The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program has awarded Anderson University College of Arts and Sciences professor of English, Dr. Kalawole Olaiya, a fellowship to work with Nigeria’s Wesley University in Ondo, collaborating on research, developing curriculum, hosting workshops and conducting various activities related to mass communication.
This is one of 74 projects that will pair African diaspora scholars with higher education institutions and collaborators in Africa to work on curriculum co-development, collaborative research, graduate training and mentoring activities in the coming months, said Andrew J. Beckner, public relations executive director at Anderson University (AU).
Dr Olaiya previously worked at Wesley University in 2018 helping with the development of television production and other mass communication-related courses, said Beckner.
Commenting about the film industry in Nigeria, Dr. Olaiya said it had been relatively undeveloped, for a long time, because of the high production costs. Fortunately, newer, more cost-effective technology for producing feature films and video content has given rise to entrepreneurs, who have found growing audiences through online platforms such as Amazon Prime, Netflix and YouTube, he said.
Weaknesses, he says, lie in areas of scriptwriting and production planning. Dr. Olaiya is optimistic that the curriculum updates he’s been involved in will remedy these and other areas of need in Nigeria.
Joy Itodo was at her 100 level when she first had a scriptwriting class with Dr. Olaiya in 2018. Itodo, who wants to go into advertising, says she appreciates how Olaiya helped students get needed laptops and phones.
“It’s a great privilege to have Dr. Kolawole in our school. He taught us script writing three years ago and has been teaching us documentary production for the semester,” Itodo said. “I learned what a documentary is, the difference between a documentary and fiction, consideration that goes into funding a documentary, crews needed in documentary production, types of sound and types of documentaries.”
While taking Dr. Olaiya’s scriptwriting class, Funmilayo Ogunsanwo was inspired to pursue professional scriptwriting. She says, “He includes everyone and gives listening ears. Classes were very detailed… I could relate them to my life experience.”
Peace Olanrewaju, who is studying scriptwriting and documentary production from Dr. Olaiya, is also interested in advertising.
“I find joy in informing people on what’s going on around them,” Olanrewaju said. “I learned how to write. I also learned about funding documentaries and how to write a treatment script. I also learned about camera shots and movement and types of sound.”
The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program, now in its fourth year, is designed to reverse Africa’s brain drain, strengthen capacity at the host institutions and develop long-term mutually beneficial collaborations between universities in Africa and the United States and Canada.
The program is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and managed by the Institute of International Education (IIE), in collaboration with United States International University-Africa. A total of 471 African Diaspora Fellowships have been awarded to scholars since the program’s inception in 2013.