Aymar Jean “AJ” Christian is an 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.
Dr. Christian researches new media and creative economy. His first book, Open TV: Innovation Beyond Hollywood and the Rise of Web Television (NYU Press 2018), 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 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.
He has produced several independent video projects. The most significant of these is Open TV (beta), a platform forqueer and intersectional televisionin Chicago. Open TV programs have received recognition by the Television Academy, HBO, Streamy Awards, 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. For his work on OTV Dr. Christian has been recognized by Filmmaker magazine and New City as a film leader and innovator.
Dr. Christian has served as a curator and judge of leading award shows and festivals, including the Peabody Awards, Gotham Awards, Project Greenlight Digital Studios, Tribeca Film Festival, Outfest, Streamy Awards, IAWTV Awards, and Satellite Awards. During his doctoral studies Christian worked as an education fellow for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, running the Film@Perelman short film series and lecturing on film as part of its education programming.
During his PhD studies, his blog Televisual‘s directories of black, LGBT, Latino and Asian American web series were 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.
Photo Credit: Alexus McLane, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago