The creative and performing arts category can include the fields of architecture, ethnomusicology, and creative writing, as well as drama, film, music (composition and performance), dance and the full spectrum of visual arts media. The initial screening for all Fulbright applicants, both in the creative and performing arts and other disciplines, takes place within the US. Each subgroup will have its own National Screening Committee (NSC) made up of professionals in that area. The NSCs are looking for talent and potential and their members may not be experts in the student's country of application. Portfolios are of vital importance. If the NSC doesn't like the portfolio, it may not even review the application. If the portfolio passes muster, recommendations will be reviewed quite closely. Recommenders for arts applicants are asked to address the importance of the experience abroad in the applicant's development as an artist.
NSCs in the arts have no limit on the number of applications they can forward to different host countries for review. They can recommend applications from all people that they feel have the talent and potential as artists to make good use of the grant. The Fulbright Commissions in the host country will look more closely at things like preparation in foreign language (if applicable), knowledge of host country and evidence of appropriate background, viability of the project, etc. In the host country screening, the artists are rolled into the general applicant pool. Most countries do not reserve grants for artists.
While a creative or performing arts proposal does not always require the level of specificity required of a humanities or social science research proposal, you must address the same basic points: when and where you wish to do the project, what resources you will have available to help you do it, and, perhaps most importantly, why you wish to do it. You must be able to state clearly why it is imperative for you to be abroad to carry out your project and why it is important to your development as an artist. Remember that, even if your primary purpose while you are abroad is to create, there is always a research element that needs to be identified and articulated persuasively. Studying light and color, viewing museum or gallery works, attending concerts, and visiting sites all can constitute research for this sort of application. Students should be able to speak to that element of their project and may find that there is clear overlap between the defining the research component and explaining the necessity of being abroad to carry out the project. It is important that a student know enough background information in their subject area as it pertains to the host country to be able to present an intelligent proposal. Please refer to the information in the section on Academic Grants.
Potential problem points:
- Language Preparation: Most countries require that you have basic skills in their language so that you can have interactions with nationals of the host country in their language, even if your working language will be English. Some countries, including France, Italy, and Austria, will not consider applicants without strong language skills. Others will provide additional training for Fulbright grant recipients. Again, please check the Fulbright website for further information.
- Affiliation: Applicants in the creative and performing arts, like other Fulbright applicants, must have an affiliation within the host country. This may be with a university, an institute, or, in some cases, with an individual, gallery, or group, but it is an important part of the application. Generally a university affiliation is preferred.
Some countries are more receptive to applications from creative and performing artists than others. There is a list of those countries on the Fulbright website. Please check the country profiles to make certain you are applying to country that will welcome artists.
WU Fulbright Committee members are happy to advise applicants and offer feedback and insight on their projects as they develop. Fulbright Program managers can do so as well, and may be uniquely suited to comment on which countries are most welcoming to certain projects or where you should look for affiliations.