Marleen Hartjes is a museum education / mediation developer and as accessibility manager responsible for the Special Guests programme at the Van Abbemuseum, museum of modern and contemporary art in Eindhoven (The Netherlands). The programme is designed to enhance the museums accessibility and inclusion for everyone, regardless of any restrictions, gender, cultural background or handicaps. She developed various programmes in cooperation with the constituencies, special tours, projects and additional services for blind, blind deaf and visually impaired visitors, deaf and hearing impaired visitors, non-mobile visitors and visitors with aphasia, all of this next to the Alzheimer tours the museum already offered. Recently a museum robot was implemented to the programme by Hartjes to enable a visit for people who cannot attend the museum in person. The underlying motive of the Special Guests programme is not an emphasis on practicalities alone e.g. making the building wheelchair accessible; it is the drive to facilitate empowerment and autonomy for anybody that we welcome here. It is a broadening of perspective and a diversion of social isolation. Last but not least, she launched a museum app for the hospital based, with the inspiring stories from children about art works of the museum collection. To let them forget the world of hospitals and sickness to enter a world of possibilities and dreams.
Besides that Marleen Hartjes is a positive curious enthusiastic museum educator, visual artist, independent curator, beekeeper and old moped lover. She also works for the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam as the coordinator of the art mediation masterclass. And she used to work 5 years for the Apprentice/Master project were talented art students from 18 art academies in Europa exhibit together with renowned contemporary artists who connect with the work of the apprentices.