Growing Interior Design Internationally

Obafemi Awolowo University

A collaboration between Professor Abimbola Asojo (Interior Design) and Professors Dolapo Amole and Babatunde Jaiyeoba of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in lle-lfe, Osun, Nigeria has culminated in the development of the first interior design program at a Nigerian university.

Although this may be one of their biggest collaborations to date, the relationship between Asojo, Amole, and Jaiyeoba has spanned decades. “I have known both Professor Amole and Professor Jaiyeoba since the mid-eighties. When I was an undergraduate architecture student at OAU, both were seniors in the program,” explained Asojo. Since then, the three have collaborated on design research in African Architecture and on coursework for their students. “One recent partnership was in the IDES 3612: Lighting Design when my interior design students jointly designed an airport retail project and hotel in Nigeria with students from OAU.”

Interior design students present their lighting projects to faculty at Obafemi Awolowo University during an interim review.

Interior design students present their lighting projects to faculty at Obafemi Awolowo University during an interim review.

Through years of collaboration, the need for an interior design program in Nigeria became more and more apparent. Similar to many non-western countries across the globe, Nigerian universities do not offer interior design programs. Asojo, Amole, and Jaiyeoba decided to change this and develop an online Masters in Interior Design (MID).

Through a University of Minnesota Global Programs and Strategy Alliance grant, Amole and Jaiyeoba were able to visit the College of Design in person to start developing the OAU interior design program. A key component of the new program is providing students with a cohesive and well-rounded education in interior design. “A balance of aesthetic, functional, and technical issues with particular emphasis on human health and well-being were paramount in developing the curriculum, and we paid serious attention to this,” said Asojo.

Obafemi Awolowo University

Obafemi Awolowo University

“I look forward to seeing the profession of interior design grow in Nigeria,” said Asojo. “I am also thrilled because the amazing students at OAU will have the opportunity to learn and study interior design and I am optimistic that this will provide our students with a chance to work more closely with them. We live in an increasingly global society and this type of international experience is very important for students to have,” she concluded.

The first class of OAU interior design students will start in July 2019.

Professor Asojo with faculty and staff at Obafemi Awolowo University.

Professor Asojo with faculty and staff at Obafemi Awolowo University.

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