Ayana Haaruun is a media maker, scholar and professor. Her work and interests include digital video, media entrepreneurship, and media ethnography.
As a video and filmmaker, Haaruun has worked to develop music videos, narrative films, television programs, documentaries, and experimental videos. Haaruun’s film work has been recognized by the Women in the Director’s Chair International Film Festival, the Black Harvest Festival of Film and Video, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. She served as producer for Hollywood Jerome, the first urban themed film to win the Independent Feature Project Production Fund Award, Let the Buck Down: A Story of Black Farmers and the experimental work, First We Pray.
Haaruun has also used media to preserve and share African American history and culture. At The HistoryMakers, she worked with Carnegie Mellon University to implement a pioneering video indexing software. Haaruun also led efforts to stabilize and digitize the historic Chicago Defender Newspaper’s image archives. Her efforts with the Chicago Defender resulted in a partnership with the University of Chicago’s “Mapping the Stacks” program, and several public history exhibitions.
Haaruun published her research on video sharing communities in Original Beauty: Black Hair on Youtube. As a teaching fellow at the Amazwi School for Media Arts in Hoedspruit, South Africa, Haaruun documented her experience in a syndicated newspaper column and short book From the Southside to South Africa.
A double-dutch jump rope enthusiast, in 2014 Haaruun found Black Girls Jump, an online-based heath organization, which uses media to encourage community health and fitness in several U.S. cities.
Haaruun earned an M.F.A. in Cinema and Photography at Southern Illinois University, and a B.A. in Political Science at Howard University. As a graduate student, she attended the prestigious American Photography Institute’s fellowship program at New York University. Haaruun is currently pursuing a doctorate in the College of Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Prior to joining the faculty at Leeward Community College, Haaruun served as Chair of Media and Visual Communications at Kennedy-King, one of the City Colleges of Chicago.