As a music geek studying sociology, I am really intrigued by the relationships between music and society in African contexts.
My doctoral research focuses on alternative music in Ghana and how its artists create, express, and are informed by community and care for wider society. It is part of a DANIDA-funded research project between the University of Ghana and Copenhagen Business School, examining Ghana’s cultural and creative industries.
I also hold an LL.B in Law and an MA in International Studies & Diplomacy from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
Through my work as a lecturer, writer, and DJ, I find myself championing arts and culture. Both speak to social imagination, without which society is incapable of dreaming itself out of its problems; doomed instead to forever regurgitate the present regardless of scientific and technological opportunities to do more.
My ultimate aim as a teacher is to move students from social apathy towards a particularly African social empathy. I attempt this in two ways: first, by helping students to see and question the hegemonies within which they exist; secondly, by introducing them to the idea that they are not merely receivers of culture but also creators of it, with all the responsibilities that this entails. If you can create culture then you can change it. In doing so, you can change society: something I encourage all my students to believe they can do.
I use a ‘by-any-means-necessary’ approach towards teaching, utilizing personal experience, humour, and the broadest possible range of texts, including movies, documentaries, song lyrics, music videos, tweets, blogs, books, advertisements, and more. I also push students to make more informed use of social media and to contribute course material their peers may find relevant.
My classroom is a safe space within which students are encouraged to explore (and to tolerate) new perspectives. Active participation is essential: you must have an opinion. You must also however keep an open mind. I push students to ask questions and to challenge me. In doing so, they not only gather the courage to challenge the status quo, but they also learn how to change minds.
Ultimately, I am a student too.
Subjects I Teach
Ashesi University (2011-2018)
- Text & Meaning
- Written & Oral Communication
- Social Theory
- African Philosophical Thought
- Africa in International Affairs
- Leadership I: What Makes a Good Leader?
- Leadership II: Rights, Ethics & the Rule of Law
Webster University Ghana (2018 to date)
- Cornerstone Global Seminar: Introduction to African Social Theory
- Introduction to Interactive Digital Media
- Cultural Diversity in the Media
- Student Leadership Development
Grants & Scholarships
- Miles Morland African Writing Scholarship (2020): awarded £18,000 to give me the financial freedom to write a narrative memoir around the death of my younger brother, exploring masculinity, mental health, marriage, and relationships in contemporary Ghanaian culture.
- DANIDA Doctoral Scholarship (2019): awarded $75,000 Ph.D. scholarship by the DANIDA Fellowship Centre as part of its ‘Advancing Creative Industries for development in Ghana‘ research project with the University of Ghana
- The Force of Art (2018): received €10,000 research grant from HIVOS, Prince Claus Fund & the European Cultural Foundation to study how non-profit art spaces transform people and situations in Ghana, Uganda & Tanzania
Forces of Art: Perspectives from a Changing World (2020; Idea Books); assisted Dr. Joseph Oduro-Frimpong in researching a chapter on ‘The Sustainability of Contemporary Arts Spaces in Ghana, Tanzania & Uganda‘
- Re:publica Accra 2018 (Ghana): co-presented Revolution Radio – a paper on the recent rise of Ghanaian podcasts as a platform for alternative voices, viewpoints and sounds. Also participated in a panel on Afrofuturism: an African History of the Future.
- 7th European Conference on African Studies (ECAS) 2017 (Switzerland): presented Back to Black: New Manifestations of Social Conscience in Accra’s Creative Spaces – a paper exploring economics and experiences within Accra’s rising counterculture scene (as part of a panel on Cultivating African Cities: On a Decolonial Potential of Urban Cultural Elites)
- Lancaster University Richardson Institute Joint Conference 2017 (Ghana): co-presented Teaching Evolving Political Landscapes in the African Context – a paper on the experience of redesigning a Global South-centred undergraduate Social Theory course
- Open Forum 2012 (South Africa): participated in two panels – Patriarchs and Publishing: The Business of Breaking African Gender and Sexual Stereotypes and In Our Own Image: Defining African-ness
- International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) Conference 2006 (Canada): under the auspices of Sussex University’s Development Research Centre on Migration (UK) and the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (Ghana), I presented Beyond Rights: Integration Between Liberians and Their Ghanaian Neighbours in the New Buduburam Community – a co-authored paper researching relations between Liberian refugees and their Ghanaian neighbours
- Ghana Studies Conference 2019: commentary on Sonic Lecture on the History of Highlife (2019)
- Webster University: Webster Ghana Examines the ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Documentary Series (2019)
- Ashesi University: On Pop Academia: lecturer Kobina Ankomah-Graham looks beyond academic systems (2016)
- AMP: A Trip to Agbogbloshie with Belgian-Beninese artist Fabrice Monteiro and Senegalese designer Doulsy for ‘Prophecy II’ photoshoot (2016)
- BBC: Leaving the UK and Going Home to Ghana (2015)
- Ashesi University: Retooling technology to make learning fun: the case of the Ashesi class that has lessons on Whatsapp (2013)