Next Level

International Hip Hop Exchange Seeks U.S. Artist-Educators

Next Level, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State, Meridian International Center, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is seeking American hip hop artist educators to participate in an international exchange program.In collaboration with the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and U.S. Embassies abroad, Next Level partners with youth in underserved communities through workshops, jam sessions, and public performances.

Team Thailand - Dancer In 2018-2019, Next Level will take teams of hip hop artists to 7 countries to promote musical and cultural exchange, entrepreneurship, and conflict resolution. Each team will spend 2-3 weeks teaching and performing in the host countries. Participants receive an honorarium ($200/day) and per diem; travel and lodging costs are covered through the program.

Applicants must be:

  • Outstanding performers in one or more of the following: MCing, beatmaking, DJing, hip hop dance, writing/graffiti art, or beatboxing
  • Experienced hip hop teachers
  • Able to commit to traveling abroad for 2-3 weeks in one or more countries, as well as a brief Washington, DC, orientation in June or July 2018 (date TBA)
  • U.S. citizens at least 21 years of age
  • In possession of or able to obtain a U.S. passport (green cards are not sufficient to participate)

Selection criteria:

  • Artistic excellence and experience
  • Teaching ability and experience
  • Communication skills
  • Potential to use music, dance, or art to promote peace and cultural exchange
  • Potential to thrive as cultural diplomats

Applicants should provide the following:

  • 1-2 page cover letter explaining your suitability for the position, relevant experience, and teaching philosophy, as well as an explanation of how you would use your art to help promote peace and cultural exchange
  • 2-page résumé
  • 3 references with contact information (no recommendations should be sent at this time)
  • Links to 2-3 creative work samples (each 5 minutes or less). High-quality videos of live performances preferred; audio-only recordings are acceptable, but at least 1 sample should be video. Please note, applicants should be the sole or primary artist in the work samples.

Submission Information:

Completed applications and supporting materials are due by Dec. 15 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

If accepted, applicants can expect to be notified by March 2018.

Residencies will take place between summer 2018 and spring 2019.