Bayo Akomolafe

One word goes a long way to capture the restlessness of Bayo – subversion. Born in 1983 to Nigerian parents, Bayo’s lifelong quest for absolute ‘truth’ was his most cherished preoccupation as a pioneer undergraduate in the then new Covenant University, Nigeria. His Christian upbringing deeply influenced his imagination, and inspired his decision to study human behaviour and, later, to specialize in Clinical Psychology. He graduated summa cum laude in 2006, and returned to his alma mater to teach and pursue a postgraduate degree in Clinical Psychology. It was during his clinical training (at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital in Enugu, eastern Nigeria) that he chanced upon new strains of thought that completely unravelled his quest for epistemic finality. Shaken to his intellectual core, Bayo now holds a largely participatory view about the world – one in which the notion of ‘truth’ is stripped of its pretensions to universal validity. His alter-modern suspicions of ‘knowledge’, ‘development’, ‘progress’ and ‘truth’ as Eurocentric metanarratives led him (and his wife, Ej) to develop the first International Workshop on Alternative Research Paradigms and Indigenous Knowledge Promotion (WARP, 2011).Bayo

His writings and publications have taken him to multiple conferences and counter-cultural events around the world. He initiated a book project called ‘We will tell our stories: Reimagining the Social Sciences in Africa’ in 2011, and is currently publishing the book with Professors Molefi Asante (USA), Augustine Nwoye (South Africa) and Tsitsi Dangarembga (Zimbabwe), among other African intellectuals. Bayo is co-founder of Koru, co-designer of Dreamscape, Kalengo (a reality television concept based on community activity that never got off the ground), and the Dreamweavers’ Network (which didn’t fly either).

In 2014, Adebayo was invited to be the Coordinator/Special Envoy of the International Alliance for Localization, a project of Local Futures (USA). He temporarily left his lecturing position in Covenant University, Nigeria to help build this Alliance for a more beautiful world.

Bayo is globally recognized for his poetic, unconventional, counterintuitive, and indigenous take on global crisis, civic action and social change, and was recently enlisted as the recipient of the Global Excellence Award (Civil Society) 2014 by FutureShapers (California). He is the Initiating/Coordinating Curator for The Emergence Network (A Post-Activist Project) [www.emergencenetwork.org], and host of the online writing course, ‘We will dance with Mountains: Writing as a Tool for Emergence’. As Coordinating Curator of The Emergence Network, Bayo works with other curators like Eric Chisler (USA), Nuno Da Silva (Portugal), Alnoor Ladha (South Africa) and Annie Levin (USA) – and hopes to inspire a diffractive network of sharing – a slowing down, an ethics of entanglement, an activism of inquiry, a ‘politics of surprise’…one that does not treat the crises of our times as exterior to ‘us’ or the ‘solutions’ that conventional activism offers as discrete or separate from the problems that we seek to nullify.

Though young, he is a frequent keynote speaker and has been invited three consecutive times to be the only keynote speaker at the European Union-sponsored DEEEP/CIVICUS Summit on Building a World Citizens’ Movement. His non-linear contributions to the discourse on sustainability, the changing ontology of activism, climate change, poverty eradication and decolonization, led to the adoption of the Johannesburg Compass – in place of a Declaration, which had been earlier intended. Bayo hopes to help co-create a trans-local ‘mycelial’ sharing of wisdoms, evoke a ‘politics of surprise’, and nurture a counterintuitive ‘movement’ for a more beautiful world.

Bayo is writing his second and third book, ‘And We Shall Dance with the Mountains’ and a novel, ‘The Boy Who Stayed Outside’. Ej and Bayo are ecstatic parents of a girl, Alethea. His most fervent passions are Ej, drawing, singing, writing, designing, speaking, and travelling.