This year’s Leaders for a New Chicago awardees include ISGMH affiliate faculty member, Aymar Jean “AJ” Christian. The Field Foundation of Illinois is a “private, independent foundation that has been dedicated to the promise of Chicago for over 80 years. It aims its grant-making toward the goal of community empowerment through funding nonprofits working in justice, art and leadership investment.” The Foundation makes $2 million in grants annually, which it uses in part to support these local awardees.
AJ Christian is a scholar, media producer, and social practice artist with a focus on 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.
He is also the Founder and Head of Development for OTV, or Open Television, a platform for intersectional media programming by Chicago-based artists. He uses this platform to create the first fully funded network by queer/trans/women of color. Their collective goals are to produce new stories, pay and manage artists, develop community in Chicago and online, as well as promote artists owning and profiting from their own intellectual property in a sustainable, ethical way.
AJ Christian’s work, and that of the other 2019 awardees, helps to amplify and uplift the voices of women of color, queer, and trans individuals and organizations. Congratulations, and best of luck AJ!
Check out more information on the other 2019 awardees here!