Queen Elizabeth Scholarship inspires theatre scholar to build research career in Canada

February 14, 2023
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Photo of Taiwo Afolabi in a button-up shirt, leaning on a railing

As an artist, Taiwo Afolabi felt the Queen Elizabeth Scholars (QES) program was an ideal fit for his research interests. It also contributed to his decision to pursue an academic career in Canada.

“I work in applied theatre, so it’s about community and practice,” he says. “You have to actually go into the community, and that fit perfectly with QES.”

Originally from Nigeria, Taiwo studied and conducted research in numerous countries before arriving in Canada for doctoral studies. As a PhD student and QEScholar at the University of Victoria, he used applied theatre “to work with communities, to build communities, and to help refugee communities share their stories in ethical ways.”

That meant working closely with various community organizations, students and faculty “in addressing social issues such as migration, refugee advocacy, law enforcement and challenges facing Indigenous communities,” he explains.

As a QEScholar, Taiwo’s community engagement activities included collaborating with a faith-based organization on refugee advocacy, facilitating theatre activities with residents of seniors’ homes, and organizing refugee advocacy on campus. QES also boosted his research and publishing experience and helped him build a research network in Canada, where he decided to stay and build his career.

After completing his PhD in applied theatre in 2020, Taiwo was appointed Canada Research Chair in Socially Engaged Theatre at the University of Regina, where he is an assistant professor. He also created a research centre, the Centre for Socially Engaged Theatre (C-SET) where he conducts research, creates works, performs and teaches at the intersection of performance and human ecology. His research interests lie in the areas of applied theatre and policing, social justice, decolonization, art leadership and management, migration and the ethics of conducting arts-based research.

As Canada Research Chair and the Director of C-SET, Taiwo leads a program in socially engaged theatre research. He uses the performing arts as a creative tool to address the knowledge gap around policing and racism, immigrants’ experience and policymaking.

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Media contact:

Lisa Wallace
Assistant Director, Communications
Universities Canada
[email protected]

Tagged:  Global connections, Research and innovation

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