St. Bonaventure University

News, Publications & Research

Jandoli Institute launches music and social justice project

Oct 15, 2020

The Jandoli Institute will explore the connection between music and social justice in a new project named “Sharp Notes, Sharp Thoughts.” The project will begin with an online roundtable discussion on Monday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. The Zoom link for the session is

“Music is a powerful force for social change,” Jandoli Institute Executive Director Richard Lee said. “With ‘Sharp Notes, Sharp Thoughts,’ we will explore connections between music and social justice – past and present to build a better future.”

The institute developed the project in collaboration with the Department of Media, Communications, and Visual Arts at Pace University.

“Our partnership will make it possible to study the relationship between music and social justice through different lenses,” Paul Ziek, the department’s chair, said. “Through the perspectives of scholars, musicians, journalists and others, we will show how music has been – and can continue to be -- a positive tool for social change.”

The Oct. 19 roundtable will be followed by a series of monthly discussions on the third Monday of the month. Each session will begin with a presentation by one of the project team members.

In addition to Lee and Ziek, the project team includes:

  • David Freeman, a musician, producer and cultural arts educator. Freeman is a faculty member at Pace University’s Department of Media, Communication and Visual Arts and Director of Education for Brooklyn Raga Massive. He also serves on the board of The Association of Teaching Artists.
  • Alex R Gillham, an assistant professor of philosophy at St. Bonaventure University. Gillham’s research focuses on topics in ethics, ancient philosophy and philosophy of religion. He is particularly interested in the connection between music, identity and morality.
  • Stephen Wilt, an archivist at Media Transfer Service in Rochester and host of a weekly podcast, Street Corner Talking. As station manager and music director at 88.3 WSBU-FM, he interviewed professional musicians, celebrities and athletes. They included Stephen Stills, Judy Collins, Louis Anderson, Doug Flute, Dr. Oz. Jimmy Page and many others.

Lee is an associate professor in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University. He writes and comments regularly on the intersection of music and public policy. During his career as a journalist, he covered rock ’n’ roll for several years before establishing himself a political reporter.

Ziek is an associate professor in the Department of Media, Communications, and Visual Arts at Pace University, where he teaches strategic and organizational communication in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. 

Additional information is available on the Jandoli Institute website.

The Jandoli Institute serves as a forum for academic research, creative ideas and discussion on the intersection between media and democracy. The institute, accessible at, is part of the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University.