About the speakers:
Aymar Jean “AJ” Christian is an assistant professor of communication studies at Northwestern University and a Fellow at the Peabody Media Center. Dr. Christian’s first book, Open TV: Innovation Beyond Hollywood and the Rise of Web Television on New York University Press, argues the web brought innovation to television by opening development to independent producers. His work has been published in numerous academic journals, including The International Journal of Communication, Cinema Journal, Continuum, and Transformative Works and Cultures. He leads Open TV (beta), a research project and platform for television by queer, trans and cis-women and artists of color. Open TV (beta) programming partners have included the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, Block Museum of Art, and City of Chicago, along with numerous galleries, community organizations, and universities. He has juried television and video for the Peabody Awards, Gotham Awards, Streamy Awards, and Tribeca Film Festival, among others. His blog, Televisual, is an archive of over 500 posts chronicling the rise of the web TV market, and he has written regular reports on TV and new media for Indiewire, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, and Tubefilter. He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and BA from the University of Michigan.
Marquez Rhyne served as the Founding Director of the University of Chicago’s Transmedia Story Lab at the Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation (Ci3). In this role, Rhyne led the lab in the advancement of knowledge on storytelling and narrative as tools for youth leadership and engagement, addressing health disparities locally and globally. Among the projects anchored included Transmedia Collage, a 2-year Humanities Without Walls collaborative project (UChicago and University of Illinois at Chicago) that explores the historical, current, and future climates of the Chicago’s South Side and the effect on adolescence.
Rhyne is a writer, director, and producer of several short documentary films including Rural People, Rural Power: Cultural Organizing – A Southern Tradition and Full Circle: The Story of Kissa Kahani focusing on stories of gender equity with adolescents in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India. Rhyne has worked as a consultant with entities such as Alternate ROOTS, Highlander Research & Education Center, Memphis Black Arts Alliance, Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago, Storyographers, and the Greater Than AIDS #SpeakOutHIV campaign.
Their areas of expertise include organizational and leadership development; coaching artist, activists, and researchers in creative praxis; and strategically using art and culture to shift policies and practices. Rhyne served as an administrator, producer, and arts presenter for The Carpetbag Theatre (Knoxville), Jump-Start Performance Company (San Antonio), and The Bijou Theatre (Knoxville).