Student Workshops


A I Need a Dollar: Hip Hop and the Marketing of Rap

Cecil Dwyer

Many youth are fascinated with the glamorous lifestyle many hip hop artists portray. This workshop will bring to light issues of identity and power and address the notion that this profession is an easy option for acquiring great wealth. Students will critically analyze the information they are receiving in the media and investigate whether the profession as a hip hop artist is actually a lucrative one. They will also consider the types of hip hop that are being marketed to them and what the implications of this may be.

Students will examine the wealth of hip hop artists and the profitability of this career choice. They will interpret data, to investigate misconceptions about rappers' wealth and lifestyle. They will explore the process of creating, marketing and producing music with the aim of reflecting on the earnings of hip hop artists. Students will be challenged to critically explore and reflect upon the business nature of this music. They will demonstrate their understanding of the various inquiries presented in the workshop by producing an online infographic to be published on various social media channels.

B Mighty Uplift

Amadeus Marquez, Jamari Whittaker, Jordan Mullins, Monica Fernandes, Leanne McGuirk (Northbuck Canada Krump, Simply Swagg Dance Studio)

Our workshop will serve as a miniature version of our afterschool programs. Participants will engage in dialogue and reflection about the history of KRUMP and its roots and connections to a variety of social justice issues (equity, diversity, stereotypes, abuse against women, poverty reduction, etc.). Instructors will share some of their own experiences with one or more of these concerns and how KRUMP helped them not only cope/work through the situation they experienced, but provided an outlet for positive self- reflection and growth.

The second half of the workshop will explore the foundations and basics of KRUMP. Participants not interested in dancing will have an opportunity to explore one of the other aspects involved in a KRUMP performance/community (Mixing Music/DJing on our turntables, learning how to film and photograph dancers in action, editing short film clips to create promotional videos, etc.).

One of our instructors will film participants during with workshop so that those interested in learning how to edit film can assist in putting together a mini-video for the participants to have as a keepsake of their experiences (*film will only be distributed to participants if they all have a signed media release form).

C Ghost Dance

Danielle Koehler

The workshop will focus on indigenous hip hop as a transformative tool to engage, discuss and deconstruct notions of colonialism. The workshop centres on student-led inquiry in which concepts of colonialism are explored through the lens of students. Building on students prior knowledge, the song Ghost Dance will be used as a starting point to unravel the contemporary social injustices facing our indigenous people.

D Medicine Through Hip Hop

Classic Roots aka Joshua DePerry

In the Hip Hop Beat Composing Workshop participants are invited to compose different sounds and rhythms to collectively construct and produce a hip hop beat. During Participants will learn the step-by-step process from creating sound, implementing it into a digital audio workstation, and composing a song that participants can call their own.

Participants will arrive at a better understanding of the process of producing and composing electronic music and walk away with new skills and confidence to pursue this art form.

E Smart Pawns: How Hip Hop Thought Empowers the Grassroots

Michael Partis

Hip-Hop Thought (HHT) explores how through expressive culture, hip hop provides a framework for social analysis and participatory practices. HHT's strength is "intellectual democracy through collage." The workshop's first objective is to demonstrate how diversity, participation, and collaboration produces innovation. Workshop participants will learn how hip-hop culture engages history and STEM through source material. Finally, we will consider how HHT's key aspects are present in the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Activities include group exercises solving riddles and puzzles, and an exercise in "world-making." We will also explore how dance and beat-making, lend themselves to scientific inquiry.

F Ain't No Love: Hip Hop and Holistic STEM

Misha Abarbanel & Reza Hassanirad

Historically, both science and hip hop have been used to speak truth to power. To some degree they both still do, yet at the same time they've both become powerful forces that define culture. This workshop, which incorporates technology, discussion and debate, will invite students to inquire into the roles, functions, and methodologies of both science and hip-hop, identifying areas of overlap and areas of distinctness. Students will draw on their knowledge and experience to participate in critical conversations about science and hip-hop, about how science and hip hop form culture and inform identities, and about how people draw inspiration from and engage with each discipline. This workshop also invites students to reflect on how both science and hip-hop can create more positive change in the world, what that positive change might look like, and the role of a key ingredient in any positive change - love.

G EQ “Conversations About Equity”

Jordon Veira, David Delisca + (Spoke N’ Heard)

“EQ’ is a creative, educational series, situated at the intersection of entertainment and social awareness. The aim of EQ is to curate safe spaces and foster diverse conversations about equity, social justice and human rights, while pulling on the powerfully transformative legacies of hip hop, spoken word poetry, visual arts and black culture.

In the same way that an audio engineer raises or adjusts the 'EQ' level on the music he is mastering, our aim with this workshop is to raise the ‘levels’ of awareness and social consciousness of your youth participants. Spoke N' Heard Arts Educators will first Engage the youth audience through the art of Hip-Hop, freestyle and spoken word, and through the sharing of our stories. We educate through the exploration of equity, social justice and human rights, and how they are currently impacting our communities. We discuss the role that Hip Hop plays in addressing these issues, getting to the root of why they exist, and speaking truth to power in advocacy on behalf of those whose voices aren't given the same opportunity to be heard.

H Indigenizing and Decolonizing through Hip Hop

Joseph J-Rebel Hersco & Mahlkah Aweri (Red Slam Collective, Right To Play Canada, Zulu Nation North, Supernaturalz Crew)

This workshop is an interdisciplinary Hip Hop cultural arts experience designed to engage, inspire and inform urban youth through innovative play and inquiry. The workshop engages the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual self through the Four I’s Process: Inspiring 7 Generations Leadership, Indigenizing Hip Hop, Identity- Knowledge of Self, and Invoking Social Change. These 4 phases Indigenize Hip Hop and are used as the frame-of-mind for youth to confront and critically think about social justice issues impacting non-Indigenous and Indigenous communities.

As youth form personal connections with social justice issues explored through the Four I’s process, they are challenged to pursue their inquiries. Ultimately, the aim of this workshop is to create a learning cipher with the youth at the center that enables participants to engage meaningfully and take ownership over their own learning journey. This helps young people to discover and understand their interconnectedness to one another as co-existing Indigenous and non-Indigenous beings; paying homage to the common Indigenous understanding that we are all related and to the 7 principles of HipHop: Peace, Love, Unity, Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding.

I Kanye & Us | Ecological Exploration

Braxton Wignall

Kanye West is one of, if not, the most critical and thought provoking creative of the 21st century. Through his music students will be engaging with the tools and ideologies necessary for successful navigation of society an critical inquiry. Through a cross examination of music by Kanye West and its direct relationship to the Ecological Model of Society, students will gain an understanding of how our lives are not lived alone in a bubble, but overlap with other lives and various aspects of our own lives. Students will engage critical Hip Hop that challenges the dominant culture and be encouraged to think outside society’s boxes and create alternative approaches to adolescence and growing up while remaining true to themselves.

Students will use cell phones and digital media to engage with this workshop. Social Media is a powerful tool we need to "use and not let it use us." Kanye West stresses self-love and self-confidence. Through the critique and cross-examination of his music, students will be inspired and pushed to share this knowledge and find true learning and education in their everyday media use and music engagement.

J Read2Rap

Roger T & Kevin Cee

R2R Round Table stimulates learning through creative means and open lines of communication. R2R Round Table is a series of discussions captured through podcasts and/or live radio broadcasts. Participants are encouraged to voice their concerns, thoughts and views about the history /origins of Hip Hop culture and how it impacts their lives. Please visit to hear our past shows and to learn more about us.

K Hip Hop Tech

Tesfai Mengesha, Success Beyond Limits Youth

This workshop will explore the history of Hip Hop culture focusing on its humble beginnings. Connections will be made between the resources needed to participate in Hip Hop culture and the historical context of the 1970s and 1980s. The history of DJing and MCing will be examined with a focus on the role technology has played in shaping Hip Hop culture. This presentation will highlight the creative technical innovations ushered in by Hip Hop practitioners with respect to scratching, mixing and sampling. The tech used to create hip hop music has been novel and innovative. The wide ranging accessibility of hip hop as a genre – both in the content and the culture – speaks to its intrinsic appeal for social justice. To that end, attendees will be called on to interact and contribute throughout the presentation.

L Hip Hop: A Voice for Social Justice

Philip Campbell and Jim Wells

In this workshop, participants will look at the ways in which hip hop music can be used to speak truth to power.

Participants will critically examine the lyrics of one song and engage in a short discussion to investigate how music can be used as a form of non-violent protest. They will also have the opportunity to write collaboratively and record their own songs addressing social justice issues in their own lives. The songs created by participants will be uploaded to the Blackboard Labs website where participants will be able to access them and share them with others.

M Using Hip-Hop to Cultivate Science Genius

Edmund Adjapong & Chris Emdin

Science Genius is an initiative focused on utilizing the power of hip-hop to engage urban youth who are traditionally disengaged in science classrooms by meeting them on their cultural turf. Students will create science-themed raps based on topics aligned with the curriculum and designed to meet both Common Core Learning Standards and criteria outlined in the current iteration of the Next Generation Science Standards.

We will present stories of past Science Genius BATTLES winners, but most importantly we will walk students through a workshop, that will provide them with the content knowledge and tools needed to create their own science based rhymes. To conclude the workshop, students will have an opportunity to battle one another in true Hip-Hop fashion, with the goal of crowning Science Genius for the city of Toronto.

N Open Beats

James Cordiner

Participants will build a simple drum machine using the Arduino and open source software. They will learn how electronic components work and how code can be used to trigger sounds and keep time. They will also discover the limitless possibilities provided by free (FOSS) software such as Arduino, Processing and Python and explore opportunities to build and code their own music production hardware and software.

O Expressing Sacred Geometry through Poetry & Rap

The Real Sun

This workshop will connect Spoken Word Poetry and Rap to Math through an exploration of the topic of sacred geometry (i.e. the Flower of Life and the Merkaba).

We will explore the four elements of Hip-Hop and them to ancient societies with a specific focus on The Flower of Life - a symbol found scribed on walls around the world. The Merkaba is connected to the heart. Students will be guided to write from their heart poetry/rap that speaks to feelings of connectedness, sacredness, love, or issues that block these things. The class will end with a cypher to share their words.

P From "Hall of Fame" to "Dark Sky Paradise"

Mustefa Jo'shen, Rusul Alrubail

What song speaks to your identity? Who you are in life? Who you want to be? Who do you look up to? Who inspires you? Makes you dream? Well, chances are you and that artist have more things in common than you know. Our minds speak louder than words about our choices. This workshop will empower students through inquiry and problem-solving skills to design a life plan in relation to specific songs they feel passionate about. Students will reflect, design, learn and share while jamming to some beats.

Q 99 Problems - But Life Ain't One

Kayode Brown

The workshop address healthy relationships, stress, peer pressure and alternative ways of coping with them. The workshop is based on understanding hip hop culture and its history. It utilizes the language, music and ideals of the genre to create resilience, build character and promote peer-to-peer conflict resolution. We will also explore the impact of stress and its affect on the brain.

R If Y'all Really Like to Rock the Funky Beats: An Introduction to Beat Making,

Sampling and STE(A)M Applications of Music Production

Dr. Elliot Gann (Today’s Future Sound)

This workshop will introduce students to the fundamentals of beat-making and music production to help them create their own beats (instrumental musical compositions). No previous experience is required. Mathematical, Scientific, and Technological aspects will be highlighted, as well as career applications and uses of music production, as illustrated by Dr. Gann and Today's Future Sound's applications of beat making. We will define the term and technique of “sampling.” Students will be given a brief demo in FL Studio on the basics of drum programming, tempo, loop-creation as well as sample-chopping, sequencing, structure, and composition. The end result will be a fully-sequenced, finished, collaborative beat made by the group, and a concrete, hands-on introduction to sampling/programming theory and practice. Some basic music theory (scales) may be taught. STEM as well as entrepreneurial aspects and applications of beat making will be discussed such as beat battles, licensing/placement, and uses in mental health and educational careers.