Laila Shereen Sakr

Assistant Professor of Film & Media Studies

PhD, Media Arts + Practice
University of Southern California
M.A. in Arab Studies
Georgetown University
M.F.A. in Digital Arts and New Media
UC Santa Cruz


2020 Social Sciences & Media Studies



algorithms and culture, media praxis, computational analytics, social media archives, data visualization, glitch art, live cinema, video installation, Middle East film and digital arts, activism


Laila Shereen Sakr (a.k.a. VJ Um Amel) is Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara. Her creative and scholarly works use digital logic and technique to map global participation in virtual worlds and networked publics. She is the creator of R-Shief media system for archiving and analyzing social media content, and the cyborg conceptual art project and performance, VJ Um Amel. Over the past two decades, she has shown extensively in solo and group exhibitions and performances at galleries and museums across the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East. Her journal articles appear in Middle East Critique, Cinema Journal Teaching Dossier, Networking Knowledge: Journal of the Media, Communication, and Cultural Studies, Parson’s Journal for Information Mapping, Thoughtmesh: Critical Code Journal, and Feminist Debates in Digital Humanities (forthcoming). Prof. Sakr is a leading voice in the open source movement, in particular for Arabic localization. She is a co-editor for the open access journal:Media Theory, and also co-editor of After.Video (a paperback book and video stored on a Raspberry Pi computer packaged in a VHS case) published by Open Humanities Press. She holds an M.F.A. in Digital Arts and New Media from University of California, Santa Cruz, an M.A. in Arab Studies from Georgetown University, and a PhD in Media Arts + Practice from the University of Southern California. Recent reviews appear in The Wall Street Journal, Science, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Fast Company, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, Voice of America, The Monocle, Art Territories, Digital Media and Learning, Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, Jadaliyya, and The Creators Project.