- LUCAS / LAHRI Virtual Research Fellow 2022
- Arts, Humanities and Cultures
- School of English
- Faculty profile link
Professor Austin Asagba is Professor of Theatre Arts at the University of Benin, Nigeria.
Whilst a LUCAS/ LAHRI Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Leeds he will be working on his project ‘Problematising the Practice of Theatre for Development (TFD): Building Effective Communication Strategies for Sustainable Development in the the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria‘. He is collaborating whilst at Leeds with Professor Jane Plastow (School of English).
In Nigeria, after many years of crises and failure to establish strategies for communicating with the host communities in the Niger Delta region of the country, the major transnational oil companies in concert with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the official representative of Nigeria in the joint venture partnership, adopted TFD practice as the basis of their community relations and development strategy, to ensure their social license to operate in the Niger Delta. Unfortunately, the huge budgetary allocation and expenditure on Community Development projects (CDs) and programmes has not alleviated poverty and establish sustainable development. The region is continually plagued by youth restiveness, community agitation and sabotage.
The focus of the study is an in-depth interrogation of the practice of TFD in the area. Exploring the process of focus group discussions and interviews, the work will address the questions of “Why” and “How” the use of TFD seems not to have been largely effective and establish sustainable development projects in the communities. Key issues of planning, implementation, community input and participation will also be tackled. In the end, the work which has the capacity for future studies will open new vistas in the practice of TFD in volatile areas such as the Niger Delta region – the bedrock of the Nigeria’s oil wealth.