Fulbright U.S. Student Program

Fulbright-mtvU Awards


2015-2016 Competition Deadline: February 27, 2015 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time


Up to four Fulbright-mtvU awards will be available. Projects should center around research on an aspect of international musical culture, and should focus on contemporary or popular music as a cultural force for expression or change. Applications will be accepted for any country to which there is an active Fulbright U.S. Student Program for Academic and Arts fields. Projects should center around research on an aspect of international musical culture, and should focus on contemporary or popular music as a cultural force for expression or change. Preference will be given to graduating seniors and recent graduates.
Preference will be given to creative projects that are conveyed in a dynamic fashion and are accompanied by a feasible plan. In addition to presenting unique projects on music as a global force for mutual understanding, applicants must submit a Documentation and Outreach Plan describing how they intend to share their activities with their peers during their Fulbright year abroad through mtvU print, broadcast and/or online mediums. The Documentation and Outreach Plan form must be uploaded as part of the Fulbright application. Upload instructions can be found in the application.
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.
Preference will be given to graduating seniors and recent graduates who meet all host country requirements, including those related to language, affiliation and program start dates. Please refer to the Participating Country Summaries for details.

Application timeline:The 2015-2016 Fulbright-mtvU Online Application will be accepted between November 1, 2014 and February 27, 2015.

Please note: although you may begin your online application at any time, IIE cannot accept submitted applications for the Fulbright-mtvU program prior to November 1, 2014.

All supporting academic credentials, including academic transcripts and letters of reference must be submitted in the Embark Online Application System by the competition deadline.

Please carefully review the Fulbright-mtvU Application Components and Application Tipssections, as they differ from those of the traditional Fulbright grant.

 

Fulbright-mtvU 2013 Grantees

Phil Babcock
School: Tufts University
Major: Ethnomusicology
Country Visiting: Ghana

Phil Babcock holds a Master of Arts degree in ethnomusicology from Tufts University. Babcock’s project focuses on the creation of an online record label devoted to the digital distribution of music from popular musicians in Northern Ghana. Along with his collaborator, Sheriff Ghale—a popular reggae artist based in the north—Babcock’s goal is to provide a platform that allows North Ghanaian musicians an opportunity to be heard nationally and internationally. The capital city of Accra, on Ghana’s southern coast, is the country’s current entertainment industry epicenter, separated from the north both physically and religiously. For aspiring musicians in the north, it is very difficult to be heard beyond a local audience without moving to Accra and facing all the challenges that come with relocation. The creation of this online record label will allow northern musicians international visibility and distribution without forcing them to uproot their lives. Babcock’s project will also include organizing concerts in the northern capital of Tamale to provide an opportunity for local musicians. Babcock’s Fulbright-mtvU grant is an extension of his master’s thesis fieldwork, which focused on the life, music, and worldview of Sheriff Ghale. Before moving to Boston to pursue his master’s degree at Tufts, Babcock lived in his hometown of Seattle, WA, working at a record store and trying his best to learn how to mix live bands.

 

Melinda Reyes
School: Georgetown University
Major: Regional and Compatative Studies
Country Visiting: Turkey

Melinda Reyes received a Bachelor of Science degree in Foreign Service with a focus on conflict and identity in Russia, Turkey, and Eurasia from Georgetown University in 2013. She will base her research in Istanbul, Turkey’s de facto cultural capital, as she examines how musicians specializing in non-traditional, hybridized genres navigate identity, and how the city’s musical landscape as a whole engages with evolving conceptions of citizenship and belonging in Turkey. Reyes will take into special account the experiences of women and musicians in jazz and electronic music, whose particular genres in the Turkish context tend to integrate multiple cultural influences. Reyes will document her findings through podcasts and video clips featuring local artists whose work creates dialogue and offers unique perspectives on the intersection of the self, the city, and music’s ability to foster social change.

 

Garrett Rubin
School: Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester
Major: Classical Voice Performance and U.S.-Middle Eastern Cultural Diplomacy
Country Visiting: Jordan

Garrett Rubin is a 2013 graduate of the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, where he studied both classical voice performance and U.S.-Middle Eastern cultural diplomacy. Rubin will work with the Jordanian National Music Conservatory to create a music outreach program for Iraqi refugee children living in Amman. This program will aim to provide youth affected by displacement with an opportunity to use music-making as a means for developing confidence, expressing emotion, and building self-worth. Additionally, Rubin will document his project by creating a multimedia songbook for American music classrooms. This web-based music education tool will include recordings and sheet music from program classes in Amman, as well as original video footage documenting the lives and stories of participants and their families. Prior to his Fulbright-mtvU grant, Rubin worked closely with the Shropshire Music Foundation, an organization that implements music education programs for children living in countries affected by armed-conflict. He also served as the co-director of the Vancouver International Song Institute’s Arts of Conscience Symposium at the University of British Columbia.

 

Sara Skolnick
School: Boston University
Major: Political Science
Country Visiting: Colombia

Sara Skolnick holds of Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Boston University. While in Boston, Skolnick spent several years cultivating her skills as a DJ, event producer, multimedia journalist and advocate for hybridized, digital music as a tool for self-representation. These activities hold special significance for Skolnick because she comes from an Ecuadorian-Russian immigrant family. Based in Bogotá, Skolnick will investigate the significance of Internet-driven, low-barrier access to digital music production, and the opportunities for artists to elevate their own culture and radicalize tradition. Her Fulbright-mtvU research focuses on digital productions creating class-transcending, intergenerational Colombian soundscapes pairing regional musical traditions with international club sounds. Skolnick will also create a mixtape series and bilingual webseries to develop a digital archive of Colombian producers and the surrounding movement. Lastly, Skolnick will coordinate a workshop series in collaboration with a local NGO, La Lengua de mi Barrio, which offers free music production programs as tools for artistic agency. The programs with La Lengua de mi Barrio will benefit youth leaders who are using music to transform their communities through nonviolence.

Fulbright-mtvU 2012 Grantees

Albulena Shabani
School: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Major: English, Political Science
Country Visiting: Kosovo

Albulena Shabani
, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in 2010 with a dual Bachelor’s degree in English and Political Science, hopes to investigate the repercussions of the 1999 Kosovo war and its effect on women in the region. Since the war, many women in Kosovo have been raped, have been shunned by their families and are looked down upon by their communities. By partnering with the Kosovo-based musical group, Lira, an all-women’s singing choir, Shabani hopes to develop an open-mic series for women, while creating a film based on her experiences and research. 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

School: UCLA
Major: Ethnomusicology
Country Visiting: India

Jeff Roy, who is in the Ph.D. program of Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles, will create a documentary on how members of the LGBT community in India use music and dance to navigate tradition, modernity and globalization, in order to craft a contemporary, urban identity. Roy will base is work primarily in Mumbai, one of India’s largest urban centers, to examine 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

School: Michagan State University
Major: Ecological-Community Psychology
Country Visiting: Barbados

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

School: University of Pennsylvania
Major: English, History
Country Visiting: Botswana

Sebastian Modakholds 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 form a collective group of musicians in Botswana who are committed to battling the country’s HIV/AIDS epidemic, in conjunction with local NGOs and health care professionals. 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 experiences and research; he also aims to publish a compilation album that combines local hip hop recordings with those from musicians in the United States, which would serve as a tangible testament to the power of cross-culture artistry. 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.

Previous Grantees - 2011-2012

Kyle Inman, who obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Music and English Literature from DePauw University in Indiana, worked 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, documented 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 also worked 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, travelled 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 explored 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 and Creative Writing from Colgate University, Meja travelled 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 collaborated 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.

 


Questions

Contact: Susan Muendl - smuendl@iie.org or +1.212.984.5366

I am a....

Current U.S. Student

United States citizens who are currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs are eligible to apply.  All applicants enrolled in U.S institutions must apply through their home campuses.  Find the Fulbright Program Adviser on your campus.

If you are an undergraduate student you would be eligible to apply in your senior year.  If you are a graduate student you are eligible to apply to most countries as long as you will not have a PhD degree on the application deadline.

Non-U.S. Student

If you are a non-U.S. citizen looking to applying for a Fulbright grant to study in the United States you will apply to the Fulbright Program for Foreign Students in your home country.

U.S. Citizen but not a Student

If you are a U.S. citizen, hold a bachelor’s degree, and do not have a PhD degree then you could be eligible for certain awards within the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.  Please review the program summary for the country where you would like to apply.

Artist

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program welcomes applications in the creative and performing arts.  Arts candidates for the U.S. Student Program should have relatively limited professional experience in the fields (typically 5 years or less) in which they are applying.  Artists with more experience should consider applying for Fulbright Scholar Program.

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U.S. Professor

If you are a U.S. citizen and a professor at a U.S. institution and are interested in applying for a Fulbright Scholar Award you will need to apply through CIES.

Non U.S. Professor

If you are a non-U.S. citizen and a professor interested in applying for a Fulbright Scholar Award to the United States you would need to apply through the Fulbright Commission or U.S. Embassy in your home country.  Find out more information on the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program.