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Nigerian-born Theatre Lecturer, Taiwo Afolabi, Joins Royal Society Of Canada

The founding Artistic Director of Theatre Emissary International, Dr Taiwo Afolabi, has been inducted into the prestigious Royal Society of Canada as a member of the RSC College.

The RSC is Canada’s national academy and the council of senior and distinguished Canadian scholars, humanists, scientists, and artists.

The RSC exists to promote Canadian research and scholarly accomplishment in both official languages (English & French); to recognize and celebrate inclusive academic and artistic excellence; and to advise governments, non-governmental organizations, and Canadians on matters of public interest.

A statement by the Director of Research, Theatre Emissary International, Stephen Okpadah, indicated that the President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Regina, Dr. Jeff Keshen, noted that Dr Afolabi’s successful nomination as a member of the College of new scholars, artists and scientists of the RSC was a testament to the significant impact of his work in socially engaged theatre in Canada and around the world.

“Through his practice as an artist and scholar, Taiwo provides a safe and brave space to share participants’ cultures and stories and to collectively envision a positive shared future,” Mr Keshen said.

Mr Afolabi is a Nigerian-born-Canadian interdisciplinary artist-researcher who is internationally recognized for his research-based theatre focusing on social justice, human rights, and anti-racism education among Indigenous, immigrant, and marginalized communities.

Mr Afolabi said that through global theatre projects and publications, his practice-based research encompasses issues of sexual health, education, policing, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, African theatre, homelessness, immigration, and language revitalization.

A professor of theatre and performance studies, professor of culture, politics, and global performance, and the artistic and executive director and co-founder of the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University, Dr. Derek Goldman, in his letter of support for Afolabi’s induction as RSC member, said, “In my more than 25-year career in the academy, and working in the field of global performance studies at the intersection of performing arts and politics/social change, Dr. Afolabi is one of the handful of most remarkable colleagues I have ever encountered. If I were to pick a handful of people from around the world who are best equipped to lead us forward in mobilizing artistic practice in pursuit of a better and more just world – he would be at the top of the list.’’

Mr Afolabi is a Canada research chair in Socially Engaged Theatre and a University of Regina associate professor in the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance. He is the founder and director of the newly established Centre for Socially Engaged Theatre (C-SET), co-editor of the Journal of Arts and Communities (Intellect), vice-president of the Canadian Association of Theatre Research (CATR)/ACTR, associate editor of the Canadian Theatre Review (CTR), and representative of the ITI/UNESCO Network for Higher Education and Research Institutions.

He is also a research affiliate at the Universities of Johannesburg (South Africa) and London (UK). He is an alumnus of the Universities of Victoria (Canada), Ilorin (Nigeria), and Jos (Nigeria). He is also an alumnus of the United States of America’s Department of State’s International Visitor’s Leadership Program (IVLP) and the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University.

The mandate of the Royal Society of Canada is to serve Canada and Canadians by recognizing Canada’s leading intellectuals, scholars, researchers, and artists and by mobilizing them in open discussion and debate to advance knowledge, encourage integrated interdisciplinary understandings, and address issues that are critical to Canada and Canadians.

Theatre Emissary International is a cultural centre that utilizes arts to educate, conscientize and create positive social change in society. 

It performs stage productions, creates community-based arts projects through participatory approaches, and serves as a research hub for innovative and new thinking in the arts. 

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