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 to forever regurgitate the present.
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, humor, 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
Grants & Scholarships
- Miles Morland African Writing Scholarship (2020): awarded £18,000 to give me the financial freedom to write a memoir shaped around the death of my younger brother, exploring broken Ghanaian masculinities and the repression of mental health issues.
- 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); contributed a chapter on ‘The Sustainability of Contemporary Arts Spaces in Ghana, Tanzania & Uganda‘, co-authored with Dr. Joseph Oduro-Frimpong
- Presenter, Help America: Why Africans Should Care Despite African Problems for SOAS Virtual Lecture Series (July 2020)
- MC, NYU Accra Labone Dialogues: Archives & Local Production of Knowledge – The Kofi Ghanaba Archives (Feb 2020)
- Panelist, Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD) on Feminisms in Ghana; Are there new approaches in the push for gender equality? (Mar 2020)
- Judge, University of Ghana International Week Debate (Feb 2020)
- Panelist, Webster University Ghana talk on Social Media in the 21st Century; Its Impact on Mental Health, Business Success and Social Movements (Oct 2019)
- Project Lead, Ashesi Innovation Experience Creative Arts Module (Aug 2019, 2018)
- Panelist/Moderator, Celebrity, Complicity and Community: Making Sense of ‘Surviving R Kelly for Webster University Ghana (Mar 2019)
- Panelist, Tell Me What You See (Through the Looking Glass of Pop Culture) at the Yoyo Tinz Festival (Nov 2018)
- Panelist, Government of Ghana/IOM Panel Discussion on Diaspora, Transnational Belonging and Giving Back (Dec 2015)
- 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)
- 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