Nicholas Hockin, Director of Arts and Culture in West Africa Program

Nicholas Hockin was born 1960 in Ottawa, Ontario, to a musical family. He has traveled and lived all over the world with his musical talents. At the age of 10, he began drumming in Ontario. In 1976 at the age of 16 he traveled to Switzerland and France as part of a French immersion program. Following that experience, he settled in Quebec City for four years, before briefly moving to Martinique and India for six months each. In 1999, he began traveling to Mali to research music. He currently lives in Toronto, with his wife and daughter. In addition to his roles at Antioch University, he is a member of a Yale University-based interdisciplinary research team writing a work on the D’mba masked dance traditions of the Baga Sitem people of northwestern coastal Guinea.


Nick earned a BFA in South Asian Music Performance from York University in 1989 while working as a percussionist, accompanist, composer and teacher in the Toronto, Ontario area. He later attended Wesleyan University, CT, for graduate studies in Ethnomusicology from 2001 to 2007. The working title of his PhD dissertation is “The Rise of the Djembe in Bamako, Mali.”

Antioch University

Currently, Nick serves Antioch University at the Yellow Springs, OH, location as Director of Arts and Culture in West Africa study abroad program for Antioch Education Abroad. Also at AU, Nick is the Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology.

As an educator, Professor Hockin teaches the following courses:

  • Director of Arts and Culture in West Africa Program
  • Teacher of ASSC 350 Traditional and Modern Perspectives on Malian Culture
  • Teacher of AARTS 210 Aesthetic Traditions of Mali
  • Supervisor of ALLC 150B Introductory Bamanankan
  • Supervisor/Teacher of ALLCF 160 Introductory French
  • Supervisor of ALLCF 260 Intermediate French
  • Supervisor of LLCF 360 Advanced French
  • Supervisor of AARTS 310 Apprenticeship/Arts Practicum

Teaching methods

Professor Hockin integrates political experience with his classroom work by challenging his students to take a critical approach to the colonial encounter and its enduring influences as evidenced in the economic, social, and political foundations of the Malian nation-state. He also encourages students to consider the third world development/aid paradigm and it ramifications on daily life in Mali. Previous term paper titles for Traditional and Modern Perspectives on Malian Culture 2010 include: Poverty in Mali; Musings on Gender Roles: Cultural Problem or Cultural Asset?; Globalization in Mali; Maternal Mortality in Mali; Cooperation – Malian Style (a work examining the prevalence and varieties of co-operative enterprises in Bamako, Segu, and Djenne); and The Ideal Malian Woman: A Critical Reflection on Ideals of Beauty.

While studying in Mali, Professor Hockin and his students live and apprentice with Malian artists and artisans. They engage in cross-cultural exchanges on a daily basis, which incorporates learning experiences for both the Malian host families and their student guests.

“In 2010, one of our students chose to write a term paper on his involvement in partially funding and working on the re-building of a three-room adobe (mud brick) schoolhouse that had been destroyed by extreme rainfall. We currently have a midwifery student who brought a significant amount of free medical supplies to her mentor for use in her clinic. Some past students maintain contact with their host-mentors, attending to the sale of their artisan works in the US, arranging art exhibitions, or producing recordings that sell internationally,” Professor Hockin said.

Arts and Culture in West Africa has entered into a partnership with the Parc National du Mali, providing assistance in contacting and hiring performing and visual artists to offer workshops and performances at the Parc. Professor Hockin is the main organizer of the Arts and Culture in Mali annual end-of-semester concert and arts exhibition in Bamako, serving 150 people, and exposing a featured local performance troupe to an audience of fellow artists and arts administrators that may improve their fortunes in the future. Arts and Culture in Mali co-organizes an annual International Student Forum at the National Arts Institute of Mali, providing an opportunity for 35 arts students and professors from America and Mali to meet and exchange ideas.

Contact Nick Hockin by email at:  for more information.

(Pictured) 2011 Arts and Culture in Mali group in Djenne