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SMTD Students Launch Website to Foster Collaboration


With the goal of increasing the ease and frequency of collaborations with their peers, students at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance have created a new website that they describe as a "Craig's List for gigs," titled CollabConnect

The site, under development for a year, was created by seniors Gabrielle Lewis (music theory) and Zac Lavender (composition). Both are members of the Collaborative Student Assembly (CSA), the student governing body of SMTD, housed in the office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The project is the first step in answering the call of the CSA mission statement which is to foster creative interdisciplinary collaboration between SMTD students. 

"As the CSA's vice president of students, I very much wanted to provide our students with a resource that will make their undergraduate experience even more meaningful and productive," said Lewis.

Emblematic of the strong entrepreneurial spirit that is both encouraged and regularly demonstrated at SMTD, the site evolved in response to student demand for a fast, reliable, and convenient way to identify fellow students to form music ensembles and a vast spectrum of inter-disciplinary collaborations involving, music, dance, theatre, performing arts technology, and more.

CollabConnect provides a simple, easy-to-use interface that lists dozens of categories in the performing arts--from violinist, composer, and singer to costume designer, sound technician, and publicist. Students seeking collaborators, for projects or potential gigs, simply check off the types of artists, technicians, or administrative partners they seek. With the criteria in place, they create an "ad" that is entered into the database and searchable by category.

The site is only accessible to SMTD students, faculty, and staff at this time. However, there are plans to develop it for cross-unit collaboration in the near future, to support the second part of the CSA mission, which is to promote creativity and collaboration among the broader university community. Eventually the CSA hopes to also create a public portal connecting SMTD performers to paid gigs.

Lewis and Lavender developed the features and design of the website with SMTD's information technologists and were guided by Melody Racine, professor of voice and associate dean of academic affairs. 

"I am thrilled that I can go online and see the website categories Zac and I first penned in October 2013," said Lewis. "It is my hope that SMTD students will breathe their creative energy into this website and reap the benefits it is sure to present for years to come." 




past news

September 2017
March 2014

U-M UpstART Festival Begins 03/31/2014

Students Present "Wall-to-Wall Theatre Festival" 03/27/2014

First-Ever SMTD Chamber Music Competition Launches April 5 03/27/2014

Doctoral Fellow Named MTNA Distinguished Composer of the Year 03/26/2014

Theatre Student Lands Major TV Role 03/25/2014

Elizabeth Batiuk (ethnomusicology) has been chosen as a fellow at the Sweetland/Rackham Dissertation Writing Institute for spring 2014 and James McNally (ethnomusicology) received a summer and academic year FLAS for the study of Portuguese.    03/17/2014

Musicology graduate student Elizabeth McLain has been awarded a prestigious Lurcy Fellowship for research in France during the 2014-2015 academic year.   03/14/2014

December 2013

SMTD students Zoe Kumagai, Stephanie Aboukasm, and Adam DesJardins are among students profiled in an LSA article about the "Michigan in Washington" program, in which students intern at various Washington, DC organizations and businesses, including the National Symphony Orchestra, the Kennedy Center, and the Washington Performing Arts Society.    12/10/2013

October 2013
August 2013

Evan Zegiel, a sophomore who studies with Fritz Kaenzig, was the First Place winner in the Tuba Student division of the 2013 Leonard Falcone International Euphonium & Tuba Festival.     08/21/2013

July 2013

Professor Ashley Lucas and three Theatre & Drama students are engaged in an intensive exchange program with UniRio in Rio de Janiero, Brazil this summer, where they are blogging about their experiences in UniRio's prison arts program and more.   07/12/2013

November 2011
August 2011
June 2011
Current Student News
DMA Piano Students Perform with Ann Arbor Symphony more
2018 SMTD Concerto Competition Winners Announcedmore

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower