Coronavirus Updates: USC  |  SCA


November 10, 2021, 6:00 - 8:00 P.M. PDT

Live Online Webinar

Family Pictures USA, the USC School of Cinematic Arts,
and USC Visions & Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative,
invite you to join a very special live online webinar

Hosted by Thomas Allen Harris
Host, Director, and Executive Producer of

6:00 - 8:00 P.M. PST on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Participants Will Include:

ELIZABETH M. DALEY Dean and Steven J. Ross/Time Warner Professor, School of Cinematic Arts
SLAVA GREENBERG, Ph.D, Postdoctoral Scholar and Teaching Fellow, School of Cinematic Arts
DR. RONALD C. MCCURDY, Professor of Music, Thornton School of Music
MADDOX PENNINGTON, Lecturer, Writing Program, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
DR. MICHAEL RENOV, Vice Dean & Wexler Endowed Chair in Documentary, School of Cinematic Arts
JUVENCIO SEGURA, Senior Audio Visual Director, Office of Cultural Relations and University Events
CAMILLIA SHOFANI, Program Coordinator, Middle East Media Initiative
VARUN SONI, Dean of Religious Life, University of Southern California
DARIA YUDACUFSKI, Executive Director, Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative



This event is Part 1 of a 2-part series - Part 2 invites USC students of all majors to submit their own stories and photos for consideration to participate in a live student-focused webinar at 6:00 P.M. PT on Wednesday, January 26th, 2022. Submissions details to be announced.

About the Event

During this event, selected members of the USC Faculty and Administration will be invited to share their personal stories of family and their motivation for How I Got Here. Each participant will be in conversation with presenter Thomas Allen Harris for about 7-9 minutes, talking about the stories behind 5-10 photographic images in response to the following:

1) The person or people who most influenced who you are today.
2) The reason why you are doing the work you do; and
3) The one (1) photo that represents the "real" you.

About Host Thomas Allen Harris

Thomas Allen Harris is a critically acclaimed, interdisciplinary artist who explores family, identity, and spirituality in a participatory practice. Since 1990, Harris has remixed archives from multiple origins throughout his work, challenging hierarchy within historical narratives through the use of pioneering documentary and research methodologies that center vernacular image and collaboration. His television show Family Pictures USA, which takes a radical look at neighborhoods and cities of the United States through the lens of family photographs, collaborative performances, and personal testimony sourced from their communities, premiered on PBS in August, 2019 and was broadcast to 5.3 M viewers and critically well-received.

In 2021, Harris launched the Family Pictures Institute for Inclusive Storytelling to spread the work he has been engaged in over the past 10+ years and expand upon it through robust research, evaluation, scholarly discussion and artistic interpretation. The Institute is funded by The Ford Foundation and others, and will be housed at Yale University.

Harris’ participatory practice grew out of deeply collaborative work he engaged in early in his career with a vanguard of queer filmmakers of color, including Cheryl Dunye, Yvonne Welbon, Raul Ferrera Balanquet, Shari Frilot, and Marlon Riggs. As a staff producer for WNET (New York’s PBS affiliate) on their show THE ELEVENTH HOUR, Harris produced Emmy nominated public television segments around HIV/AIDS activism and its intersection with the culture wars from 1987-1991. In 1990 he curated the first New York/San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Town Hall meeting, a three-hour public television event which culminated in the broadcast of Marlon Riggs’ Tongues Untied. In 1997, Harris and 6 other queer filmmakers of color produced a document titled Narrating Our History: A Dialogue Among Queer Media Artists From the African Diaspora. This piece has been published in Sisters in the Life: A History of Out African American Lesbian Media-Making (2018, ed. Yvonne Welbon and Alexandra Juhasz).

Harris’ deeply personal and experimental films have received critical acclaim at international film/art festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, Tribeca, FESPACO, Outfest, Flaherty, Cape Town, and the Melbourne Art Festival, and have broadcast on POV American documentary series on PBS, AfroPOP, the Sundance Channel, ARTE, as well as CBC, Swedish broadcasting Network, and New Zealand Television. The films include: Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela (2005), a story of the anti apartheid movement told through personal testimonies, archival material, and a cast of first time South African actors engaging with the archive; É Minha Cara/That’s My Face (2001), a mythopoetic journey shot completely on Super 8mm film by three generations of Harris’ family on three continents; and VINTAGE – Families of Value (1995), a mosaic portrait of Black families created by handing the camera to three groups of queer siblings, including Harris and his brother Lyle Ashton Harris. These films have re-interpreted the idea of documentary, autobiography, and personal archive through their innovative use of community participation.

In 2009, Harris and his team founded Digital Diaspora Family Reunion (DDFR), a transmedia project that explores and shares the rich and revealing narratives found within family photo albums. Working in partnership with museums, festivals, senior and youth centers, educational institutions, libraries, and cultural arts spaces, DDFR organizes workshops, performances, and exhibitions that create communal linkages affirming our common humanity while privileging the voices of people whose stories have often been absent, marginalized or overlooked. The DDFR archive has grown to include 3,500 interviews with people around their family photos and 50K+ photographs. The project was developed in tandem with Harris’ film Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People, in which leading Black cultural figures, scholars, and photographers share their archives with Harris in an exploration of the ways photography has been used as a tool of representation and self-representation in history. The film premiered on Independent Lens on PBS in 2015 and was nominated for a National Emmy and a Peabody Award. The film won the 2015 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Documentary film, the Fund for Santa Barbara Social Justice Award, and an Africa Movie Academy Award, among others.

A graduate of Harvard College, the Whitney Museum of American Arts Independent Study Program, and the CPB/PBS Producers Academy, Harris is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. His awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, United States Artist Award, Rockefeller Fellowship, Sundance Director & Producer Fellowships, a Dartmouth College Montgomery Fellowship, and Independent Spirit Award nomination. A published photographer, curator, and writer with a broad background of community organizing in a socially engaged film/art practice, Harris lectures widely on visual literacy and the use of media as a tool for social change and is on faculty at Yale University. His media appearances include C-Span, NPR, Metrofocus, AriseTV, a TEDx Talk, articles detailing his work from Yale Maquette and Truth in Photography, and keynote presentations at Frank Gathering 2020, the North Carolina Network of Grantmakers 2020 Annual Meeting and Conference, and the 2020 Florida Philanthropic Network Statewide Summit on Philanthropy, where the Family Pictures USA methodology is being used to create change in the philanthropic world as well as in leadership training programs.

About the Participants

ELIZABETH M. DALEY, Dean and Steven J. Ross/Time Warner Professor, School of Cinematic Arts

Elizabeth M. Daley has been Dean of the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) for twenty-seven years, the longest tenure of a Dean at the University of Southern California. She is the inaugural holder of the Steven J. Ross/Time Warner Dean’s Chair, founding Executive Director of the USC Annenberg Center for Communication (1994-2005), and serves as the Executive Director of the USC Institute for Multimedia Literacy.

Daley has strengthened the school’s international profile by expanding its academic programs, including the addition of cutting-edge research labs; overseeing the construction of a new, state-of-the-art campus; and strengthening collaborations with industry partners both domestically and globally, across the spectrum of visual media, including film, television, video games, interactive and emerging media. Under Daley’s leadership, SCA has added three new divisions: Animation & Digital Arts, Interactive Media & Games, and Media Arts + Practice; established the Entertainment Technology Center, a think tank focused on the impact of new technologies; built the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts; established 31 endowed faculty positions; and formed successful partnerships with a variety of entertainment and technology companies. The School currently has research partnerships focused on virtual reality and immersive technologies, mobile and location-based entertainment, world building, virtual production, interactive architecture, and other emerging areas. Daley has also established successful consulting initiatives in Japan, India, Turkey, China, and Malaysia.

On Oct. 4, 2006, Daley presided over the official renaming of the USC School of Cinema-Television as the USC School of Cinematic Arts, by George Lucas, and broke ground for a new complex. Completed in 2013, the SCA Cinematic Arts Complex rivals the best-equipped media companies in the world. Comprised of seven main buildings totaling 270,000 square feet, it houses state-of-the-art production spaces for creating films, episodic television, video games and interactive media, including sound stages, game testing rooms, motion-capture volumes and the only IMAX theatre in a collegiate setting.

Daley joined the School in 1989 as Chair of the Film and Television Production Program. Before coming to USC, she served as Director of Taper Media Enterprises, the for-profit film and television subsidiary of the Mark Taper Forum, and was a producer for MGM/Television. She has also been an independent producer and media consultant. Daley serves on the Board of Directors of Avid Technology, Inc. and the Benton Foundation. She is on the Academic Advisory Council of the Motion Picture Association of America and is a member and former chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Media, Entertainment, and Information. She is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Daley has been honored by American Women in Radio and Television and was twice nominated for a Los Angeles Area Emmy Award. She has received a Cine Golden Eagle, the Barbara Jordan Award, the California Governor’s Award, and the Women in Film Business Leadership Award, acknowledging extraordinary contributions by women behind the camera. She was also the inaugural recipient of The Alfred Hitchcock Legacy Award, given on behalf of the Hitchcock Family and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Daley earned a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin and M.A. and B.A. degrees from Tulane University and Newcomb College.

SLAVA GREENBERG, Ph.D, Postdoctoral Scholar and Teaching Fellow, School of Cinematic Arts

Slava Greenberg is a postdoctoral teaching fellow at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and Casden Institute. His research explores the potential of mainstream and emerging media forms to offer transformative experiences in reference to disability studies,  trans studies, and gender. He is the author of Animation and Disability: Cripping Spectatorship (Indiana UP 2022) and co-editor of Fireflies: Journal of Film and Television II. His articles have appeared in Review of Disability Studies, Animation, TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, Jewish Film and New Media,  Frames Cinema Journal, and forthcoming in The Moving Image: The Journal of the Association of Moving Image Archivists and in Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. He has also contributed to anthologies on disability and documentary, queer TV, and Israeli new media. He is currently working on a second book project focusing on the history and visual culture of gender dysphoria through the lens of trans and crip theories.

DR. RONALD C. MCCURDY, Professor of Music at the USC Thornton School of Music

Dr. Ronald C. McCurdy is Professor of Music at the USC Thornton School of Music where he served as chair of the Jazz Studies department for six years (2002-2008). Prior to his appointment at USC he served as Director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at USC (1999-2001). He has served as Professor of Music and chair of the Afro-African American Studies Department and served as Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Minnesota (1990-1999). In 1997, Dr. McCurdy served as Visiting Professor at Maria-Curie Sklodowska University in Lublin, Poland. In 2001 Dr. McCurdy received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Kansas.

Dr. McCurdy continues to tour the Langston Hughes Project, a multimedia presentation based on the Hughes’ poem, “Ask Your Mama.” This was Hughes’ social commentary on the struggle for freedom and equality among Africans and African Americans. In 2008 he premiered the orchestral version of The Langston Hughes Project, Ask Your Mama: 12 Mood for Jazz with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra with rapper and television actor, Ice-T. The multimedia presentation features jazz quartet, spoken-word and images from the Harlem Renaissance.

Dr. McCurdy’s April In Paris features his vocal, funk band called the Ron McCurdy Collective. His first CD, Once Again for the First Time on the INNOVA label enjoyed critical acclaim as well. He has also released a CD of the Langston Hughes Project, Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz.

Dr. McCurdy served a consultant to the Grammy Foundation educational programs including serving as director of the National Grammy Vocal Jazz Ensemble. He served as Director of the Walt Disney All-American Summer College Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Singers for twenty years. A few of the guest artists he has worked with include Joe Williams, Rosemary Clooney, Leslie Uggams, Arturo Sandoval, Diane Schuur, Ramsey Lewis, Mercer Ellington, Dr. Billy Taylor, Maynard Ferguson, Lionel Hampton, and Dianne Reeves, Ellis Marsalis, and many others. He has served as a member of the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Camp faculty. Dr. McCurdy is a performing artist for the Yamaha International Corporation.

MADDOX PENNINGTON, Lecturer, Writing Program, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Maddox Pennington (they/them) is a nonbinary writer, professor, playwright and Cherokee Nation citizen; they received an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Columbia University, and their debut bibliomemoir, A Girl Walks Into a Book: What the Brontes Taught Me About Life, Love, and Women’s Work was published by Hachette Books in 2017. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, where they teach college writing at USC, you could find them performing comedy all over DC. Their play Love Chicken was featured in the virtual Pittsburgh Fringe Festival 2021, and they're currently at work on a play about the legacy of family choices during the Dust Bowl.

DR. MICHAEL RENOV, Vice Dean of Academic Affairs and Haskell Wexler Endowed Chair in Documentary, School of Cinematic Arts

Michael Renov, professor of Critical Studies and Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, is the author of Hollywood's Wartime Woman: Representation and Ideology and The Subject of Documentary, editor of Theorizing Documentary, and co-editor of Resolutions: Contemporary Video Practices, Collecting Visible EvidenceThe SAGE Handbook of Film Studies and Cinema’s Alchemist: The Films of Peter Forgacs.

In 1993, Renov co-founded Visible Evidence, a series of international and highly interdisciplinary documentary studies conferences that have, to date, been held on five continents. He is one of three general editors for the Visible Evidence book series at the University of Minnesota Press, which has published 27 volumes on various aspects of nonfiction media since 1997. In 2005, he co-programmed the 51st annual Robert Flaherty Seminar, a week-long gathering of documentary filmmakers, curators, and educators, creating 20 screening programs and filmmaker dialogues on the theme "Cinema and History."

In addition to curating documentary programs around the world, he has served as a jury member at documentary festivals including Sundance, Silverdocs, the Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival, Brazil's It's All True, the International Environmental Festival of Film and Video, also in Brazil, and DocLisboa in Portugal. He has taught graduate seminars at the University of Stockholm, Tel Aviv University and Central European University in Budapest, Hungary and has led documentary workshops in Jordan for the Royal Film Commission and in Cyprus. Renov's teaching and research interests include documentary theory, autobiography in film and video, video art and activism, and representations of the Holocaust.

JUVENCIO (JUVI) SEGURA, Senior Audio Visual Director for the Office of Cultural Relations and University Events (CRUE)

Juvencio (Juvi) Segura Jr. is the Senior Audio Visual Director for the Office of Cultural Relations and University Events (CRUE) at the University of Southern California. His eclectic body of work spans over three decades in Theatre, Television, Music, Radio, and Academia. Born in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico, he and his family migrated to NorthEast Los Angeles in the early ’70s. His Parents Juvencio Sr. and Trinidad inspired and encouraged his creative work early by supporting his passion for the theatre while always emphasizing the importance of community service and education. He is a decorated United States Marine Corps veteran, a graduate of the LACC Theatre Academy, CSUDH College of Business Administration and Public Policy, and an Alumni of the USC Price School of Public Policy from the Executive Master of Leadership program.

Juvi’s technical career began in summer stock theater where he worked as a scenic carpenter for Occidental College’s Hillside Repertory Theatre and Master Carpenter for Utah Musical Theatre at Weber State University. He then turned his focus to Audio where he has devoted most of his professional time to. After many years in the workforce and through the mentorship of Emmy Award-Winning Audio Engineer, Bruce Burns, Juvi emerged as a prominent sound designer, engineer, and production manager for live televised events such as the National DNC and RNC Conventions, the Olympics, and numerous awards shows and specials including the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Grammys, Latin Grammys, and many remote televised shows like Despierta America, Christina, Wheel of Fortune, and Jeopardy. His work as the FOH engineer for the musical group Quetzal helped Earn the Group a Latin Grammy in 2013 for Best Latin Pop, Rock, or Urban Album Imaginaries.

The early work at Community Colleges and Universities such as CSULA and UCLA landed him at USC where he has been for over twenty years. During this time Juvi has built and led successful creative teams of students, staff and contracted vendors in providing Audio Visual support for the University. As a lifelong learner and practitioner in the arts, Juvi values the importance of community service as his parents did, and remains active in the community by serving with multicultural organizations such as Americas Theater Arts Foundation and the Amazing Grace Conservatory along with local Community Colleges who focus on introducing career opportunities in creative fields including Event Technology to underserved communities in the Los Angeles area. He teaches necessary technical and leadership skills needed to overcome systemic barriers in the entertainment industry. He hopes to bring similar resources to military veterans looking for sustainable careers in the industry.

His greatest source of inspiration and purpose come from his loving family Olga, his wife and his Two children Elliott and Zoë who are the most meaningful part of his creative journey. “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value”- Albert Einstein

CAMILLIA SHOFANI, Program Coordinator, Middle East Media Initiative (MEMI)

Camillia is the Program Coordinator of the Middle East Media Initiative (MEMI), an innovative professional exchange program aimed at supporting and training professional Arab TV screenwriters and content creators.

Camillia manages all programmatic activities for MEMI, including its centerpiece summer program and annual pitch forum at the Cairo International Film Festival. Prior to MEMI, Camillia was the special events program coordinator at USC Dornsife’s Department of Middle East Studies where she organized academic conferences and lectures and film screenings. Passionate about bridging the gaps that exist between academia, the arts and communities, Camillia also curated and organized film festivals and art exhibits. In collaboration with SCA, Camillia helped curate and organize the Los Angeles Turkish Film Festival and the Middle East Film Festival in 2017. Camillia also hosted the artist Hushidar Mortezaie for his exhibit “Occupy Me: Branding Culture, Identity & The Politics of Fashion” at USC Roski’s Helen Lindhurst Gallery.

In 2021, Camillia joined SCA’s Council for Diversity & Inclusion’s programming team, where she hopes to serve media creators from marginalized communities.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Camillia studied Politics, Middle East and Islamic Studies, and Social and Public Policy at New York University. She also received an MSc in International Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, a constituent college of the University of London. For her dissertation she spent time in Puerto Rico, where she studied food sovereignty and agro-ecological queer farming collectives as acts/actions of decolonization and resistance towards neoliberal capitalism.

VARUN SONI, Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California

Dean Soni received his B.A. degree in Religion from Tufts University, where he also earned an Asian Studies minor and completed the Program in Peace and Justice Studies. He subsequently received his M.T.S. degree from Harvard Divinity School and his M.A. degree through the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He went on to receive his J.D. degree from University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, where he also completed the Critical Race Studies Program and served as an editor for the Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law. He earned his Ph.D. through the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Cape Town, where his doctoral research focused on religion and popular culture. As an undergraduate student, Dean Soni spent a semester living in a Buddhist monastery in Bodh Gaya, India through Antioch University’s Buddhist Studies Program. As a graduate student, he spent months doing field research in South Asia through UCSB’s Center for Sikh and Punjab Studies.

Dean Soni is currently a University Fellow at USC Annenberg’s Center on Public Diplomacy and an Adjunct Professor at the USC School of Religion. He is the author of Natural Mystics: The Prophetic Lives of Bob Marley and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Figueroa Press, 2014) and his writings have appeared in the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Crosscurrents, Jewish Journal, and Harvard Divinity Bulletin. He produced the critically acclaimed graphic novel Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary by Keshni Kashyap, which is currently being adapted as a feature length film. He also produced and hosted his own radio show on KPFK-Pacifica that showcased music from South Asia and its diaspora. In 2009, he was one of the organizers of the historic Concert for Pakistan, a benefit concert at the United Nations General Assembly Hall featuring Salman Ahmad, Sting, Outlandish, Jeff Skoll, Deepak Chopra, and Melissa Etheridge.

Dean Soni is a member of the State Bar of California, the American Academy of Religion, and the Association for College and University Religious Affairs. He is on the advisory board for the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement, Journal for Interreligious Dialogue, Hindu American Seva Charities, Hindu American Foundation, Future45, and the Parliament of the World’s Religion. Prior to joining USC, Dean Soni spent four years teaching in the Law and Society Program at UCSB. Born in India and raised in Southern California, he has family on five continents and they collectively represent every major religious tradition in the world.

DARIA YUDACUFSKI, Executive Director, Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative

Daria Yudacufski is the executive director of Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She launched the program in 2006 and oversees the production of approximately 100 arts and humanities events each year. Prior to working at USC, Daria was the director of the Cross Cultural Centers at California State University, Los Angeles, and the programming director of the MultiCultural Center and Women’s Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is co-editor of the book Feminisms in Motion: Voices for Justice, Liberation, and Transformation (2018) and for ten years, she published the independent feminist magazine make/shift.

About Family Pictures USA

Family Pictures USA is a nationally broadcast PBS documentary-style series, which was broadcast to over 5.3 million viewers in 2019. It journeys through a rapidly changing landscape where the foundations of a familiar and idealized “AMERICA” are being transformed. Through sharing family photographs, ordinary Americans discover their hidden family histories, and meet unknown relatives and old family friends — introducing us to a more nuanced and diverse story of our common history, shared present and evolving future. Family Pictures USA mines this rich treasure trove of personal narratives and reveals roots, connections, and provocative parallels that surprise us and illuminate the path toward a new America for the 21st Century.

Like StoryCorps, Family Pictures USA guides participants through a personal narrative in a short interaction with a host/producer, but using photographs and images as the primary medium of the story. Like Antiques Roadshow, Family Pictures USA travels to different locations within a given community, town or region and the surprise is in uncovering little known and unusual personal stories and connecting them to a larger narrative that better contextualizes a particular locale. The value revealed is in how these images inform our larger understanding of the culture, beyond mere family memoir.

To date, we have held over 70 live events, in over 60 cities, partnering with local community organizations, including: universities, libraries, historical societies, public housing authorities, social service organizations and museums. We have developed a model which surfaces unique hyper- local content with which to deeply engage local, regional and national audiences. Using our touring live events, we can fashion a national series of 10-15 episodes that also provides content for local public TV broadcasters at a price point they can afford.

The local public TV stations are our media partners and broadcast outlets for the local content generated by the events and provide local production resources. In addition, we work with their digital and social media outreach staff to craft local community outreach and engagement around the live events, which can be used by the stations to augment their own audience development and diversity activities.

Each episode illuminates connections among and between individual family narratives to create an inclusive new Digital American Family Album, exposing threads of history that enrich and enlarge our understanding of our nation and its diverse people and expanding our ideas of who we are as a people. It continues the work of the series’ award-winning Executive Producer, Thomas Allen Harris, to bridge inter- generational and cross-cultural differences and bring communities closer together by transforming strangers into family.

This program is generously sponsored by

For more information about upcoming programming and events offered by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative, please visit their website.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago