Deepening a years-long partnership, SMTD has committed two years of operational funding to the U-M Center for World Performance Studies (CWPS) to support the expansion of the center’s programming. In addition to SMTD’s funding, the U-M Arts Initiative has also committed new funding to support the center.
The center’s primary activities fall into four overarching categories: It hosts two residencies that bring in artists from around the world for performances and classes for students at all levels; funds six faculty fellows annually for summer research; co-sponsors numerous campus performances; and offers a graduate certificate in performance studies via the Rackham Graduate School. In addition to these activities, numerous talks, performances, and events are also coordinated by the center throughout the year.
Recent events included an interactive performance called Ancestral Haiku, a visit from Swedish folk quintet Jaerv for a performance with The OK Factor, and an Open Jam, and the U-M Moon Festival 2022, showcasing traditional music of China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong on the Baird Carillon.
Central to all of CWPS’s programs is a focus on developing a community of scholarship that enhances undergraduate, graduate, and faculty experiences at U-M. Students pursuing the graduate certificate take an introductory course housed in the SMTD Department of Theatre & Drama. The center funds the students’ summer research, and then they conclude with a capstone course where they present their work. Faculty fellows are also encouraged to present their research, and partnerships are formed between faculty and graduate students to form a hub of performance studies scholars.
“CWPS is one of the only centers of its kind in higher education,” shared Michael Gould, CWPS director and professor of music at SMTD. “We offer the opportunity to observe the art of performance from the outside, from a scholarly point of view.”
Further, performance studies degrees at other universities tend to fall exclusively within graduate education. Through CWPS, U-M is providing exposure to this field of scholarship to students at all levels. The center is also working to bring more nonwestern performances to the school, broadening and enhancing student education in performance studies.