“At the Global Crossroads: Cultural Pathways In Detroit and Beyond”

STAGE I SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS. Proposals presented as posters at the Rushton Undergraduate Conference in March 2017.

  • Alice Santana, “Global Traditions: Death Culture”
  • Andrew Smith, “Illustrated Symphonies: Reflections on Shostakovich through Painting”
  • Connor Tukel, “360 ̊ Detroit: A Novel Method of Exploring and Capturing Urban Culture”
  • Dominique Meah, “Immigration Revitalizing Former Manufacturing Boomtowns”
  • Ian Aufdemberge and Victor Shaw, “Kill Me But Don’t Love Me”
  • Kristin Courville, “We Dwell in Water: The Phenomenological Approach to Chora”
  • Luke Hodgson, “Morality: A Discussion on Local Perspectives Driven by Global Forces”
  • Mario Sulaksana, “’Detroit Unearthed’”: A composition in four movements”
  • Ray Souder, “Hamtramck Stories”
  • Waleed Vaid, “The Rise, Fall, and Ramifications of the Surti Community of Rangoon”

STAGE II SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS. Realized projects to be presented at an event in Fall 2017.

  • Connor Tukel, “360 ̊ Detroit: A Novel Method of Exploring and Capturing Urban Culture”
  • Ray Souder, “Hamtramck Stories” (UROP)
  • Kristin Courville, “We Dwell in Water: The Phenomenological Approach to Chora”
  • Alice Santana, “Global Traditions: Death Culture”

 Watch Paul Watkins of the Emerson String Quartet Perform at the Rushton Undergraduate Conference.



Wayne State University and The Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival are pleased to announce a research/creative project grant competition called "At the Global Crossroads: Cultural Pathways in Detroit and Beyond."

This competition is inspired by the upcoming world premier of "Shostakovich and the Black Monk: A Russian Fantasy" in the Detroit Film Theatre at the DIA on Saturday, June 17, 2017. The internationally acclaimed Emerson String Quartet, accompanied by an ensemble of seven actors, will weave the tale of Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich's 50-year obsessive quest to create an opera from "The Black Monk," Russian writer Anton Chekhov's theatrical chamber masterpiece about love, art, madness and freedom. Through music—including a complete performance of Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 14—we see Shostakovich's efforts over decades to retell Chekhov's haunting and heroic story of a writer struggling for his sanity, only to be sidetracked again and again by the composer's own struggle to survive as an artist amid the ever-changing imperatives of Stalin's Soviet state.

The performance of "Shostakovich and the Black Monk: A Russian Fantasy" brings together literature, music, theater, politics, and history, transforming a narrative of struggle and failure into one of triumph on the stage in Detroit. We invite students to participate in this event by exploring culture in the local and global contexts through research and creative projects. The development of these projects would take place in two stages, which would give students experience in creating and developing proposals and, for the most successful of these, producing a completed research project or public performance:

Stage 1 (Sponsored by WSU International Programs)

  • Students submit their ideas for projects based on the Project Guidelines below by February 20, 2017. All students who submit proposals will receive complimentary tickets to the festival’s central performance, "Shostakovich and the Black Monk: A Russian Fantasy."
  • 10 students (or groups of students) will be awarded $500 each to develop their proposals.
  • These students will present their completed proposals in the form of posters at the Rushton Undergraduate Conference on March 31, 2017 and at the DIA in May and June, 2017 during the various Black Monk Festival events.
  • 3-4 of these proposals will be selected for Stage 2.


Stage 2

  • The students (or groups) whose proposals are selected will receive $2300 each to conduct research or prepare a work of art or presentation.
  • These students will present their completed projects at a public event in Fall 2017.
  • One project will be funded by a UROP grant.


FINAL EVENT: Global Crossroads: Media, Culture, Politics

On September 21, 2017, the final event in the Global Crossroads was held. The four scholarship winners presented their exciting projects, Paul Watkins from the Emerson String Quartet performed, and Herschel Fink (Detroit Free Press), Saeed Khan (WSU), and Jack Lessenberry (WSU/NPR) participated in a panel discussion of the media today. All proceeds from the event will go to WSU study abroad scholarships. Photos are available on Flickr. A big thanks to Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, and especially its director, Maury Okun, for inspiring and assisting in the Global Crossroads events over the past year. We are also grateful to OVPR for funding the event, and to Jerry Herron of the Honors College for help in organizing it.

Global Crossroads scholarship winners after making their presentations on September 21.



  • Only Wayne State University students are eligible to apply.
  • Students can work individually or in collaborative groups.
  • Acceptable formats for final projects are flexible and include research papers, artwork, and performances. Students are encouraged to be creative and original.
  • All papers must be in English.
  • Projects should explore culture in the local and/or global arenas. Topics can include, but are not limited to:
    • An exploration of the life and/or works of Shostakovich and/or Chekhov.
    • Art, music, literature, architecture, and other cultural forms created by foreign-born artists in the Detroit area/the United States, by Americans living abroad or by Americans in collaboration with foreign nationals.
    • International works of art, music, literature, architecture, etc. which resonate with issues, themes, or cultural works in Detroit/the United States.
    • Biographies of individuals whose lives reflect the intersection of culture and the global arena.
    • Historical events commemorated by cultural monuments with a global component.
    • Works of art or literature and musical or theatrical performances exploring any of the above.
  •  Submission: Students should submit the title of their project and a 250-300 word abstract outlining their idea for a research paper or creative project here by midnight on February 20.

     It is recommended that you briefly describe your idea, explain how you will go about achieving it, and why it is important. If they will be working with a WSU faculty member on this project, they should include his/her name and the nature of their involvement in the abstract. Faculty involvement is encouraged, but not required.

Questions? Do you want to discuss your idea before submitting it? Contact Laura Kline at af7585@wayne.edu.

The Global Crossroads Grant Competition and the performance of "Shostakovich and the Black Monk: A Russian Fantasy" are part of the Black Monk Festival, which is organized by the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival and The WSU Russian Program. The festival has been made possible by generous support from Gershenson Trust and Wayne State University's Office of International Programs, Honors College, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Fine, Performing, and Communication Arts, Office of the Vice President for Researchthe Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), Global Studies Program, and Humanities Center.


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