School of Cities / Event

Sounding out, bringing in: Bridging institutional and community spaces through music at SoundLife Scarborough

This interactive presentation, featuring five core student and faculty members of the SoundLife Scarborough (SLS) Team at the University of Toronto Scarborough, examines the roles that community music-making can play in broadening interaction and engagement between the space of the university and that of the wider community. Using SLS programming as a case study, the team will share structural considerations, lived experiences, and lingering questions about promoting well-being, creating access, and engaging in reciprocal relationships through participatory music-making.


Navshimmer Kalra joined SLS in 2022 as a Research Assistant and later assumed the role of Events and Programming Coordinator. They also facilitate ‘This Uke’s for UTSC’ sessions as part of SLS’s weekly programming. With a background in vocal performance, Navshimmer started their musical journey in their hometown of Delhi, India where they participated in choirs and bands. At the University, they have been actively involved in various music organizations and student clubs, thus facilitating musical programming at UTSC.

Kate Marshall is a work-study student with SLS. Through her multidisciplinary studies, she has consistently observed the pivotal role music and the arts play in nurturing healthy individuals and communities. Having experienced most of her musical opportunities through the Scarborough public music education system, Kate takes pride in being a part of an organization that empowers the broader Scarborough community to develop strong, lifelong relationships with music and each other.

Laura Menard is a Toronto-based educator, musician, and academic who grew up benefiting from the rich public school music tradition in Scarborough. Laura is deeply committed to the accessible, participatory approach enacted at SLS, where she serves as the Coordinator. A longtime TDSB high school teacher and conductor-educator with VIVA Singers Toronto, Laura is currently a course instructor at OISE and Brandon University. Laura also serves as Coordinator of the Creative Communities Commons (CCC) @ School of Cities.

Laura Risk is Assistant Professor of Music and Culture in the Department of Arts, Culture and Media at the University of Toronto Scarborough, with a graduate cross-appointment at the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto. Her research proactively builds out public archives in order to amplify unheard voices and critically interrogates the notion of tradition, with a focus on traditional music historiography in Quebec. She has published in the Journal of the Society for American MusicEthnomusicologyMUSICultures, and Critical Studies in Improvisation, as well as The Globe and MailThe National Post, and Strings Magazine. She is also a fiddler and in 2024 her CD Traverse was awarded Quebec’s prestigious Prix Opus for Album of the Year in the category Traditional Québécois Music.

Lynn Tucker is Associate Dean Experiential & Global Learning and Associate Professor, Teaching Stream in Music and Culture at the University of Toronto Scarborough. She is Co-Director of SoundLife Scarborough, the centre for music and community engagement at UTSC, and has research interests in community music, avocational music-making, and leadership. Engaging students in lifelong music-making, regardless of career path, is at the forefront of her work and was recognized with a Canadian Music Educators’ Association Excellence in Leadership Award.

About The Creative Community Commons (CCC) Speaker Series  

 An affiliated branch of the School of Cities, the CCC exists to provide a node of open participation and the free exchange of intellectual resources and expertise among academia, the arts sector, community leaders, civil society, the private sector, and the public sector who share interest in:  

  • Arts and culture as a sector within every human community  
  • How the arts and culture sector interact with the other sectors in our communities (like the environment, housing, immigration, public health, and transportation)  
  • Connecting with others working and creating spaces for connection. 

Please contact Laura Menard ( for more information on this or other CCC events.