Rose Oluronke Ojo-Ajayi

Postdoctoral Fellow in Art History

Rose Ojo-Ajayi is an artist, writer, educator and historian whose work is primarily based in Comparative African Diaspora history, with a focus on the production of visual art created in African American, Black British and West African societies. Her research is also centered on social movements during the 20th and 21st centuries that includes the Black Power/ Black Arts Movements in the United States and Britain as well as the Independence period of West African nations.

Rose earned her Ph.D. from The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London in 2016. Her doctoral thesis is on migration and the assertion of African Diasporic identities in the work of artists of African descent based in the United States and Britain in the photographic work of Carrie Mae Weems, Joy Gregory, Albert Chong, Renee Cox, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, and Yinka Shonibare.

Rose Ojo-Ajayi has also written text-based works as a collaborative project with visual artists along with writing for publications such as the Studio Museum in Harlem’s STUDIO magazine, curating and co-curating exhibitions that feature the work of artists of African descent in New York City and London, UK. Currently she is investigating the representation of Black American and Black British identities in the contemporary work of first and second-generation African immigrant artists.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.