Civic Media Speaker series: AJ Christian

Aymar Jean Christian is a scholar, media producer, and social practice artist exploring the convergence of television, video art, and creative R&D (research and development). Currently an associate professor of communication at Northwestern University, Dr. Christian uses artistic development as a tool for community-building, cultural critique and experimentation. For 10 years he has explored how the internet transformed the art of television and expanded cultural representation in media.

His book Open TV: Innovation Beyond Hollywood and the Rise of Web Television (NYU Press, 2018) argues the web brought innovation to television by opening the development process to indie producers like Issa Rae, Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer, Ingrid Jungermann and Desiree Akhavan, among over 100 artists interviewed. He documents the changing market for television across popular and academic publications: on his blog,Televisual; in academic journals, including International Journal of Communication, Continuum, and Transformative Works & Culture; and for trade publications Indiewire, Slate, and Tubefilter, among others.

Based on this research Dr. Christian started OTV | Open Television, a platform Chicago-based intersectional television. OTV produces and exhibits indie TV and video art both online and in Chicago.

The Civic Media Fellowship at Annenberg Innovation Lab (AnnLab) aims to strengthen and expand the field of civic media—the use of today’s technologies to create and harness media that connects with communities, inspires action, builds civic capacity and helps sustain social change efforts—by pushing the boundaries of what it can be.

As part of the Civic Media field-building activities this spring, AnnLab is holding public chats featuring practitioners — artists, creators, storytellers, organizers, and others working at the intersections of media, technology and culture — presenting and sharing their civic media work to inspire and build community with other practitioners. These public chats provide a platform to share and reflect on civic media practice, highlight the work being done and the way folks are working, and encourage conversation amongst a growing network.