PhD Candidate, University of Victoria
Taiwo Afolabi is a PhD Candidate, practitioner-researcher and an artist at the University of Victoria where he engages his artistic practice for social change. He is the founder of Theatre Emissary International, an arts-based organization that educates and creates positive social change while empowering local partners as collaborators in development processes. He facilitates safe and positive spaces through the use of arts-based methods for conversation on a variety of social justice issues.
“The lack of political will to invest in people specific understanding of what development means among different nations and communities in the country is the most challenging aspect of achieving development in Canada,” says Taiwo. “While the SDGs are laudable and well intentioned, it is important to foster a people-led approach in its definition and actualization. There has to be a truthful and honest relationship between the people and the government so that the SDGs can be achieved in Canada.”
As a Nigerian that grew up among many social injustices, Taiwo constantly questioned the idea of top-down development approaches. In his own work he has searched for ways to effectively engage communities. “I am excited that my work across different countries has been community focused,” he says.”In every project, I seek to encourage and empower my collaborators - individually and collectively.”
At the Summit Taiwo hopes to both share his knowledge with other participants and learn from their diverse experiences. In his downtime, he writes poetry, plays piano, drums and spends quality time with his family.