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Tolu Odusanya

MA work

Okun Makoko

 Okun Makoko is a collaborative project, not only in its capacity to reach out to experts in the fields of microbiology, biogas, engineering and music. But also in its capacity to employ, engage and provoke participation by the key stakeholders in both the design and delivery of this live project. When I refer to we, I’m referring to the key experts, but of course the hope is that eventually Makoko residents will eventually become part of this ‘we’.

A satellite view of the planet from outer space at night, shows Africa as a “dark continent”. Without light, without electricity, without (political) power, the damaging colonial paradigm of the “dark continent” persists, this time through a real and chronic lack of energy supply. Makoko is just one of masses of communities on the African continent affected by this lack of energy supply.

 Although the project Okun Makoko has been specifically tailored to Makoko, a floating fishing village that has grown to be one of the biggest self-organised settlements in Nigeria. I’m referring to this global issue because the present state of things, has its genesis in the global epidemic of the imperial and colonial empires, their “master” plans and their legacy.  Both to uphold integrity here and to design for impact, the story of Makoko and its possible future has been represented and negotiated directly by its residents and its key agents, this being the fundamental focus of the project. 


  • MA Degree


    School of Design


    MA Design Products, 2017



  • Much of my work is strongly influenced by my upbringing in Nigeria and often driven towards allowing design to be a vehicle for social mobility especially for communities that are on the fringes both geographically but also socially and economically.

    I was born in a suburban Nigerian town on the outskirts of Lagos. There I witnessed first-hand the effects of the little, seemingly meaningless things can have in transforming the quality of people’s lives.

    I’m currently the recipient of the Schmidt MacArthur fellowship, part of the Ellen MacArthur foundation. And my current project is exploring the practicality of the CE principles in a developing country from a grass roots level. Using the product as the medium, it aims to examine if it is possible to actually build a micro economic system around a product, and in doing so invite people to see the value in circular economy ideologies

  • Degrees

  • BENG Product Design Engineering, Loughborough University, 2015
  • Awards

  • Schmidt-MacArthur Fellow