"Since matriculating at Robinson (1989) and completing an M.Phil. (1990) followed by a PhD (1992) I’ve pursued a mainly academic career, teaching and researching at universities in England and Scotland. In the more recent past I was Reader in Architecture and Dean International for Africa at the University of Edinburgh from (2015 – 2017). I then went on to be a Research Professor in Architecture at Manchester at Manchester School of Architecture and for a short period joint acting Head of School (2017 – 2020). I’ve most recently taken up the role of Head of School of Architecture at the University of Liverpool School of Architecture. I have ongoing teaching and research collaborations with Universities in Ghana and Nigeria. I am also involved with a number of transnational architecture and urbanism focused research collaborations spanning different continents. Last year I also curated the 75th-anniversary celebration of the holding of the fifth meeting of the Pan African Congress in Manchester as an online event involving an array of Africa-linked academics, students and the local community.

I have fond memories of Robinson College, as I spent a further three years as a Junior Research Fellow at Robinson after completing my PhD and made strong links to colleagues and staff who I encountered. Prof Victor Flynn, at the time, was a Junior Research Fellow in Mathematics and helped cox an MCR boat that I had organised. It had the dubious distinction of sinking the Trinity third boat! I was also chair of the African Caribbean Society, and in 1992 we held its annual meeting including a fashion show at Robinson. I remain in touch with the housekeeper at Thorneycreek Cottage, Veronica Smith, who has over the years become a really good friend and was a guest at my wedding. 

How did I feel about Robinson at the time? It was very much an undergraduate college with few international students even at the postgraduate level. I chose Robinson because as an architect I had read about its architecture getting a major architectural award! There was another Nigerian postgraduate student who read for a PhD in Engineering at the same time as me, so I wasn’t entirely on my own, and in my third year, a Gambian student commenced her undergraduate studies at Robinson. I think that Robinson has always been a friendly college, the Head Porter Fred Boyne, and the Warden Lord Lewis saw to that, as they both ran the College in what I suppose in those days was a uniquely colour-blind fashion. I never felt put down by being one of a very few minority postgraduate students at the College, and later on, becoming a Junior Research Fellow. Instead, I rapidly turned into a  ‘Robinsonian’, embracing MCR and later on SCR life. Having said so I as with most international postgraduate students at the time did congregate at Darwin which at the time consistently had the best Friday postgraduates parties and get-togethers. 

My special memories of my time at Robinson are as a Junior Research Fellow having a superb PhD graduation garden party in the Fellow’s garden, with tremendous thanks to the catering staff for organising this. Probably however what was most special was walking from Thorneycreek Cottage in warm summers through the garden and over the bridge to the main building and simply enjoying the view.”

Ola Uduku