Sultan Sharrief

Applied Imagination Fellow, 2021-2022

Sultan Sharrief is a trans-media activist, filmmaker, and XR designer. He holds a BA in Film from University of Michigan, an MS in Comparative Media from MIT, and is a PhD candidate in Media Arts & Practice at USC.

His directorial debut feature film, Bilal’s Stand, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and he has since produced four additional feature films and a TV program. His youth media program Street Cred was a four-year sponsored project with Allied Media Projects in Detroit.

In 2018 he founded the Quasar Lab at MIT, an institutional-hacking research lab that uses disruptive community organizing as a strategy for futurist design. With a custom Sufi design methodology, the lab designs decolonizing prototypes using the affordances of augmented and virtual reality, algorithmic data aggregation, and blockchain. When not making media and organizing, Sharrief enjoys doing absolutely nothing, playing rugby, and occasionally visiting the University of Michigan Ice Carving Team, which he founded in 2003.

Sultan’s Applied Imagination Fellowship project, “Visions from a New Tribe,” involves creating video, virtual-reality experiences and augmented-reality technologies to share the stories and experiences of unhoused people in the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles, to celebrate their creative expression and to shift our larger understanding of homelessness.

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