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What do you get when you mix rock and roll, rap, jazz, techno, and house music with a student’s desire for intercultural integration and a professor’s “action research”?

At Lafayette, that combination equals Just About Making Music, a student group spearheaded by Hiroyuki Kiyono ’06 (River Edge, N.J.), a double major in international affairs and government & law, and Yoshihiko Ariizumi, assistant professor of foreign languages and literatures. Ariizumi describes it as “an exceptionally diverse music band that features a long-awaited, desirable, intercultural relationship.”

He will give a presentation on the group and his related research noon Wednesday in the Gendebein Room of Skillman Library. Lunch will be provided for the first 25 people to arrive.

Ariizumi is author of the book Five Empowering Principles of Action Research that Lead to Successful Personal and Professional Development, published last year by University Press of America (Baltimore, Md.). His presentation will include:

  • A slide show accompanied by “Fearless,” the group’s original song,
  • A definition of action research and its five empowering principles,
  • Reflection on the developmental process of JAMM,
  • A look into related theoretical issues in the literature,
  • Analysis of JAMM’s accomplishments,
  • Statement of successful factors,
  • Discussion of a locally formulated, strategic plan to increase deep, intercultural integration.

The seeds of JAMM were planted more than three years ago when Kiyono approached Ariizumi about wanting to bring together students representing different cultures.

“We had a series of discussions about the difficulty we face between two different cultures,” says Ariizumi. “We did a series of small projects, and one result was that he initiated creating a music club, JAMM. Then based on his intercultural skills, he tried to integrate students who usually are segregated on campus. They combined and the result was phenomenal. They are very happy and engaged in creating music. About 150 people attended a performance because the music is so interesting.

“My research is to review what we have done and then invite discussion so that we can export this idea from a single music group to the larger Lafayette community in order to bring similar, deeper integration among different cultural groups.”

An anonymous survey of JAMM members drew thoroughly positive feedback about the group, such as this response: “It was more a safe space/hang out [where] people felt comfortable to create and invent. It was experiencing something very rarely felt on the campus if you were not part of the majority, a comfortable place. [In] every other club I’ve been to I felt like an outsider the first couple of meetings, but never at JAMM. Everyone’s always interested and respectful, but most importantly, passionate about music of all kindsWe jumped head first into all projects and didn’t beat dead horses discussing them, which gave the group an ‘improv’ feel, but also always kept it interesting.”

The event is part of a series of presentations on works in progress sponsored by the Academic Research Committee. Other seminars this semester will be presented by Robert Allan, professor of psychology, and Joseph Shieber, assistant professor of philosophy.

Categorized in: Academic News