History of the Institute of Cultural Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
The Institute of Cultural Studies (ICS), Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife was established in 1983, as successor of the defunct Institute of African Studies which was one of the earliest units that started with the University in 1962. The Institute has as its mandate, the preservation of African cultural heritage and the study of problems of adaptation and integration of African cultural values to the experience and daily life of Africans and African descendants in the contemporary world. ICS is, therefore, committed to inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary studies of cultures.
The first Director of the former Institute of African Studies, which metamorphosed into the current ICS in 1983, was Michael Crowder. He started the annual Ife Festival of the Arts. He left in 1971. Ulli Beier, the famous Austrian researcher of Yoruba culture, was appointed by Prof. Hezekiah Oluwasanmi, the first Vice Chancellor of the University of Ife, as the Director of the Institute in September 1971. One of the achievements of Ulli Beier was the transformation of the Ife Festival of the Arts into an annual event.
The Director at the inception of ICS in 1983 was Professor Olabiyi Babalola Yai. He was succeeded by Professor Bade Ajuwon who served as the Director from 1986 to 1992. Other Directors/Acting Directors include: Professor 'Biodun Adediran (1992 to 1996), Professor Oyin Ogunba (1996 to 1999), Dr. Gabriel Olu Akomolafe, (1999 – 2000), Professor Isola Olomola, (2000 – 2004), Dr. Wale Adeniran (2004 – 2008), Prof. Akin Alao (2008 – 2011), Prof. Gbemisola Remi Adeoti (2011 – 2015) and Dr. Jare Oladosu (2015 – 2017). The current Director of the Institute is Prof. Félix Ayoh’OMIDIRE.
Today, the Institute embarks on activities that promote lively exchange of ideas through seminars and conferences and also through its official Journal - IFE: Journal of the Institute of Cultural Studies. This annual publication is noted for its high academic standard.
Part of the Institute’s uniqueness derives from the University’s motto – “For Learning and Culture” as it is the intellectual unit devoted to the pursuit of the cultural mission of the University. The architecture of the Institute of African Studies building and that of the Institute of Cultural Studies beside it, depict indigenous African styles with murals and other Yoruba art motifs aimed at evoking the traditional social setting, thus making the ICS Complex a veritable Ilé-Irúnmọlẹ̀ as it has come to be known in recent times.
The Institute’s new building houses the Secretariat, a Seminar Room, an Art Gallery, a Library, a small computer room and a number of staff offices. The Institute is close to the University’s ultra modern Oduduwa Hall, the University Library, the Sports Complex, the Department of Music Complex and the new Mega-Lecture Theatres of the Faculty of Administration.
UNITS OF THE ICS COMPLEX (Ilé-Irúnmọlẹ̀)
The Institute of Cultural Studies (Ilé –Irúnmọlẹ̀) is made up of 5 principal units, namely The Martin Aworinlewo Odeyemi Museum of Antiquities and Contemporary African Art, the ICS Art Gallery, the Adebayo Faleti Library and Documentation Centre and the Secretariat. Since the last edition of the ICS IFE Festival of the Arts in 2018 title OAU-IFE Festival of Food and Identity, the Institute has added a new unit to its complex, namely the Wole Soyinka Museum, located in the former staff residence of Emeritus Professor Wole Soyinka, opposite the Vice Chancellor`s Lodge.