Annenberg Innovation Lab announces new cohort of Civic Media Fellows

The Annenberg Innovation Lab (AnnLab) has welcomed its fourth cohort of Civic Media Fellows to the USC community. These 12 innovative and thought-provoking media practitioners hail from a vast variety of disciplines, interests, communities and experiences. They join a group of Senior Fellows and program alumni from 2021, 2020 and 2019.

Supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Civic Media Fellowship honors those who build and connect communities within the intersection of media, culture and technology, creating opportunities for these practitioners to support social change. They have, and will continue to, push the boundaries of what is considered civic media, especially among people who have been historically marginalized.

Like their predecessors, this year’s fellows will work and engage with one another remotely. Each fellow’s stint will be unique to their work and needs. Some may focus this nine-month fellowship on research, while others may use it to reinvigorate their creativity and launch their next venture. Multiple weekly meetings offer a venue to learn with and from each other, develop collaborative efforts, and inspire one another. These interactions are complemented with monthly public events, an annual gathering, course participation, and exploration of the civic media field.

Previous fellows have gone on to a wide range of activities, from driving change in diverse corners of the entertainment and technology industries to fighting for immigrant rights using media and technology. Some are bringing novel approaches to academia and journalism, while others are using fashion, art and music as forces for social progress. Senior Fellows are both changing existing cultural institutions and creating new ones.

“Individually and collectively, Fellows past and present are imagining and building alternative futures, even as they engage deeply with the past,” said Colin Maclay, research professor and executive director of AnnLab. “We are honored to be in community with them as they unflinchingly dive into realizing a better world, and could not be more enthusiastic about the new cohort.”

The 2022 Civic Media Fellows are:

Tanzila “Taz” Ahmed (she/her): A political strategist, storyteller and artist based in Los Angeles. She creates at the intersection of counternarratives and culture-shifting as a South Asian American Muslim second-generation woman. She’s turned out over 500,000 Asian American voters, recorded five years of the award-winning #GoodMuslimBadMuslim podcast, and makes #MuslimVDay cards annually. 

Danielle Blunt (she/her): A sex worker, community organizer, public health researcher and co-founder of Hacking//Hustling, a collective of sex workers and accomplices working at the intersection of tech and social justice to interrupt state surveillance and violence facilitated by technology.

Rae Garringer (they/them): Hailing from southern West Virginia, Garringer is the founder and director of Country Queers, an ongoing multimedia oral history project documenting the diverse experiences of rural, small-town, and country LGBTQIA+ folks across intersecting layers of identity. 

Nadege Green (she/her): A researcher, writer, community archivist and audio producer, she is actively resisting the erasure of Miami-Dade's Black past through storytelling.

Jamal Jordan (he/him): A multimedia documentarian, journalist and professor. 

Adrienne Keene (she/her): An Indigenous scholar and writer who uses popular culture and multiple media forms to challenge the ways Native people are represented in society.

Nia Lee (they/she): A Black food futurist sitting at the intersection of queer feminist theory, community building, video/performance art and culinary art, based in Los Angeles. 

Sofía Gallisá Muriente (she/her/ella): A Puerto Rican visual artist whose work deepens the subjectivity of historical narratives, using text, image and archive as medium and subject.

Anshantia Oso (she/her): A culture strategist, social justice activist and speaker. 

Xiaowei R. Wang (they/them): An artist, writer, organizer and coder whose work centers community empowerment, technology and ecology, with an emphasis on building life-sustaining elements and possibilities outside of capitalist systems.

Paige Wood (she/her): An independent filmmaker, screenwriter, producer interested in using narrative to build collective power.

Anu Yadav (she/her): An actress, playwright, cultural worker and member of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, a national grassroots movement to end poverty and its interlocking injustices.