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Past Events


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:

Read the report on this Brown Bag session here.

September 2018 
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.