Academy for Social Purpose in Responsible Entertainment


Peter Samuelson, MA, President


Dr. D. Andy Rice, PhD, ASPIRE Fellow at UCLA


The Academy for Social Purpose in Responsible Entertainment (ASPIRE) partners with universities, community organizations, scholars, and activists to advocate for sustainability and social justice through media-focused teaching and research.  ASPIRE teaches digital media production to undergraduates of all majors to enhance their lifelong capacities to undertake social issue advocacy.

Jamie McGurk

Jamie's career has encompassed both the entertainment and political worlds, often focusing on the intersection of the two. Her goal is to effect positive change in the world, and the nexus of politics and popular culture can be a powerful platform.

Jamie has her own film/television production company, Off Balance Productions, and has a number of projects in development. She Executive Produced the 25th Anniversary of Film Independent’s “2010 Independent Spirit Awards,” the “Oscars” of independent film, broadcast on IFC. Responsibilities were all encompassing, ranging from the show creative (writing, musical acts, talent selection) to marketing, publicity and promotion.

In 2008 Jamie co-founded SeaChange Communications, and worked with clients such as Starz/Liberty Media and the SEIU, the nation’s largest Service Employee’s Union, to utilize popular culture to further their corporate, organizational and social goals.

During the 2008 Democratic National Convention, SeaChange produced the very successful “SeaChange Ideas Forum” at the Starz Green Room, a four day, multi-platform forum which brought together luminaries from the entertainment, political, social activist, and media worlds to exchange thoughts and ideas on world issues. SeaChange also brought together a group the top film and television writers to help the Obama campaign with debate prep and campaign messaging. At the Sundance Film Festival, SeaChange worked with the SEIU to produce online materials with top celebrities to promote health care reform.

Prior to this, Jamie worked in various capacities in advertising, marketing and political research. She received a Master of Business Administration Degree from the University of Chicago. She also received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from University of Illinois (Champaign/Urbana), where she participated in an exchange program with Manchester University in England.