Tanya Selvaratnam

Senior Director, Gender Justice Narratives

Tanya Selvaratnam is a writer and an Emmy-nominated and multiple Webby-winning producer with more than twenty-five years of experience in the areas of arts and social justice. Born in Sri Lanka and raised in Long Beach, CA, she is based in New York City and Portland, Oregon.

Tanya is the author of two books: Assume Nothing: A Story of Intimate Violence (Harper) and THE BIG LIE (Prometheus). Assume Nothing has been optioned by ABC Signature/Disney Television Studios and is in development with Joanna Coles as executive producer. Tanya’s writing has been published in the New York TimesVogueELLE, Glamour, Cosmo, CNN, NBC News, and McSweeney’s.

With the artist Laurie Anderson and the producer Laura Michalchyshyn, she cofounded The Federation: a coalition of artists, organizations, and allies committed to keeping cultural borders open and showing how art unites us. She has also been an advisor and producer of For Freedoms, which catalyzes public discourse and civic engagement through the arts.

Most recently, Tanya produced for the Vision & Justice Project; Glamour Women of the Year; The Meteor; Joy To The Polls; Invisible Hand; The Shed; and Planned Parenthood. Since 2007, she has been a producer with Aubin Pictures, founded by Catherine Gund; Aubin’s latest film is AGGIE about collector and philanthropist Agnes Gund who created the Art for Justice Fund to fight mass incarceration. Tanya has also produced projects by numerous artists, such as Mickalene Thomas and Carrie Mae Weems.

Tanya’s career began with her work assisting Anna Deavere Smith on the development of Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 about the human toll of the L.A. riots, and with her position as a youth organizer on the steering committee of the NGO Forum/Fourth World Conference on Women in China in 1995. She then was the Special Projects Coordinator at the Ms. Foundation for Women until 1998. In addition, she was an organizer and researcher for the World Health Organization’s Kobe Conference on Women and Tobacco in 1999.  

Selvaratnam received her graduate and undergraduate degrees in Chinese language and legal history from Harvard University. Her Masters thesis on women’s organizations in post-Tiananmen China was published in the Journal of Law and Politics.