Commonwealth African Summit: My memoirs

It has been days turned weeks, turned months since i last  i dropped my thoughts here. i know the question on your mind would be, where have i been or what happened while i was away? in order not to bore you with all the drama that came, i would just say: i had a research project to finish, i had life’s questions i needed to answer, i found love…yes love! (considering i wasn’t searching for it).

That been said, after the challenging face of  finishing  a degree, i was at a place in my life were i was not not sure of the next line of action. I felt it was time for me to share all England had thought me with other young Nigerians back at home but i guess, well….  things did not go as planned. So here i am in between getting a job and applying for a Masters by Research or my parents choice, undergo a PHD (which i am still uncertain about). i was invited by a new friend of mine, who doubles as a the commonwealth young person of the year for 2016 to the Commonwealth youth awards which also coincided with the Commonwealth day and Commonwealth African Summit. It was three days of  networking, brain storming, insightful discussions from members of the house of Lords, the Ooni of Ife, Mr Tonye Cole and so many other dignitaries.

However, the most part which caught my attention was the last day (because all other days was on security and peace building and i was like… who dis one epp) when i listened to young Africans speak on the ways they uphold sustainability in a changing environment. Though i have been this issue as a burden for a while now, it was very mind blowing to here what people are doing about it in various spheres of their endeavours. (from tourism to politics, to sports, agriculture, social entrepreneurship,entertainment/theatre etc).

At the end of the program my take home was enormous, the burden i had for we youths to change our narratives turned in to a rage-a rage for change. It dawned on me from the session that it is our responsibility as young Africans to go back to our various countries, use what we have learnt in the West to improve our own environment. we can become employers of labour if we choose to turn the problems we complain about to solutions, if we can set up a team of people who are schooled in various fields to implement change in those fields, we would one step at a time improve employment and  the economic life. We cannot continue to wait for infrastructure from the government. isn’t it obvious the government cannot help herself too. we need to find creative ways to reduce unemployment back home. Yes, we would receive a backlash when we return home and that is one reason many have refused to go home. However, the backlash is a reflection of two things: 1. how we as Africans have gotten so used to mediocrity, we do not even see it as mediocrity anymore, we have now made it a culture.2. this pride that Africans have, we know we do not know, yet we are to proud to want to know from someone who knows.(PUN intended).

I learnt so much i would have to run a part two for this post. but i need to leave you with this: The reason why Africa faces the problems you still complain about, is because you have refused to be Part of fixing the problem. It is rare to meet young Africans who have attained quite a lot for themselves yet maintain a humble personae and believe that they would not be where they are without the people we regard as ‘common’ i learnt that from the young men i had conversations with at the session.

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And finally, To change the African narrative the western media has of our continent,it starts with us….YES, US!

PS: i connected with Dayo Isreal after 6 years. we first met at UN conference on the world at 7 billion in 2011 now we met at a commonwealth summit he was hosting. Dayo is one guy that has taught me from afar that we are not too young to be part of decision making and mapping out a framework for young people rights. He is currently running for the chairmanship position at Lagos mainland and i endorse him.

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PSS: i met another person who resigned from the place i dream to work at and he is currently doing stuff that relate to what i have planned to do for African youths at Coventry University. it was an honour to meet Soji Adeniyi my new mentor.

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PSSS: you cannot say you are living if people around you have not become better because you are in their lives.

ok no more PSes

i am done talking.

err… wait another PS: pardon my picture quality, i was too excited like a child who was given ice cream to take the pictures firm.

Now i am done.

 

Bosses Without Borders

The choice of headline for this post is quite hilarious to me. First, because I was not sure of a suitable topic to describe this piece and secondly, I was trying to play upon words (am not quite sure if I nailed it though).

Anyway, this post is about bosses. Yes…! Bosses!

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Bosses you might probably refer to as HORRIBLE but for some reason,you can’t seem to get them out of your head. yep! Those Bosses! Bosses that have instilled a form of fear in you  lingering over your new bosses or anyone in authority over you, bosses who regardless of how horrible you say they are, have taught you something unforgettable about life. Sometimes, you might just have one, other times life throws you more than one of this species of bosses at you. Ever had a boss in this category…well I have and I want to talk about her (Yes! HER)

But First…

You see, Michel Foucault once explained in his book on Power and Subject that the  subject  is described as both a state of being subject to another’s control and of obtaining and becoming knitted to an identity or position while power is exercised on free subjects and insofar as they are free (Foucault 1982). You might wonder what I am trying to drive at with Foucault’s position of the power and subject. You see, according to Foucault no boss should have this form of domineering power on his/her subject without freedom/free will because one way or another, the subjects wilfully  obtain the identity of the person with the power. Unfortunately, these bosses have probably never read Foucault’s book in their lives. so back to my story…

Two years ago I was at a place in life called (In-between jobs-which is also termed as jobless). Fortunately, luck shined on me and  I had the privilege of working with a young woman who was as ambitious as I was. For the purpose of this post, we would call her ‘Boss lady’. She had a plethora of businesses but I found myself in her PR firm first as an assistant but I got fired on the grounds that I was too slow in constructing a perfect lie for publicity. Before my sack, the boss lady knew I loved to write so she rehired me as a writer for her magazine firm. this time, because I understood what it was like being without a job, I was ready to do anything to keep my Job. Moreover, how many bosses give you a second chance.

Hey! almost forgot to add, Bosslady was a good ‘famzer’ (to the non- Nigerians, let’s just say a famzer is someone who can exaggerate on everything- they are not liars, they just sweet tongue people into things) I was famzed into the job, because she loved how hardworking and the network I had built for myself at a young age. However, because I had a bad sense of style, she was ready to mould me to become a mini her (truth be told, I wanted to be like her, I really admired boss lady and I still do).

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Since I had been given a second chance, I was all -in this time, sad thing was I resumed without am employment letter or contract, an I.D. card to show I was working for the company, no salary structure, no closing time or resumption time NOTHING (though I was told in passing that my work time was 9:00- 17:00hrs but that was in passing not documented i ended up working 7 days a week 9:00- 23:00hrs all through the five working days) I did not complain because I wanted to work and gain new skills.  However, I learnt more than skills. I was an errand girl for her personal errands, her only staff writer, her blogger, her second assistant and above all, her office Buddie (yep I won her heart that much).

I don’t plan to share a life history of two years ago with you to bore you, I just want to share the main things boss lady has taught me despite the fact that I was used, insulted, sacked, bashed, you name it while I was with her(she even told me to watch Devil wears Prada again before working with her- reason for the picture) and these tips have helped me in my life’s journey so far. that is why I said earlier that though we might not have any business to do together, the experience I had with her was priceless.

  1. You need to have a fashion culture.
  2. If you want to be taken seriously and/or respected, dress the part.
  3. Read as though your life depends on it (you never know when you would need that piece of information you read about)
  4. Be inquisitive, ask questions.
  5. If you want to be broke in life have friends that would never challenge your thought process or think of new and creative ideas
  6. If you want to be broke, mingle with mediocre and vice-versa
  7. If you make a mistake, beat yourself, learn the lessons and MOVE ON!
  8. Question things around you, Find answers.
  9. If you go through a bad break up your rebound or next relationship/ partner should be waa aa ay better than the former. it’s therapeutic according to boss lady.
  10. Find your niche, train dirty to perfect it, make sure you be a boss in that niche. Be your own competition.
  11. And when life throws you lemons, honey make a cocktail lemonade is for the mediocre.

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I hope Boss lady has taught you something as she has taught me. I just hope she understands Foucault’s idea of power and uses it accordingly.

 

Photo Credits:  Quotesgram and Cosmouk.com

 

 

…Single at 51?

Hi folks, missed me? I sure missed writing for a bit. I needed to take a break from theories until the thought of dissertation bumped into me again. I am sure by now (that is if you read and watched the previous blog) you know what my research topic is going to focus on.

In my quest to find meaning to why women are being pressured and stigmatised to getting married before 30, a friend of mine sent me this article of  Famous journalist Christina  Patterson who is unapologetically single at 51. according to her ”she loves her life being single”.

you can read the article at:

“I Love My Life Being Single at 51” – Christina Patterson

Rebecca Traister was probably right where she stated in her book  All the Single Ladies that unmarried women are quietly upending life as Americans know it, is now creating waves on both sides of the Atlantic. According to her, “ single ladies already show  they have the power to change America in ways that make many people extremely uncomfortable” meanwhile, the millions of young men also putting off marriage rarely seem to be the subject of public discomfort or, indeed, bestselling books.

I intended to look at how the Nigerian society has made singlehood seem like a disease with the increase in prayer houses and deliverance programs for singles in many religious organisations and show examples of single women who are countering the status quo.

 

Credits: The guardian.

#CheckPoint is #CounterPoint

After months of planning, travelling, calling for meetings, making presentations, sometimes tormenting my teammates just to get things done as soon as possible. We finally had to bring everything to an end on the 12th of July 2016. Still confused on what I am talking about?  I am talking about the media exhibition from our trip to Berlin. the theme for the exhibition was #CheckPointCounterPoint.

The aim of the exhibition was to critically explore Berlin’s barriers and restrictions, the creativity of the street, cultural identity through food cultures,light as a decoration and the cosmopolitan traveller. The interesting thing about this exhibition was that we all had to use theory to explain Everyday Berlin. I know it sounds interesting. i know but it took a while for every team to come to terms with what we were to do but finally…

The exhibition was produced by all students of MA communication Culture and Media. For a large number of us, it was our first time planning an exhibition. Though the pre-exhibition was nerve racking because it was sometimes challenging to communicate ideas to the Chinese students and sometimes, there was always a clash of ideas. I am glad we were able to overlook our differences and bring out something amazing!

 

Is Your Learning this Disruptive?

I have always seen myself as a fast learner especially when the learning is hands-on. Guide to Campus has given me the opportunity I have craved for all my life. It is incredible how much I have learnt in such a short time and I still have more to learn. Not just in the area of professional skills but even in life skills. One life skill I have learnt is: it is ok to admit that you do not know. That way you can learn from those who know. I am literally putting theory into practice.

On the 4th of July, I took a crash class on video editing and this was the result of the class so far.

The Before and After…

 

 

This project has made me know myself better, I don’t see my teammates as colleagues, I see them as a family- my family members from various part of the world. I have been able to learn  media professional skills without ripping my pocket. The supervisors are great at what they do, giving us the liberty to make our own decisions,mistakes and learn from them. c’est incroyable.

 

 

New Skills

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I have always wanted to learn  something new. In fact, I live every day with the motive of learning something new each day but life as it is, sometimes you don’t. For every professional interview, I have attended, that has been my mantra when I am asked: ”so what made you apply for this job position?”I always answer with…” I just want to learn new skills”. sometimes I felt I sounded dumb answering questions in that manner but ….

Fast forward a couple of weeks after my first storyboard was made which I was told was not bad at all. I am extremely proud to say that in the last one week I have been able to add three more skills to my professional sleeve. From improving on my audio editing skills on Adobe Audition (you can check out my podcast  on SoundCloud to find out more) to learning how to design images on photoshop and  BeFunky.com, to the most recent, video editing, directing and managing sound while filming. All thanks to the opportunity  given to me by the Guide to Campus project under the  Office of Teaching and Learning, Coventry University. I would live to remember this

In the past, I had an opportunity to learn audio editing but I took it for granted because I felt at the time my presentation and my writing skills were good enough to get me the job of my dream but I thought wrong. My lack of not learning other professional skills made me almost jobless at a time (or so I thought).

My advice to anyone who wants to be better at a career… learn new skills that relate to your career without been obligated to. There are a million talented people out there but what would make you different is what you have acquired or knowledge you have gained on your life’s journey.

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#Selah

https://otlcu.wordpress.com

 

 

Dear Vice Chancellor

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Following a discussion that ensued in my group during a class activity  on our first experiences in school and what we hoped to change on the course, so many of us had a tonne of things to say and most of these issues needed to be discussed one way or another. I decided to bell this cat by writing an un-mailed letter to the vice-chancellor of Coventry University.

By the way, the Vice-Chancellor and CEO  of COV UNI is John Latham (I just discovered many students do not know the name of the Vice-chancellor)

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 School of Media and Performing Arts

Coventry University

West Midlands

United Kingdom.

 

3rd July 2016.

 

The Vice Chancellor,

Coventry University,

Priory Street, Coventry

West Midlands,

United Kingdom.

 

Dear Sir,

On behalf of every international student, I would first like to congratulate you and your indefatigable team for putting Coventry University on a global pedestal and introducing the world to the beautiful and multicultural city of Coventry. Coventry university in the last 2 decades has no doubt held on to been a modern university and a school that values student experience not just by the awards she has won but in making intentional efforts to hold on to her core values of strengthening student experience. Secondly, I would like to apologise in advance for the ‘non-academic’ style of writing this letter* but it is one and (probably)* only way I can express my thought without any bias.  Forgive my manners. My name is Tolu Akintaro and I am a Masters student in Communication Culture and Media. School of Media and Performing arts.

 

My decision to come to Coventry University has been one of the best decisions I made. The city is very  rich culture, history and opens her hospitable doors to people of various race and background which has made me feel more at home than any other country I have travelled to. Coventry University is an evolving school especially in the area of technology and engineering (I wish every other faculty could enjoy the kind of accolade  the engineering faculty have been given over the years).

In lure of the above, I would like to state what I would rather not term as complaints but suggestions to improve the teaching and learning in Coventry University especially as it relates to my course of study- media, communications and culture. First, for most international students  from Asia and third world countries who happen to be the majority of students in Coventry University, they face a major issue of writing essays the way and manner that is expected of them either due to the fact that they were not groomed to write in that manner or the writing style from their home country is totally strange to what is acceptable at Coventry University. I understand that it was due to challenges of this sort that the centre for academic writing was created. However, it seems to me that the centre is overwhelmed with the number of students it has to cater to year in- year out. For example, I have to book an appointment a month before just to see an adviser and another month to be sure my essay has been finally read by one of the readers(by this time, the deadline for the essay submission would have come and gone). I also discovered that the essay writing for the engineering department varies from what is accepted at Media and communications. Unfortunately, the staff at the centre for academic writing do not in any way point out these variations. (we are just required to write in a certain way- not regarding if the faculty accepts it). That been said, I would like to propose that all Faculties have a centre for academic writing both for Undergraduate and postgraduate students. That way, the burden on centre for academic writing would reduce to it’s barest minimum and students would be able to have convenient one-on-one sessions with the advisors from their various schools who have an understanding of what applies in every department.

 

Secondly, the school is known to develop professionals in various fields of endeavours and raise young men and women to embody what  the phoenix represents. However, I would like to suggest that mentorship should be given to both undergraduates and post-graduates students while at the university. These mentors would not take the place of counsellors at the mental health and wellness centres but can help their various mentees to understand and develop their learning styles and technique, help them to improve on areas where they feel the student is lacking and in need of help as it relates to the profession, and work with the student on finding more professional opportunities that are relevant to the-the students interest. I believe that this method would help many students to consciously develop their strengths in whatever field they have chosen.

Furthermore, as you know, Coventry university was once a polytechnic which from my understanding of the polytechnic curriculum is 60% practical and 40% theory and I personally expect that it should hold on to those values even though she has become a university. Unfortunately, the school especially my course focuses more on theories than on the practical aspect of the course. Inasmuch as the theories are helpful in our everyday lives, the practical skills are what would get us the jobs we hope to apply for when we leave the four walls of this great ivory tower. I am grateful for the opportunity to intern with the Office of Teaching and Learning on her media project #GuideToCampus. This internship has made me learn a plethora of professional skills I did not have an opportunity to learn while as an undergraduate and even as a postgraduate student. Most of the times I asked my lecturers to put me through some practical knowledge of tools that relate to my course, I am directed to watch videos on YOUtube or read a manual. This method of learning cannot be taken for granted however, I am more of a hands-on learner especially when it comes to using tools and gadgets I find difficult to use.sadly, my tutors hardly find the time to understand that. I fear for my colleagues who are settling for all that is taught in class because they might find it difficult to get media jobs in the near future without any form of professional  hands-on skill.

 

As stated above, the school is filled with students from Asia (especially China) and third world countries. I have discovered that the Chinese students in my class find it rather challenging to understand all that the tutor says in English considering English is not their first language. There is usually a lot of bickering in my class because the students try to translate the jargon said in English to Chinese. While they try to translate, they miss out on other important points the lecturer must have made. These students have been bashed unconsciously by the teachers because they try to understand by asking each other what the teacher meant. I would like to suggest that the courses on module be translated into at least two other languages besides English. That is, Chinese and French. I believe that the language society can work in conjunction with the IT department to make this work well. This would in many ways reduce the noise and bashing that the Chinese students face. With UK leaving the EU, I foresee that many students in the future who would apply  and gain admission to Coventry University would be students from China and African countries. I believe this would help future students embrace the school as an institution that looks out for their language problems.

 

Finally, I thank you and your team for being intentional in meeting the needs of students and making the university conducive for learning, I cannot trade this experience for anything in this world. Indeed the school attaining an award in student experience cannot be overemphasised. I also believe that the aforementioned would also improve the student experience in more ways than we can imagine.

I look forward to your feedback

 

Yours Faithfully,

 

Tolu, Akintaro

MA Communication,Culture and Media, Coventry University

 

*Because I have been penalised for my writing style in most of my essays.

* The brackets express my  deep thoughts on the issue

#BerlinMemoirs: Comparing Abuja to Berlin

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While in Berlin, i saw so many things, people and activities that reminded me of Abuja, Nigeria. It seems to me that both cities have a lot in common . from the  street names (streets in Berlin were named after heroes ad activist during the Berlin war, the streets of Abuja were named after all those who in a way fought for Nigeria’s independence). Berlin is a city filled with people from various countries and cultures though originally for the Germans. Abuja is mostly occupied by people of different ethnic groups around Nigeria while the initial land owners Gbagyi’s  moved to small communities.anguages in Berlin are German,Dutch and English. Languages spoken in Abuja are English,Hausa and Pidgin.Languages in Berlin are German,Dutch and English. Languages spoken in Abuja are English,Hausa and Pidgin.

I watched as this lady entertained her audience who were compelled to stop at the traffic light. I gazed at her smile and body language that showed she enjoyed dancing to her less than a one-minute audience. I watched how she entertained all cars that had to stop at the light with so much joy and professionalism just to be given less than a Euro after every grande performance.

Her performance reminded me of a  traffic officer in Abuja,Nigeria who usually dances on the road while controlling traffic. Sergent Audu as he is fondly called was later given a national award for his diligence to work. But would she?

The Occupy movement started in Berlin and moved to other countries. Nigeria is one of the countries that supported the occupy movement. The movement in Berlin has  not been effective for a while, but OCCUPY NIGERIA has gained momentum especially with the economic and unemployment issues that affect the country.

I do not know how to theorise this or if there is a reason behind the similarities I discovered but I believe I shall understand by and by.

PS: Did I mention they  both have gates?

#BerlinMemoirs

*In Ariana Grande’s Voice* We are going on a summer holiday….. Err… I wish that were  the case. My team and I are taking a  research trip to Hitlers city.

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Yep! Berlin here we come!

Our purpose of travelling is to relate various theories we have learnt in class to the history, culture and space in Berlin. As you might know, Berlin was one major city in Germany that experienced the student movement war popularly called’68 and  also the cold war. This great city has witnessed  development through artists and architects who have/had been victims of the war by creating expressionist art through buildings (architectural designs) and street art.

My team and I Hope to understand some part of the Berlin space through the theory of Cosmopolitanism. According to Kwame Appiah (2005), cosmopolitanism is not “Comme des Garcons-clad sophisticated with a platinum frequent-flyer card regarding, with kindly condescension, a ruddy-faced farmer in workman’s overalls.” However, it is the  ideal that expects us to be at ‘home in the world’, a situation where we temper respect for difference with respect for humanity. Cosmopolitanism should not only preach tolerance but also generate an obligation of hospitality and openness towards strangers (Appiah 2005). That been said, most of us undertaking this trip are international students and Novice to Berlin. we plan to take visual representations of  our emotions as cosmopolitans in a German space and how we take in the things that citizens usually take for granted. One of such is the architecture in Berlin. We hope to find out how/if the Dusseldorf students idea of new objectivity is still relevant in today’s society in Berlin. Another thing we hope to find out is the yearly event that happens in Berlin called: Fete de la Musique. Introduced into Berlin by the French in 1995.

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By the end of 1989 and beginning of 1990, Germany was entering into a state of reunification between east and west bloc. However, the country faced severe economic stagnation in the 80s. Due to the recession, the country open her doors to other countries like France to help with building the economy. One way France strengthened the German economy was through music.Fete de la Musique holds every 21st of June.

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we as researchers would like to understand:

  1. what makes citizens of other countries asides the German, French and Turkey*  visit every year?
  2. How can other international visitors partake in this event that showcases some form of ‘popular culture’ or consumer culture?
  3. How does the idea of ‘ free concerts’ made by the German Government help the influx of people for the festival?
  4. What has made the Berlinians continue with the festival since it was introduced to them by the French?
  5. Does the festival in any way celebrate the French culture in Paris or the Berlin culture in Germany?
  6. How has this event affected the way tourist view Berlinians/ What does this festival mean for the locals vis a vis the cosmopolitan?
  7. Does the festival have an emotional (aura) attachment to it? That represents Berlin and her history

And on that note… Sehen Sie in Berlin!