December 5, 2023
Join the Oral History, Food Justice and Music Making (OJAM) research team led by Nasra Mohamed and Honor Ford-Smith at the launch of our song Food is the Language and our community publication Grow it! The Story of the Black Farmers Collective. The launch will be held at 11:30 am at EUC Lounge on Tuesday Dec 5th. Below are the details of the event
July 31- August 4, 2023
Intermediate Music Campers from CMST created layers of original sounds as part of new Modular Synth workshops led by Helen Carswell researchers, Kurt Thumlert and Jason Nolan.
July 24-28, 2023
York Music welcomed students from Community Music Schools of Toronto to the Nick Nurse Foundation Summer Jazz and Groove Lab. Sponsored by the Helen Carswell Chair, CMST students had the opportunity to explore a range of musical styles including: Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Gospel, Hip-Hop and the blending of musical traditions from around the world.
June 27, 2023
CMST teams up with Sun Ra Arkestra for a music making, collaborative event in Ada Slaight Hall @ Daniel’s Spectrum. Generously sponsored by The City of Toronto and The Daniels Corporation – this was a special free event reconnecting members from the legendary jazz ensemble the SUN RA ARKESTRA (see www.sunra.com) with CMST students (and alumni). The evening began with a workshop for CMST students and finished with a community feast.
June 16, 2023
Community Music Schools of Toronto at Jane and Finch hosted their End of the Year recital. Helen Carswell researchers Diane Kolin, Aida Khorsandi, Michaela Pnacekova and Michael Palumbo also presented their research as part of live performances with the students and interactive workshops post-concert. For more information and to RSVP, visit the CMST website here.
June 16-18, 2023
Helen Carswell researcher, Diane Kolin, presented as part of the Children, Youth and Performance Conference at the Young People’s Theatre in Toronto. Diane presented her research on “Accessibility in Music”.
May 5, 2023
Helen Carswell Chair, Amy Hillis, and Director of Community Music Schools of Toronto, Richard Marsella, presented at the Inaugural Conference of the Music & Health Research Institute. As part of their paper, “Mapping the Relationship Between a University and Community Music School”, they discussed the origins of an endowed, community-university partnership and shared their unique perspectives in a discussion of the partnership’s challenges, successes and continued evolution. Their presentation reflected on how to build an ideal relationship between researchers and community partners that has sustainable alignment between research topics and research needs. They were also joined by Helen Carswell researcher, Diane Kolin, who shared her research project titled “A Discovery of Adaptive Instruments” as a case study from the first five years of the partnership’s existence.
April 20, 2023
Helen Carswell Chair, Dr. Amy Hillis, worked with the students at the Vernon Community Music School.
March 27, 2023
Helen Carswell Chair, Dr. Amy Hillis, led workshops with the intermediate and junior students of Sistema Toronto at Yorkwoods Public School in the Jane and Finch neighbourhood. Students created their own compositions together as a class using drawings, colours, and their own descriptive words which resulted in two world premieres!
March 25, 2023
Helen Carswell researcher, Diane Kolin, and Helen Carswell Chair, Dr. Amy Hillis, presented as part of York University’s Graduate Music Students’ Association’s Symposium, “Forward Motion”. Diane presented her research on “Disability in Music Education” and Amy discussed “Music Therapy verses Community Music” as part of a panel with music therapist, Melissa Tan. This event was open to the public and free to attend in person (on campus) or virtually. Complete details here.
February 15, 2023
Community Music Schools of Toronto hosted a virtual recital, celebrating Black Art & Culture.
February 7-9, 2023
The Helen Carswell Chair presented the 2nd annual Community Music Symposium titled “New (Afro)beats!”. We were thrilled to welcome our keynote speaker, Silvastone. Workshops and presentations took place both at York University and in the Jane and Finch neighbourhood:
Feb. 7 & 8: Song-writing and recording workshops with youth in the Jane and Finch neighbourhood and members of Tired of Talking.
Feb. 8 @ 1-2pm @ York University (ACE 373): Silvastone shared his story and led a discussion on how Afrobeats can be a vehicle for social change and community empowerment. He talked through his personal journey and how his distinct Afrofusion genre represents this journey and has grown with his experiences. Silvastone spoke about how his lived experiences have developed his desire to promote positivity within music and how he uses this to empower young people from underrepresented backgrounds in his local community.
Feb. 9 @ 10-11am (ACE 245): “Music in the Community” explored Silvastone’s work in the community, including his White Hut Studios, and issues with funding and accessibility. Silvastone led an interactive discussion with York students on how to make music making accessible to people of diverse backgrounds and experiences.
January 28, 2023
Community Music Schools of Toronto at Jane and Finch presented their winter student recital!
November 15, 2022
Dr. Allan Carswell was awarded the 2022 Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Toronto (AFP). The Helen Carswell Chair in Community-Engaged Research in the Arts, the Allan Carswell Chair for the Public Understanding of Astronomy, the Helen Carswell Research Chair in Dementia Care and a spokesperson for the Helen Carswell STEAM Program and the Carswell Scholars Program in Lassonde were honoured to attend this momentous event.
November 4, 2022
Helen Carswell Chair, Amy Hillis, presented at Elevate, the 2022 Conference presented by the Ontario Music Educators’ Association. She presented a paper titled “Contemporary Composers in Community Music: The Power to Give a ‘voice’ to Marginalized Peoples and Deepen a Community’s Identity”.
October 22, 2022
Students from Community Music Schools of Toronto at Jane and Finch had a field trip to the Cinema and Media Arts department at York University’s School of Arts, Media, Performance and Design. They had the chance to watch the videos they created with Helen Carswell researchers, Jamie Whitecrow, Sharon Hayashi and Barbara Evans. Learn more about their creative video project titled “Programming youth media arts via sight, sound, and storytelling modules” here.
October 29, 2022
Helen Carswell researcher, Pratik Gandhi, led a collaborative event with elementary and secondary students from the Jane and Finch neighbourhood and York Music. Students from Community Music Schools of Toronto and other secondary schools around the GTA had the opportunity to make music creatively alongside York Music students with guest composers, Kevin Day and Cait Nishimura. This event was free for all participants and took place from 1-4pm on York University’s campus at 83 York Blvd.
July 17 & 20, 2022
Helen Carswell Chair, Amy Hillis, presented at the 35th International Society for Music Education (ISME) World Conference. Amy presented a lecture-recital titled “Identity in Music of Marginalized Communities” and a paper titled “Contemporary Composers in Community Music: The Power to Give a ‘voice’ to Marginalized Peoples and Deepen a Community’s Identity”.
July 12, 2022
Helen Carswell Chair, Amy Hillis, visited the summer camp titled “Music Explorers” at PEACH led by Community Music Schools of Toronto at Jane Finch. As part of her visit, she gave an interactive, kid-friendly concert for the campers to explore the violin.
Helen Carswell researcher, Patty Chan, presented a snapshot of her Helen Carswell project titled “Cultural Connections through Music” as part of the Children, Youth and Performance Conference. The presentation was delivered in an online format (a complete schedule can be found here.) This conference is held in partnership with York University.
The Toronto Chinese Orchestra under the direction of Helen Carswell researcher, Patty Chan, presented a concert in collaboration with students from the Community Music Schools of Toronto. This concert began at 8pm at the PC Ho Theatre in the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto.
June 24, 2022
Helen Carswell Chair, Amy Hillis, led a panel discussion with CMST Director, Richard Marsella, and Jane & Finch Program Coordinator, Vanessa Chase, as part of the Children, Youth and Performance Conference. The discussion was delivered in an online format (a complete schedule can be found here.) This conference is held in partnership with York University and Young People’s Theatre in Toronto.
Helen Carswell researcher, Sophie Bisson, also presented a snapshot of her Helen Carswell project titled “Black Opera: A Showcase of Black Opera Companies, Works, and Artists” at 11am EST.
June 2, 2022
Helen Carswell researcher, Sophie Bisson, presented a paper at the MUSCAN annual conference titled “Black Opera: A Showcase of Black Opera Companies, Works, and Artists”. Session info and complete schedule here.
May 31, 2022
Helen Carswell Chair, Amy Hillis, presented at the MUSCAN annual conference hosted by the Canadian University Music Society. Amy presented a lecture-recital titled “Contemporary Compositions and their Power to Give a ‘voice’ to Marginalized Peoples”. Session information and complete schedule here.
May 27-29, 2022
Presented by Laurier University in collaboration with the Helen Carswell Chair, the Mel Brown Festival and Symposium celebrates Black heritage in the Waterloo Region and focuses on the legacy of epic blues musician Mel Brown. This multi-event project includes public events took place in Waterloo and Kitchener, Ontario including performances by York Music’s Oscar Peterson Jazzmobile. The project seeks to examine historical and contemporary systemic racism, the colonialist curriculum within academic institutions. In recognizing the inequities for students of Black and marginalized communities, the symposium explored pathways towards equity for entry into higher learning institutions where the music of their cultures, their achievements, and their creativity are recognized, honoured and celebrated. The festival seeks to spotlight and create a historical understanding and a working knowledge of various genres of Black music through live music presented by Black artists, musicians and spoken word. The festival showcased local, regional, and international Black artists who traditionally are underrepresented in concert venues in southern Ontario.
The Mel Brown Festival and Symposium is funded in part by a SSHRC Connection Grant.
March 26, 2022
Helen Carswell Chair, Amy Hillis, gave an interactive, kid-friendly concert for children in palliative care with pianist, Meagan Milatz as part of Ottawa Chamberfest’s Palliative Care initiative. This initiative is presented in partnership with the Roger Neilson House, a hospice for pediatric palliative care on the grounds of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). This program shares music with children at the House on a bi-weekly basis.
March 13, 2022
Helen Carswell researcher, Sophie Bisson, presented her project titled “Black Opera: A Showcase of Black Opera Companies, Works, and Artists” at the University of Toronto’s Graduate Music Conference. Sophie kicked off the “Blackness in Music” session from 2:45-4:15pm EST. View the full program here and find the Zoom links here. All are welcome to attend virtually, free of charge.
February 17 & 18, 2022
The inaugural Helen Carswell Community Music Symposium: “Inclusive Music-Making with Creative Ensembles”
featuring members of the Helen Carswell Research Team and keynote speaker, Dr. Phil Mullen. Read more about the symposium here.
When: Thursday, February 17 and Friday, February 18, 2022 (detailed schedule below)
Where: Virtually via ZOOM. For Day 1 (Feb. 17) sessions, register here. For Day 2 (Feb. 18), see “Programme Day 2” below for session-specific ZOOM registration links.
Presentation and Workshop topics include:
- “What is Community Music?”
- “Inclusive Music-Making and Creative Starting Points”
- “Role Modelling, Representation and Community Bands”
- “Cultural Connections through Music”
- “Creative Ensemble Workshop”
- “Inclusive Music Pedagogy”
- “Strategic Approaches to Inclusion and Community Music”
- “Making Music with Children and Young People with Challenging Behaviour”
- Virtual performances by students from the Regent Park School of Music (RPSM)
January 29, 2022
Helen Carswell Chair, Amy Hillis, gave an Adapted Concert with pianist, Meagan Milatz as part of Ottawa Chamberfest’s Adapted Concert series. Presented in partnership with the Lotus Centre for Special Music Education, these concerts are inclusive, accessible and sensory-friendly. They welcome children and people with sensory sensitivities, on the autism spectrum, or with other considerations that would benefit from visual aids, storytelling and a safe community space.
January 27-29, 2022
Helen Carswell Research Assistant, John Drinkwater, attended SphinxConnect 2022, a conference hosted by the Sphinx Organization in celebration of their 25th anniversary. The longest-standing convening dedicated to diversity and inclusion in classical music, this conference welcomed musicians, industry leaders, educators, funders, diversity advocates, and administrators with 70+ speakers participating in over 20 sessions designed to inspire and ignite action and spark collaboration. Check out one of their sessions titled “Dare to Impact” below. Their full video library is here.
October 28, 2021
Helen Carswell Research Associate, Karen Cyrus facilitated a workshop with a team from York Region District School Board titled “Collaborating for Culture Change: Working Together in Service of Canadian Students of African Descent” at their Virtual Equity Symposium, 2021.
October 22, 2021
Helen Carswell Research Associate, Karen Cyrus, and Munjeera Jefford presented a workshop at the Newfoundland and Labrador Music Educator’s Association (NLMEA) Resonate 2021 conference.
July 7, 2021
Helen Carswell Research Associate, Karen Cyrus, and the Helen Carswell Chair, Amy Hillis, presented at the 2021 Virtual PASMAE-ISME conference.
July 5, 2021
Helen Carswell Research Associate, Karen Cyrus, and Munjeera Jefford presented at the 2021 Virtual PASMAE-ISME conference.
June 25, 2021
Helen Carswell Research Associate, Karen Cyrus, and a team from Regent Park School of Music presented at the Children, Youth and Performance Conference. The conference schedule can be found here and tickets for the conference can be purchased here.
June 3, 2021
Helen Carswell Research Associate, Karen Cyrus, and former Helen Carswell Fellow, Karen Burke, presented at the 2021 MUSCAN conference.
May 16, 2021
Helen Carswell Chair, Amy Hillis, joined The Hammer Band‘s Virtual Party. Violin students from the Jane and Finch neighbourhood performed and learned new musical skills together with teachers Moshe Hammer, Ross Inglis, Praise Lam and Brian Baty.
May 6, 2021
Helen Carswell Chair, Amy Hillis, led a workshop with Sistema Toronto students about living, Canadian composers of colour which included her performance of Moto Perpetuo by Dinuk Wijeratne. Amy also worked with the Sistema Honours Orchestra string students on their arrangement of Piazzolla’s Libertango.
April 19, 2021
“Community Music Organizations: Playing through a Pandemic”
Hosted by York University’s Helen Carswell Chair in Community-Engaged Research in the Arts, this public webinar featured a panel of representatives from community music organizations in the Jane and Finch neighbourhood and city of Toronto. Our panel included Wendy Jones of the Pan Fantasy Steelband, Lucas Marchand of RPSM- Jane & Finch, Andres Tucci Clarke of Sistema Toronto, and Bryna Berezowska of the Nai Choir. All four community music organizations have adjusted their programming to be delivered online throughout the pandemic. Panelists discussed both their challenges and solutions for virtual teaching, learning and engagement. This was an opportunity for Toronto-based community music organizations to share their experiences and to discuss strategies for continued social growth. Access an archived recording of the discussion here or visit our webinar page here.
March 22, 2021
Helen Carswell Chair, Amy Hillis, gave a virtual presentation on BIPOC composers followed by a string masterclass for the students of Strong Harbour Strings, a community music organization based in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
March 22, 2021
Helen Carswell researcher, Munjeera Jefford, presented a second, more individualized Professional Development session to RPSM faculty titled “Incorporating the Funds of Knowledge Strategy into Lesson Plans”.
March 16, 2021
Dr. Honor Ford-Smith, a Helen Carswell researcher, presented “Carrying Food, Music & Memory” at Miijim: Food as Relations, a series of conversations presenting Indigenous, Black and People of Colour food scholars, growers, artists and advocates who gathered virtually across Canada.
This conversation brought together professor and author Honor Ford Smith, musician Beny Esguerra, and growers Jacqueline Dwyer and Noel Livingston, founders of Black Farmers and Food Growers Collective, to explore how intergenerational knowledge is immersed in food cultures and carried across borders to Toronto. Through dialogue and improvised performances, the speakers interwove stories with the multiplicity of rhythms found in Toronto’s diverse communities.
What labours of memory sustain the nurturing and transformation of this knowledge across generations? What forces attempt to destroy their significance and with what consequences? This session launched the new project “Oral Histories, Music-making and Food Justice,” an initiative that aims to recover local oral histories of food cultures through contemporary musical and sound explorations, in search of caring acts of intergenerational transfer, collaboration and food justice.
Access an archived video recording of event here.
March 10, 2021
“Building Pan African Repertoires to disrupt Anti-Black Racism in Music Education”
Hosted by York University’s Helen Carswell Chair in Community-Engaged Research in the Arts, this public webinar featured a panel of educators, performers and advocates for increased diversity and representation in music. This roundtable discussed incorporating Black/pan-African music in teaching, program building, and performance. Our esteemed panelists included Brandyn Lewis, Wendy Jones, Darren Hamilton, and Karen Cyrus.
Questions for the discussion included: How do you incorporate Black music in your teaching, program building and/or performance? In what ways do you think we can collaborate on increasing Black representation as a local and global community of practice? What is the best way to integrate new repertoire with existing curriculum objectives? We are assuming that students might want to learn about their culture, is that always true?
Access an archived recording of the discussion here or visit our webinar page here.
February 22, 2021
Helen Carswell researcher, Munjeera Jefford, presented a Professional Development session to RPSM faculty titled “How to use the Funds of Knowledge Strategy for Music Education”.
December 2, 2020
The Helen Carswell Research Associate, Karen Cyrus, gave a presentation on “Pan-African repertoires” to a working group on GTA anti-racism in music classrooms.
August 6, 2020
The Helen Carswell Chair, Amy Hillis, joined RPSM’s Virtual Open Mic. Access RPSM’s complete Virtual Open Mic YouTube playlist here.
July 7, 2020
The Helen Carswell Research Associate, Karen Cyrus, gave a presentation on “Community Music School Structures” to a delegation from Northern Caribbean University.
December 5, 2019
On December 5, members of Uzo Anucha’s research team from YouthREX presented a webinar titled “Striking A Chord: The Power of Music Programs for Young People.” Helen Carswell Chair, Karen Burke, along with RPSM staff and a former student from RPSM, spoke about the impact of RPSM’s music programs. This webinar also included presenters from other community music programs who gave rich accounts of the impact of their programs. There is much to learn about the impact of community music program by watching this webinar; it may be accessed here.
November 8, 2019
“Black Music in music education: repertoire, representation and courageous conversations”
Karen Cyrus, Karen Burke and Salah Wilson presented an academic research poster titled “Black music repertoire and representation” at a conference hosted by the Ontario Music Educators Association (OMEA). Access a recording and poster of the presentation here. A copy of the presentation’s abstract can be found here.
September 19, 2019
Members of the Carswell Research Team and RPSM met with members of Research Impact Canada at Daniels Spectrum in Regent Park, Toronto. They discussed and answered questions on the Helen Carswell research team experience.
September 3-6, 2019
RPSM Professional Development Workshops: Members of the Helen Carswell Research Team facilitated sessions at RPSM’s professional development workshops. They provided valuable information to help RPSM teachers improve their teaching practice. The workshops presented included:
- September 3: “Trauma-informed pedagogy” by Cathy Pavlik; Cathy discussed how to identify signs and symptoms of trauma in children at different development stages.
- September 5: Positive Youth Development by Uzo Anucha and Tanika McLeod; Members of Uzo’s research team from YouthREX presented a 2-hour workshop on critical youth engagement. They explored the benefits and barriers to equitable youth engagement, tools to assess and support youth-adult partnerships, as well as “practice-able” ways to facilitate equitable space for authentic youth engagement.
- September 6: “Multilevel group-piano classes:: management, methods, and materials.” by Karen Cyrus; Karen discussed tools and strategies to navigate three challenges of teaching multilevel piano classes.
- “Taiko” by Mila Mendez
August 22, 2019
The Helen Carswell research team of Karen Cyrus, Karen Burke, Evelyn Amponsah and Sam Tecle presented a paper titled “Equity through community music programming: barriers and bridges to resources and representation,” at FESI 2019 Dismantling the Barriers to Education hosted by York University. The abstract for this paper can be found here.
July 8 – August 9, 2019
York University hosted the RPSM Summer camp.
April 5, 2019
RPSM and Helen Carswell executive members participated in a panel at CRAM titled “Renegade Research: Partnering with Communities for Change.” CRAM brought the city’s universities together for one night when every university in Toronto opened their doors and “unleashed” novel research and big ideas to the public. The goal of the event was to bridge the gap between research and the public by inviting people from around the GTA to participate in a free night of new ideas. The first learning festival of its kind in Canada, CRAM was packed with innovative, interactive and entertaining events for the keen and curious. The website for the CRAM event is here. Read the report of this event here.
March 18, 2019
Helen Carswell Research Associate, Karen Cyrus, presented a PD workshop at RPSM titled Black history and related repertoire.
February 6, 2019
The RPSM Community steel pan program began at Monsignor Fraser. Read more about this Helen Carswell project led by Salah Wilson here.
November 20, 2018
The Helen Carswell Chair hosted ‘Brown Bag’ Sessions at the TD-York Community Engagement Centre including the following presentations:
- Cathy Pavlik-Griffen: “Trauma-informed pedagogy”
- Joel Ong: “Data mapping of location and navigation of the transportation systems to support possible ‘hot spots’–intersects for music making”
Read the report from this Brown Bag session here.
October 31, 2018
The Helen Carswell Chair hosted ‘Brown Bag’ Sessions at the TD-York Community Engagement Centre including the following presentations:
- Salah Wilson: “Steelpan programming”
- Evelyn Amponsah/Eden Abraham: “Best practices for serving racialized communities”
Read the report on this Brown Bag session here.
Professional Development Workshop given at RPSM by Cathy Pavlik on “Trauma-informed pedagogy”
July – August, 2018
York University hosted the RPSM Summer camp.
November 4-5, 2017
The Helen Carswell Chair led a Youth Gospel Choir workshop at Daniels Spectrum, a community cultural hub in Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood.
August 24, 2017
Karen Burke, Richard Marsella, Karen Cyrus gave a workshop titled “Equity through Community Music Programming: Barriers and Bridges to Resources and Representation” at the Faculty of Education Summer Institute (FESI). Read about the workshop here.
Before an audience of passionate educators, and celebrated with three stellar music performances, York University Professor Karen Burke was announced as the inaugural Fellow for the Helen Carswell Chair in Community Engaged Research in the Arts. Read about the event and performances here.
July 17- August 18, 2017
York University’s Department of Music at the School of AMPD hosted the RPSM Summer camp. This included 4 summer programs (9 am to 4pm) over 2 weeks titled “Music Technology,” “Feeling the Beat,” “Build a Band” and “Glee.”
May 3, 2017
A collaborative performance was given by the RPSM Choir, members of the York University Gospel Choir (YUGC) and Jully Black for an RPSM Gala event
November 16, 2016
York professor emeritus Dr. Allan Carswell announced a $2 million gift from the Carswell Family Foundation to establish the Helen Carswell Chair, a new research chair in “Community-Engaged Research in the Arts” as part of a partnership between York University’s School of AMPD and the Regent Park School of Music (RPSM). In addition to the new research chair, the funding will support RPSM’s collaboration with the Jane-Finch community and a new partnership between York and the RPSM to strengthen community music programming, research and impact. Read more about the announcement here. At the official announcement of the Carswell endowment, performances were given by the RPSM choir with Liberty Silver at including a performance of the song “Grateful” written by Karen Burke.