From Farzaneh Hemmasi:

Research for “Sound and Music in Kensington Market” began in 2017 with the inspiration of University of Toronto’s Ethnography Lab‘s Kensington Market Research Project led by Professor Joshua Barker, in combination with the university’s Ethnomusicology Department. With Prof. Barker and the Ethnography Lab’s support, I began the project with a team of graduate students in the ethnomusicology program. Original student ethnography team members were M.A. students and recent graduates Jennie Horton, Jardena Gertler-Jaffe, Dennis Lee, and Ryan Persadie.

In 2018, I received an Insight Development Grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to support the graduate student research component. This project is entitled Toronto Music City: The View from Kensington Market and is a collaborative research project that takes the City of Toronto’s 2016 “Music Strategy” rollout as an opportunity to investigate the intersections and divergences of cultural policy, new musical developments and already-existing musical scenes, businesses, and musicians. Current student researchers on this project are Dennis Lee (MA ’18, doctoral student), Jon Wu (MA ’19), Helen Abbott (MA ’20), and Kristen Graves (doctoral student).

In 2020, I was honoured to receive a Connaught Community Partnership Research Award to fund a two-year ethnographic project called Keeping Kensington “Kensington:” Value, Affordability, and Culture in Toronto’s Kensington Market. I’m lucky to be working closely with anthropologist and Ethnography Lab Senior Researcher Andrew Gilbert on every aspect of this project. 

From Jennie Horton:

The Kensington Market Sound and Music Research Project (KMSMRP) is a research group formed by ethnomusicology students and faculty under the Kensington Market Research Project (KMRP) headed by Dean Joshua Barker and Dr. Emily Hertzman. This research project is part of University of Toronto Anthropology’s Ethnography Lab. Research materials collected will be part of the KMRP’s Kensington Market archive, and the KMSMRP presented their research at the Ethnography Lab in 2018.

The KMSMRP is headed by Farzaneh Hemmasi (Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology) and includes current and former graduate students Dennis Lee (MA candidate Ethnomusicology), Greg Wilson (MA candidate Music Technology and Digital Media), Jardena Gertler-Jaffe (MA Ethnomusicology, 2017), Jennie Horton (MA candidate Ethnomusicology), and Ryan Persadie (MA Ethnomusicology, 2017).

Though each researcher is working on individual projects, they explore many common themes and topics—including how Kensington Market, its residents, businesses, and visitors are impacted by larger patterns of development, real estate market shifts, and cultural policy in Toronto; how the neighbourhood communities and music scenes situate themselves in relation to conceptions of Kensington Market culture and its history; how businesses in the Market are affected by Toronto’s economic and cultural development policies and how they interact with municipal government; and, investigating Kensington Market as an immigrant neighbourhood currently and historically.

The KMSMRP, which began in May 2017, carried on through the summer and is now manifest as a directed reading course led by Prof. Farzaneh Hemmasi. The collaborative nature of the project allows the group to share findings, read and discuss relevant literature, and provide insightful feedback on each other’s work. Through collaborative ethnographic fieldwork, each researcher has developed their own research projects as outlined below.

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