has authored multiple articles on the Media industry.  He is a board advisor/trustee for a number of initiatives including BBC Media Action and The Royal Television society. Gavin lives by the beach with Emma and their 2 sons, he kitesurfs, sails and is a guardian of rare plants. He holds a degree in Economics & Mathematics and an Advanced MBA from Kellogg School of Management.

Marina Kalkanis

Marina is co-founder and CEO of M2A Media. Founded in 2016 M2A has fast become a market leader in cloud-hosted video technology. M2A Media’s world leading live streaming and IP video transport products are relied on by top tier media companies like the BBC, ITV, Channel4, Rakuten, DAZN, and Sony. Prior to M2A, Marina was a technology director at the BBC where she led the teams that built the online video platform for iPlayer, the live video streaming platform for the 2012 Olympics, and migrated all of the BBC online media workflows to AWS cloud. She was also responsible for installing the digital archive and moving the BBC’s tape-based linear playout workflows to file-based delivery. Marina has worked with digital video technology since 2006 and has been a leader in innovation. Marina also holds the position of SMPTE Governor, UK Region for the 2020-21 term.

Gulliver Smithers

Gulliver is a Product-oriented CTO and digital strategist with over 20 years of experience across the media sector working for some of the best-known brands in the world. Gulliver previously worked at Sony as the CTO to their D2C and digital supply chain division and before that as an SVP running the global product and tech teams for Sony’s LA Studio. Prior to that, he was the VP of Product at the BBC, the CTO at Base79 where he oversaw a successful exit, and the Director of On-Demand at ITV. Gulliver is an industry maverick in digital strategy & product innovation; agile & lean software development; technical innovation; cloud computing and architecture; product roadmaps, growth and management; multi-platform application development; and video on demand. Gulliver holds a masters degree in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Edinburgh and currently lives in Los Angeles.

Patrick Gormley

Patrick Gormley established and leads Capita’s Consulting Division, a technology focused business providing transformation services based on Data, AI and Cloud technologies for large government and private sector clients. Patrick has over 25 years technology services and consulting experience having previously worked at Computer Science Corporation (CSC), Accenture, Capco and IBM. His most recent experience prior to joining Capita, was based in New York, leading IBM’s Cognitive Process Services business across North America. Patrick is a regular speaker at industry events and conferences on the subject of technology and business transformation and during the last year has been featured in Management Today and Wired magazine. Patrick holds an MBA from Manchester University and is a mentor for Migrant Leaders, which is a UK registered charity that inspires and develops disadvantaged young migrants across the UK to broaden their horizons and capture opportunities well beyond their aspirations.

John Hedger

John has over 40 years’ experience in subtitling, audio description and visual signing within the TV industry. As one of the original members of ITV’s ORACLE Teletext team, he pioneered many of the early developments in UK subtitling, and was closely involved in establishing the associated technical frameworks and standards. He has since led technical teams for several companies within the media technology sector, helping to navigate the transition of services from analogue to digital, and eventually to online platforms. More recently, as an independent consultant within the industry, he has worked with a number of UK broadcasters and media companies to help realise projects in UK, Europe, Australia and the US. He was technical adviser to the eTitle project, an EU-funded pan-European initiative which sought to automate many aspects of the subtitling process.  He has also acted as an expert witness in number of patent infringement cases. Now with Red Bee Media, he continues his commitment to technology innovation across the range of TV assistive services.