Laila Shereen Sakr

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Laila Shereen Sakr
VJ Um Amel, 2001.jpg
Photo Credit: Amanda McClean.
Born Laila Shereen
(1971-11-18) November 18, 1971 (age 46)
Alexandria, Egypt
Residence Los Angeles
Education PhD in Media Arts and Practice from University of Southern California, M.F.A. in Digital Arts and New Media from University of California, Santa Cruz, and M.A. in Arab Studies from Georgetown University
Occupation artist and theorist
Known for Creating the award-winning media system, R-Shief (Arabic for 'archive'), and for predicting the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya in August 2001 using Twitter analytics.
Website http://vjumamel.com

Laila Shereen Sakr (born 1971), known by her moniker, VJ Um Amel, is an Egyptian–American digital media theorist and artist. She is the founder of the digital lab, R-Shief, Inc.,[1] an Annenberg Fellow, and a PhD candidate in Media Arts + Practice at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts.[2]

In her manifesto, she writes, "I reappropriate emerging technologies in processes that are both creatively productive and critically analytical to offer insight into how people from different backgrounds and political actors can not only survive, but also become more empowered to create change in an increasingly networked culture."[3] She holds an M.F.A. in Digital Arts and New Media from University of California, Santa Cruz and an M.A. in Arab Studies from Georgetown University.[4]

Work[edit]

With a background in documentary film and web development, her current practices include system design, cultural analytics, computational art, video art, and immersive cinema. She is known for building R-Shief, "one of the largest repositories of Arabic-language tweets"[5] and for her predictive analytics of the fall of Qaddafi in Libya in August 2011.[6] This work emerged from her doctoral research and development. For the practical component of her doctoral dissertation, VJ Um Amel archived rare social media collections from the Arab uprising and Occupy movements from 2010–2014. She collaborated with a team of engineers to innovate trending, semantic, sentiment tools that analyze Arabic and seven other languages using machine learning. From the analytics processed from the archives, she created 3D games, documentary video, video remixes, computational drawings, data visualizations, and digital performances shown internationally.

Before developing her career in digital arts and culture, she published and performed poetry under her maiden name, Laila Shereen. She published in journals, and co-founded a couple spoken word collectives in Washington, D.C. including The D.C. Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency and Word of Mouth from 1999–2007. She worked as Multimedia and Publications Editor at Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies during that time. Earlier from 1993–1995, she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco where she taught English language and literature to university students in Fez at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University's Faculty of Arts.[7]

Life[edit]

She was born in Alexandria, Egypt to Egyptian parents.[8]

Awards[edit]

  • Arab Council on Social Sciences (ACSS) research grant award to participate in working group on "Producing the Public: Space, Media, Participation," (2013–2015)[9]
  • Awarded Future Leadership Award by Egyptian American Association (November 2012)[10]
  • Digital Expression Foundation Antom Grant to build Semantic API for Arabic (2012–2013)
  • HASTAC Scholar nomination and award (2010–2011)[11]
  • Annenberg Graduate Fellowship (2010–2014)[12]
  • Jack Shaheen Media Scholarship by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (2009)
  • Porter College Graduate Research Grant (March 2009)
  • Florence French Scholarship, Regents' Fellowship (September 2007, April 2008)
  • Puffin' Grant for the Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency (March 2006)
  • Washington Peace Center, Peace and Justice Award (December 2005)

Publications[edit]

  • "A Digital Humanities Approach: Text, the Internet, and the Egyptian Uprising" – Middle East Critique.[13]
  • "The Materiality of Virtuality" in Mediating the Arab Uprisings, Eds. Iskander and Haddad.[14]
  • "Studying Social Streams: Cultural Analytics in Arabic"[15]
  • "Egypt's Presidential Election and Twitter Talk"[16]
  • "The Materiality of Virtuality: Internet Reporting On Arab Revolutions"[17]
  • "Collateral Damage: #Oslo Attacks and Proliferating Islamophobia"[18]
  • "The R-Shief Initiative: Proof of Concept"[19]
  • On Becoming Arab," "Give," "Human Skin"[20]

Reviews[edit]

  • "A year in review: When history becomes art"[21]
  • "'The People's Skype' and Occupy Wall Street Hackathons"[22]
  • "From the Manhattan Project to my Butt: Arms Control in the Information Age"[23]
  • "Social Scientists Wade into the Tweet Stream"[24]
  • "VJ Um Amel hits 'the social' in media"[25]
  • "Digital Learning and the Arab Spring"[26]
  • "Interview with VJ Um Amel"[27]
  • "Twitter's Window on Middle East Uprisings"[28]
  • "VJ Um Amel Remixes a Revolution"[29]
  • "Not Your Mother's VJ"[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "R-Shief". r-shief.org. Retrieved 2017-10-27. 
  2. ^ "University of Southern California – Media Arts + Practice: People". Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  3. ^ VJ, Um Amel. "A VJ Manifesto". VJ Um Amel. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  4. ^ UC Santa Cruz Digital Arts/New Media. "laila shereen sakr's danm thesis project, r-shief, lauches official website". Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  5. ^ Miller, Greg (September 30, 2011). "Social Scientists Wade into the Tweet Stream" (Vol. 333 no. 6051 pp. 1814–1815). Science. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  6. ^ Rose Gottemoeller Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance. "From the Manhattan Project to my Butt: Arms Control in the Information Age". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved October 13, 2014. 
  7. ^ Friedman, Jon (May 18, 2011). "Twitter's window on Middle East uprisings". MarketWatch. Retrieved October 12, 2014. 
  8. ^ Friedman, Jon (May 18, 2011). "Twitter's window on Middle East uprisings". MarketWatch. Retrieved October 12, 2014. 
  9. ^ "إنتاج "المجال العام" في المجتمعات العربية: المشاركة". Arab Council for the Social Sciences. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  10. ^ "EAO Outstanding Achievement Award Recipients". Egyptian American Organization. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Laila Sakr". Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Collaboratory. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  12. ^ North-Hager, Eddie (September 20, 2011). "Fellows forum covers events in the Middle East". USCNews. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  13. ^ Shereen Sakr, Laila (December 16, 2013). "A Digital Humanities Approach: Text, the Internet, and the Egyptian Uprising". Middle East Critique. 22, Issue 3, 2013 (Special Issue: Special Issue: The Arab Uprisings of 2011): 247–263. doi:10.1080/19436149.2013.822241. 
  14. ^ Shereen Sakr, Laila (January 11, 2013). Mediating the Arab Uprisings. Tadween Publishing. ISBN 1939067006. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  15. ^ Shereen Sakr, Laila (October 31, 2012). "Studying Social Streams: Cultural Analytics in Arabic". Jadaliyya. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  16. ^ Shereen Sakr, Laila (May 26, 2012). "Egypt's Presidential Elections and Twitter Talk". Jadaliyya. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  17. ^ Shereen Sakr, Laila (December 19, 2011). "The Materiality of Virtuality: Internet Reporting on Arab Revolutions". Jadaliyya. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  18. ^ Miriyam Aouragh; Shahid Buttar; Elijah Meeks; Laila Shereen Sakr (August 9, 2011). "Collateral Damage: #Oslo Attacks and Proliferating Islamophobia". Jadaliyya. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  19. ^ Shereen Sakr, Laila. "The R-Shief Initiative: Proof of Concept". Parsons Journal for Information Mapping. I (2). Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  20. ^ Shereen Sakr, Laila (2004). ""On Becoming Arab," "Give," "Human Skin"". Mizna. 6 (1). Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  21. ^ Stuhr-Rommereim, Helen (December 29, 2011). "A year in review: When history becomes art". Egypt Independent. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  22. ^ Ungerleider, Neal (December 12, 2011). ""The People's Skype" and Occupy Wall Street Hackathons". Fast Company. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  23. ^ Gottemoeller, Rose. "Remarks: From the Manhattan Project to my Butt: Arms Control in the Information Age". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  24. ^ Miller, Greg (September 30, 2011). "Social Scientists Wade into the Tweet Stream". Science. 333 (6051): 1814–1815. doi:10.1126/science.333.6051.1814. PMID 21960603. 
  25. ^ Attalah, Lina (June 27, 2011). "VJ Um Amel hits 'the social' in media". Egypt Independent. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  26. ^ Losh, Liz (June 23, 2011). "Digital Learning and the Arab Spring". DML Central. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  27. ^ Chlala, Youmna (June 22, 2011). "Interview with VJ Um Amel". ArtTerritories. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  28. ^ Friedman, Jon (May 18, 2011). "Twitter's Window on Middle East Uprisings". MarketWatch. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  29. ^ Schenkar, Dylan (March 1, 2011). "VJ Um Amel Remixes A Revolution". The Creators Project (blog). Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  30. ^ Losh, Liz (February 25, 2011). "Not Your Mother's VJ". Virtualpolitk (blog). Retrieved October 27, 2014.