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Call for applications: Masterclass “Researching public spaces in African cities”

From February 19th to 28th 2019, ENS Paris and IFRA-Nigeria are co-organising a week-long Masterclass between the University of Lagos and the University of Ibadan, exploring the concept of public spaces in African cities. A call is now open for 10 Nigerian students to participate.

2018 11 call for application

A busy street of Ibadan,, November 2018


At the crossroad of training and research, this masterclass aims at sharing with French and Nigerian master and/or early PhD students the latest methodological insights and reflexions available in the social and human sciences, that intend to transfer, mobilise, criticize or redefine the Western notion of “public spaces”, within and starting from African cities. Drawing on the case of Lagos and Ibadan (Nigeria), the goal will be to raise awareness of the participants on the definition of this notion and its study in African cities.

For so doing, the participants will take part in lectures and discussions at the University of Lagos from February 19th to 24th, then undertake collective field research in Ibadan from February 24th to 28th. It will enable them to practice research methodologies introduced by the facilitators and to reflect together on the notion of “public spaces” as applied to these specific African contexts.

Finally, this masterclass falls within the scope of a one-day conference titled “Looking For and From Public Spaces in African Cities”, on February 21st 2019 in the University of Lagos, and of the final representation of the Lagos Dance Gathering Festival on February 23 in Lagos Island to which the masterclass participants will be invited to attend.


The Masterclass will be facilitated by a great selection of international scholars:

  • Dr. Pauline Guinard (geographer, ENS/LAVUE)
  • Dr. Julien Migozzi (geographer, ENS)
  • Dr. Emilie Guitard (anthropologist, IFRA Nigeria)
  • Dr. Taibat Lawanson (urban planner, UniLag)
  • Chrystel Oloukoï (PhD student in Anthropology, Harvard University)
  • Ismael Maazaz (PhD student in African Studies, Edinburgh University)
  • Clémentine Chazal (research associate, IFRA Nigeria)


Day 1: Tuesday 19th (Lagos)

  • Arrival and welcoming of the participants in Lagos

Day 2: Wednesday 20th (Lagos)

  • Morning :
    • Welcome address and presentations of the participants and the supervision team
    • Theoretical session on the broader notion of “public spaces” and its narrowed meaning in African cities in particular
  • Afternoon :
    • Methodological session on the practicalities and modalities of research on public spaces in urban African contexts.

Day 3: Thursday 21st (Lagos)

  • One-day conference “Looking for/from public spaces in African cities”

Day 4: Friday 22nd (Lagos)

  • Morning :
    • Comparative lectures by Dr. Lawanson (UniLag) on Lagos and Dr. Adelekan (UI) on Ibadan
  • Afternoon:
    • Lecture and discussion by Pr. F. de Boeck (Leuven University) on Kinshasa
    • Lecture and discussion by Pr. Ph. Gervais-Lambony (LAVUE, Nanterre) from Lomé to Johannesburg

Day 5: Saturday 23rd (Lagos)

  • Dance Gathering Festival, Lagos Island

Day 6: Sunday 24th

  • Transfer from Lagos to Ibadan

Day 7: Monday 25th (Ibadan)

  • Morning :
    • Urban transect walks in Ibadan to grasp with the overall organisational and functional features of the city
    • Students are introduced to various public spaces selected to conduct fieldwork
    • Students break into groups of 3 to 5 individuals for each pinpointed field sites (park, street, market and transport nodes)
  • Afternoon :
    • Exploratory group research in along with team supervisor for each selected public space identified in order to define research questions and methodologies suitable for each site.
    • Post-fieldwork presentation of each group and discussion lead by supervisors

Day 8: Tuesday 26th (Ibadan)

  • Morning :
    • Fieldwork on each identified site along with team supervisors
  • Afternoon :
    • Fieldwork continues for each identified site, along with team supervisors.
    • Post-fieldwork presentation of each group and discussion lead by supervisors

Day 9: Wednesday 27th (Ibadan)

  • Morning :
    • Fieldwork continues for each identified site, along with team supervisors.
  • Afternoon :
    • Analysing and formatting data collected with the help of supervisors.

Day 10: Thursday 28th (Ibadan)

  • Morning :
    • Discussion and presentation of research findings for each group
  • Afternoon :
    • Departure of participants


10 participants will be selected for the Masterclass. Application is open to new doctoral students (in their first or second year) and to students finishing a research master and planning to continue with doctoral studies, from any Nigerian university. Interested students are requested to submit their application to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. not later than December 19th 2018, with email title “Application for Masterclass: researching public space in African cities”. Applications must include ALL the following elements or will not be considered:

  • Updated academic CV 
  • A one-page proposal detailing the applicants’ reasons to attend the masterclass and how his/her profile is relevant.
  • List of courses taken and grades received
  • A one-page analysis of their conception of public spaces in African cities

It is mandatory for all applicants to be registered as IFRA research fellows.

Application outcomes will be announced in January 2019.

Transportation to Lagos and from Ibadan, accommodation and food in Lagos and Ibadan will be entirely covered by the organizers of the masterclass.

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Institute of African Studies
University of Ibadan
Ibadan, Oyo State

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Opening hours: 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday