Center for World Performance Studies 2016-2017 Year in review


After over 15 years in the International Institute, Center for World Performance Studies (CWPS) moved across the street to the Residential College in fall of 2016. The RC's interdisciplinary approach, paired with an emphasis on creativity and community based learning, is a perfect fit and expands our opportunities for undergraduate engagement.

2017 Graduate Certificate Cohort

CWPS welcomed nine new students to the Graduate Certificate Program, pictured here with Professor Mbala Nkanga:

  • Kiran Bhumber, Media Arts
  • AJ Covey, Percussion and Chamber Music
  • Laura-Ann Jacobs, Educational Studies
  • Ruby MacDougall, Asian Languages & Cultures
  • Ellen Myers, Southeast Asian Studies
  • Sidney Schiff, Dance
  • Adam Shead, Improvisation
  • Fabiola Torralba, Dance
  • Alyssa Wells, Musicology


Master Indian percussionists T H Subash Chandran and Ganesh Kumar were in residence with a five-piece ensemble in April, 2017. The residency included several class visits, a percussion master class in the RC Keene Theater and a free public performance at Rackham Auditorium. The final concert also featured faculty and alumni from the U-M Department of Jazz & Contemporary Improvisation.

Professor Nachiket Chanchani hosted the ensemble during his History of Art class at the Fine Arts Library:

"...some edifices that we have been studying this semester were designed for Carnatic musical performance, so we were eager to hear it. Two, we wished to begin testing a postulation that the rhythms of South Indian temple towers are relatable to the structures of Carnatic melodies. Third, as a class have been interested in thinking through issues of continuity, innovation, and creativity. With its emphasis on improvisation and its habilitation of the violin, Carnatic music provides a lens to consider and reflect upon such issues."

Diversity conversations through the framework of Performance Studies:

CWPS hosted a series of events to engage the community in conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion through the theoretical framework of Performance Studies and experiences in the arts. After opening the series with a faculty-led panel discussion in December, we invited TedX Fellow and U-M alum Dr. Kyra Gaunt, PhD Ethnomusicology, to lead the session Black Music Matters: On the Power of Shared Song Leading and Silence in Mass Protests in Feburary 2017.


CWPS supports student groups and faculty to bring high quality programming to the U-M campus. In 2016-2017, CWPS helped to support:

  • Islamic Dance Drama | U-M Gamelan Ensemble
  • Yahuba Residency | LACS
  • Shiva Shakti: Evening of Indian Classical Music and Dance | SPICMACAY
  • Galvanizing Social Justice Through Comics: A Talk By Joe Sacco | Conflict & Peace Initiative
  • Step Afrika! | U-M Greek Life
  • Malaysian Cultural Night | Michigan Malaysian Students Association
  • Make a Joyful Noise! | Michigan Gospel Chorale
  • A Night For Us | Artists of Color Ann Arbor
  • I Killed The Cow | Larissa Marten
  • Shaka! Our Africa | African Student Association
  • Ann Arbor Palestine Film Festival
  • Hip Hop Summit 2017 | Hip Hop Congress


The following faculty received CWPS funding for summer research in the field of Performance Studies:

  • Kelly Askew, Post socialist Poetics: Articulations of Populist Politics in Tanzania
  • Amy Chavasse, Collaboration and Creation with Tanz Tangente in Berlin and Krakow
  • Frieda Ekotto, Vibrancy of Silence: Artistic Performance of Lesbians in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Anita Gonzalez, Black and Irish Maritime Performance
  • Mike McGovern, Culture and Contestation: Non-violent Challenges to the State by Ethnic Minorities in Myanmar
  • Mbala Nkanga, Memory and the Exploration of the Past in African Theatre and Performance
  • Damani Partridge, Filming the Future of Detroit/Filming the Future from Berlin: African Perspectives
  • Stephen Rush, Summer Study of Carnatic Performance in Mysore, India
  • Emily Wilcox, Choreographing Transnational Asia: Roots and Branches Tour


We are pleased to announce that Dr. Michael Gould will assume the Directorship of CWPS beginning in June, 2017. Dr. Gould is a Professor of Music at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan and has received international recognition as a performer and scholar in the field of drumset, contemporary percussion performance and pedagogy. He has performed and given clinics all over the world. Dr. Gould is both a faculty member of the Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation Department in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance and the Residential College (College of Literature, Science and the Arts) at the University of Michigan.

Michael has released over 100 educational percussion videos through He has also composed and performed music for a wide range of ensembles and venues from the Münich Opera and Ballet to National Public Radio. He has had unique collaborations with engineers, material scientists, painters, poets, athletes and business professionals. Currently, he is working with Henry Pollack, the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize on an installation entitled A World Without Ice. Gould’s book for the iPad is entitled the Drum Diaries and available worldwide through the iTunes store. He is also the winner of the University of Michigan Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize for 2013 for his integrated use of technology for the Drum Diaries. Michael is currently on the Board of Advisors for the Percussive Arts Society.

Pictured here: Dr. Gould performing in Cuba with Los Muñequitos de Matanzas

Thank you for your continued support.

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Photo Credits: Peter Smith Photography, Roger Hart

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