In line with the cardinal vision of deepening the culture of research and development initiative in the arts to its fullest form as envisioned in other well established universities in the world, one of Nigeria’s foremost patron and the highest art collector in Africa, Prince Yemisi Shyllon last year instituted The Prince (Engr.) Dr Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Professional Chair in Fine Arts & Design, Faculty of Humanities, University of Port Harcourt.
The professorial chair is the first of its kind in any Nigerian University’s Art department is chaired by Prof. John T. Agberia and assisted by other notable art scholars.
Briefing art writers about the importance of the professorial chair, the chairman, Prof. Agberia stated that the relevance of the thrust of the chair lies in its research targets for development purposes in the University of Port Harcourt in partnership with the donor and the society in general in any Nigerian University’s Art department where teaching and research are carried out.
Agberia also disclosed that in line with the vision and as part of plans to make sure that the masses benefit from the project the body has lined up activities for the 2013/2014 academic year.
Part of the programmes include; To organise an art workshop for secondary schools’ students in Rivers State and beyond with the aim to catch them young; Hold an annual Niger Delta secondary schools art and drawing competition; Organise a national conference with theme: Art and the question of professionalism in Nigeria. The conference is proposed to hold in August 2014.
The body will also orgainse an International Art Exhibition and Conference, the programme is slated for April – June 2014 at The Brunei Gallery, SOAS, University of London. Organise quarterly Art Exhibitions on specialised theme and organise a Legacy Lecture titled Collecting Art for Posterity in Nigeria: The challenges and Prospects. Set up a research journal entitled: Journal of Research in Art and Development.