Aymar Jean “AJ” Christian is assistant professor in the Media, Technology and Society program in the Department of Communication Studies at Northwestern University and a Fellow at the Peabody Media Center. Dr. Christian received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, with a certificate in cinema studies. He received his bachelors degree from the University of Michigan in American Culture.
Christian researches new media and creative economy. His first book, Open TV: Innovation Beyond Hollywood and the Rise of Web Television (NYU Press 2017), is the first full study on web TV, incorporating years of documenting and participating in this emerging art form and market. He documents the changing market for television across popular and academic publications: on Televisual; in academic journals, including International Journal of Communication, Continuum, and Transformative Works & Culture; and for trade publications Indiewire, Slate, and Tubefilter, among others.
His interest in digital production has led him to produce several independent video projects. The most significant of these is Open TV (beta), a platform for television by queer, trans and cis-women and artists of color. For more about Open TV, read the introductory essay and development reports. Open TV programs have received recognition by the Tribeca Film Festival, Gotham Awards and the City of Chicago, along with funding from Northwestern, University of Chicago, Propeller and Voqal Funds. Programs have screened in museums (Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Brooklyn Museum, Smart Museum of Art), galleries (Woman Made, Cooper Gallery, Chicago Art Department), universities (University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Notre Dame), and various community- and artist-run spaces. Before Open TV he co-produced, with Under the Spell Productions, She’s Out Of Order, a Philadelphia-set sitcom about a journalist dealing with life’s professional and romantic frustrations. It was an official selection of the 2015 LA Web Fest, one of the longest-running independent television festivals, with creator Teresa Lasley nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and LaJune Grant nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress.
Christian frequently serves as a curator and judge of television and video, including as an advisor and member of leading award shows and festivals, including, the Gotham Awards, Tribeca Film Festival (NOW–New Online Work), Peabody Awards, Streamy Awards Blue Ribbon Panel, IAWTV Awards, and Satellite Awards. During his doctoral studies Christian worked for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, running the Film@Perelman short film series and lecturing on film as part of its education programming. Televisual‘s directories of black, LGBT, Latino and Asian American web series are among the few and most comprehensive available. His 2013 Indie TV Innovation series featured articles from Emmy-winning producers and rising indie creators developing programs for networks like the HBO, CW, and Comedy Central.
Televisual has been linked to by The Atlantic, Gawker, and MSN, to name a few. Christian has offered media commentary on topics from web TV, film, race and sexuality for The New York Times, Reuters, Slate, The BIO Channel and NPR, among others.
For press and speaking inquiries, you can contact him here.
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Photo Credit: Zakkiyyah Najeebah