UCL Anthropology

Dr Toyin Agbetu

Dr Toyin Agbetu

Lecturer in Social Anthropology

Dept of Anthropology

Faculty of S&HS

Joined UCL
1st Nov 2019

Research summary

Dr Toyin Agbetu’s doctoral research looked at how institutional and governmental forms of cultural activism attempt to deliver radical social action on a neighbourhood level. His study revealed that the reverse coöptation of institutions by cultural activists and/or the long-term commitment to informal processes of coöptation between organisational insiders and outsiders enabled them to secure grassroot, social-justice focused counterpublic aims.

Teaching summary

Dr Toyin Agbetu has been involved in formal and informal education for most of his adult life. As a community educator, his teaching has utilised a creative, liberatory/critical pedagogical style. He continues to places empathy, ethical practice, and human rights at the centre of his practice while nurturing academic rigour and intellectual creativity. In contemporary terms, this means adopting a 'decolonising' approach rooted in values of social justice dedicated to ensuring academia works to free all people from inequality, violence and dehumanisation. 


University College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2021
University College London
Other higher degree, Master of Science | 2015
University of East London
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) | 2012


Dr Toyin Agbetu has been a community educator at Ligali, a grassroots, Pan Africanist, human-rights based organisation for over twenty years. As part of an activist collective, Toyin has adopted a scholar-activist approach to challenging Afriphobia and the misrepresentation of African people, culture and history in the media and public spaces. He studied Education and Community Development at the University of East London, and Social and Cultural anthropology at University College London (UCL). His research interests include education and community development, counterpublics and urban social movements, cultures of protest, museum activism, decolonisation, gentrification and governmental/institutional forms of activism.

On the completion of his doctoral research, Toyin discovered how governmental forms of cultural practices could deliver radical social justice aims when operating in museological forms that extend outside traditional institutional walls. In September 2021, Dr Toyin Agbetu became a lecturer in Social and Political Anthropology at UCL. There he teaches the UG and PG module on The Anthropology of Nationalism, Ethnicity and Race (ANTH0029) and the Decolonising Anthropology (ANTH0157) course. He remains committed to working as a scholar-activist through his independent writing, filmmaking and neo-museologist practice dedicated to reparatory and social justice, critical pedagogy, decoloniality and actively reframing Britain’s cultural institutions as powerful engines of political and social transformation through Exhibitionary Praxis.