Hello! My name is Aaron (he/him/siya) and I am a Filipino American community organizer, researcher, and singer-songwriter based in San Diego, California. Whether community organizing, research or songwriting, each practice acts as a kaleidoscope that not only shapes the contours of my life, but coheres around the question of culture.
For many, community has a natural connection to culture as a set of customary beliefs, norms and practices of a particular group. Most of my community work is connected to Malaya Movement, a transnational freedom organization defending democracy, human rights, and sovereignty in the Philippines, but I tend to strive for a politics of intersectionality and coalition-building across differences. You can read more about my past community and volunteer work here.
Inspired by and deeply connected to my community work, I study, teach and conduct research at the UC San Diego in the Department of Communication. At the intersection of cultural studies and sound studies, my research focuses on popular music and how it reveals new ways of thinking about the formation of subjectivities, histories and senses of place. In my research, I often examine the politics of culture as a context or set of conditions that stage the possibilities for shaping social life in particular directions. You can read more about my research here. Prior to UC San Diego, I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies from San Francisco State University (SFSU) in 2015 where I specialized in organizational communication and my Master of Arts degree in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University (NYU) in 2019 where I broadly focused on the relationship between media and human migration.
Lastly, culture could be thought of as collective genius, a collective achievement of creative and intellectual endeavors in the arts and creative practices. For myself, my creative practice finds synergy with my community organizing and research on sound. It coheres in the in-between as a performative praxis for rehearsing new conditions of possibility. My music can be found on most streaming services including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, YouTube, and more. You can read more about my songwriting here. Additionally, I occasionally make zines, write poetry, and write about culture, community, and communication on Kapwa, a periodical newsletter that aims to embrace kapwa an ethical concept in Filipino culture meaning togetherness through difference.