Music = Mutual Understanding
A component of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the Fulbright-mtvU Fellowship is a special opportunity for up to four U.S. students to pursue projects around an aspect of international contemporary or popular music as a cultural force for expression. Preference is given to creative projects that are conveyed in a dynamic fashion and are accompanied by a feasible plan.
Applicants are encouraged to consider all aspects of the power of music in developing their proposals. Along with the study of music in a specific cultural context, proposals will be considered in other music-related fields including music and social activism, music in learning, music and the community, and musical performance.
Applying: Applications for all countries where there is an active U.S. Student Fulbright Program are encouraged. The application cycle is open from November until March for grants in the following academic year. Application Deadline: March 1, 2013
2012 - 2013
Albulena Shabani, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee in 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Political Science, is investigating the repercussions of the 1999 Kosovo war and its effect on women in the region. Her focus is on women, music, and voice in Kosovo. She will be documenting songs and stories of war-time sexual assault survivors. By partnering with several Kosovo-based non-governmental organizations, she will also examine how women are using creative ways to share their stories through art. Shabani has a background in spoken word poetry, multimedia performance art, creative non-fiction, and film theory. Originally born and raised in Macedonia to an ethnically Albanian family, this project has personal meaning to her. As an immigrant who overcame struggles of self-identity and gendered expectations, Shabani hopes her project will help women of Kosovo do the same.
Jeff Roy, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles, will create a documentary about how members of the LGBTQIA community in India use music and dance to navigate tradition, modernity and globalization, in order to craft a contemporary, urban identity. Roy will base his work primarily in Mumbai, India's largest urban center, to investigate how music and dance constructs and negotiates identities as sites of resistance and self-affirmation within the context of social gatherings, political protests and religious rituals.
Katherine Cloutier will tentatively graduate from Michigan State University in 2014, with a Ph.D. in Ecological-Community Psychology focusing on Gender, Justice and the Environment. Her project aims to bring awareness to the prevalence of HIV in Barbadian youth by researching how they use music, dance and community-based performance in order to promote leadership and healthy sexual behavior. Working with students in six different schools in Barbados, Cloutier aims to facilitate change through dance4life, a global youth leadership movement. By creating community action performances in conjunction with local musicians, Cloutier’s orchestrated routines will include music, dance, and locally informed theatre in order to disseminate information on sexual health issues and promote youth activism.
Sebastian Modak holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and History from the University of Pennsylvania, where he also minored in Music and African Studies. Modak’s goal is to investigate how musicians in Botswana confront social issues like the country's AIDS epidemic. He will be focusing on the thriving pop music scene in the country’s capital, which centers around a unique brand of hip hop locally referred to as motswako. Modak aims to create a documentary from monthly webisodes that will illustrate his findings; he also aims to publish a mixtape that showcases local hip hop recordings and incorporates musicians from the United States, which would serve as a tangible testament to the power of cross-culture artistry. Besides documenting the current state of hip hop culture in Gaborone, Modak also aims to become involved in projects that use the arts as a force of social change. Prior to becoming a Fulbright-mtvU Fellow, Modak spent two years living in Cambridge, Mass. working as a writer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and playing drums in two Boston-based indie rock bands.
2011 - 2012
Kyle Inman, who obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Music and English Literature from DePauw University in Indiana, will work with Queen’s University of Belfast and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to highlight the powerful artistic steps Northern Ireland is taking to move past its troubled history and towards a more harmonious future. During her academic career at DePauw, she spread increased awareness of Northern Ireland’s culture and history through a Northern Ireland Awareness Week and the presentation of her thesis, “Portals of Truth: Musical and Literary Responses to the ‘Troubles’ of Northern Ireland.”
Lauren Knapp, who graduated from Grinnell College in 2006 with a Bachelor’s degree in anthropology and global development studies, will document how popular Mongolian female musicians in Ulaanbaatar are using hip-hop to address the issues of a rapidly urbanizing society in the young democracy. She will also work with the Mongolian Arts Council to establish a series of music camps for young women and girls. Since graduation, Lauren has taught in Nanjing, China, and worked for “PBS NewsHour,” where she contributed to the arts and music coverage.
Jennifer Saura, who graduated from Harvard University in 2007 with a degree in Social Studies and filmmaking, will travel to Argentina to document music culture in and around Buenos Aires. With the support of the University of Buenos Aires, and in collaboration with several Argentine bands, she will explore the influence of contemporary music on Argentine individual and collective identity. Since graduating, Saura has worked in the movie industry and publishing, and spent the last two years at The New Yorker.
Meja Shoba, a film production graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor’s degree in English Creative Writing from Colgate University, will travel to South Africa to film a documentary exploring the ways in which South African youth use local kwaito music as a vehicle to renegotiate cultural and social identity in post-Apartheid "New South Africa." She will collaborate with a local filmmaker, DJs, kwaito artists and elder musicians to illustrate how music reflects and articulates South Africa's political transition and social climate.
2010 - 2011
Karima Daoudi, who graduated from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois with a B.A. in Anthropology and Sociology in June 2009, will conduct her Fulbright-mtvU project in Dakar, Senegal, exploring the relationship between the thriving Dakar hip-hop scene and traditional Senegalese griot (musical storyteller) culture. She will work with hip-hop artists and griots, and will collaborate with Africulturban, a hip-hop based youth community center, to research how people use music to navigate tradition, modernity, and globalization to craft a contemporary, urban, African identity.
Yesica Hernandez, who graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Sociology and Film and Media Studies, will use her Fulbright-mtvU Fellowship to film a documentary on Afro-Peruvian music in Peru. With the help of Universidad Catolica, Yesica will document the role Afro-Peruvian music has had in ameliorating race relations and explore ways to introduce this musical genre to young people.
Akesha Horton, a doctoral student in Curriculum, Teaching, and Educational Policy at Michigan State University, will conduct research in hip-hop and new media in Australia. She will explore how hip-hop is used to help Australian youth become socially conscious, global and digital citizens at the University of Technology, Sydney, and community outreach centers in Western Sydney.
Lynne Stillings, who graduated from Connecticut College with a B.A. in Music and French in May 2009, will spend her Fulbright-mtvU year in Indonesia, examining the relationship between children's music and cultural identity. Working with the Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta, Lynne will create an after-school music program to encourage students to express their ideals, values, and social positions through music.
2009 - 2010