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LA-based Cleveland native Ainslee Alem Robson is an award-winning Ethiopian-American director, writer and media artist. Her directorial debut, Ferenj: A Graphic Memoir in VR, based on her personal experience deconstructs tensions embedded within intersectional layers of her biracial identity, migration, perception, and nostalgia. This afrosurreal 360 film premiered at Tribeca, SXSW and travelled to 11 other film festivals and art spaces worldwide. Ferenj received the Special Jury Prize at the NewImages Film Festival in Paris and has also been translated into French and Mandarin. She creates productive images of her community, of Ethiopia and of the continent—to push beyond reductive and misrepresentative narratives of Africa and Blackness. Ainslee’s background in philosophy renders a critical approach to her emancipatory storytelling strategies. Through a transcultural, feminist, and first-generation American lens she crafts stories focusing on underrepresented narratives that deconstruct identity, hierarchy and colonial legacies using film and emerging technologies in digital art. 


Her work is characterized by speculative and emancipatory storytelling strategies, with a post-colonial lens fueled by her insider/outsider access and artistic perspective. Ainslee's non-fiction writing has been published by e-flux Architecture, Art Africa Magazine and Vogue Italia. Ainslee has worked on the production of several commercials as well as on the production team of the Addis Foto Fest ‘16 with renowned artist Aida Muluneh. She has written for Season One of Tibeb Girls, one of the first children’s animation series created in Ethiopia. She holds an M.S. in Fiction and Entertainment from the Southern California Institute of Architecture and a B.A. in Philosophy and French from The College of Wooster.

Ainslee is based in Los Angeles. For collaboration, commercial, or press related inquiries please reach out to her at

Academic Lectures

Keynote Speaker, University of Johannesburg, Graduate School of Architecture (GSA)

Building Science Lecture Series: Generative Citizenship, Rensselaer University

Guest Lecture, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)

Guest Lecture, University of California San Diego (UCSD), Virtual Environments

Guest Lecture, University of Toronto, Daniels School of Architecture, Lazy Computing

Public Lecture, University of Toronto, Daniels School of Architecture, Exploring Design Practices

Public Speaking

Festival of Curiosity, Dublin, Ireland, Production Design in XR

SXSW Conference, Bridging Cultures Through Narratives

Alliance Française Quito, Ecuador

NewImages Festival Conference, Women in XR Discussion

Scatter XR Nights, Art in Conversation with Race

IDFA DocLab Spotlight, Do [not] Touch

Tribeca Talks at Home, Kinfolk

Kaohsiung Film Festival, Home

MU Hybrid Art Space, Worlding Worlds

Commissions, Exhibitions, Collaborations, Publications & Credits

Accra Theatre Workshop

Actual Objects Studio

Alliance Française

Counterspace Studio, Sumayya Vally

C& Curators Julia Grosse & Yvette Mutumba

David Hartt

DJ Hewan Aman


Elisabeth Sutherland 

Forum des Images


Hvrmony Adams


Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa)

MU Hybrid Art Space

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) New York


Paula Nascimento

Tibeb Girls

Verkron Kollectiv

Virgil Abloh ft. Serpentwithfeet

Vogue Italia

We’ve gathered the innovative creators behind our Cinema360 “Kinfolk” program for a special conversation on their work and the meaning of nostalgia, home, and family. Join moderator Loren Hammonds for an intimate discussion with “Ferenj: A Graphic Memoir In VR” director Ainslee Robson, director Diego Kompel of “The Inhabited House,” and Min-Wei Kuo (on behalf of “Home” director Hsu Chih-yen).

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