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Matthew Medeiros, a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto, takes a group of high school students on a tour of Kensington Market as part of the 2016 Ethnography Lab Summer High School Program.

The 2016 Ethnography Lab Summer High School Program was a great success! The program, which aims to introduce high school students from grades 10-12 to the practice of ethnography, kicked off on Monday, July 4th and ran until Friday July 8th 2016. During the course of the program, the students were exposed to lectures, workshops, and activities that explored how anthropologists and other researchers apply a holistic approach to creating an in-depth understanding of complex social and cultural issues in a modern, urban context.

elhsp schedule

The schedule of activities for the 2016 Ethnography Lab Summer High School Program

As part of a broader, longitudinal study that was started by graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in the Ethnographic Practicum: Metropolis course in the UofT anthropology department in 2014, the high school program centers its activities around Toronto’s dynamic and fascinating Kensington Market. Students are encouraged to both observe and participate in market activities during their visits in order to get a feel for the market’s everyday qualities and to think about a particular research question they might explore for a mini project.

The program schedule was designed and taught by Syndey Lang and Henry Lee Heinonen, two recent graduates of the undergraduate anthropology program at UofT. Their previous experience conducting ethnography in Kerala, India, and in Hong Kong respectively, prepared them for instructing students on the rigors and pleasures of conducting participant-observation, writing effective fieldnotes, and creatively mapping strategic locations.


Radical mapping of Kensington Market

The high school students, who expressed enthusiasm from the beginning, braved especially hot temperatures in the Toronto summer to venture into the market to collect their data, which they compiled into social media posts and a final “zine” project to be completed by the end of the week. One student created a video about the impressive changes that have taken place in Kensington Market, and another put together a sound recording of Kensington Market’s auditory atmosphere, a reflection of his interest in sensory ethnography. The students had a great time putting together their creative projects.

The students themselves hark from several high schools around the GTA, including Leaside High School, George Harvey CI, Bishop Allen Academy, Earl Haig Secondary School, York Mills CI, William Lyon Mackenzie CI, University of Toronto Schools, Senator O’Connor, and Blessed Archbishop Romero Catholic Secondary School. Many of them have historical and ancestral links to Kensington Market, including Matthew Medeiros, who has been involved with the Kensington Market Research Project since 2015, and Emily Hertzman, who has co-organized the high school program with Jessika Tremblay, the Lab’s coordinator.

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Professor Joshua Barker, the Director and founder of the Ethnography Lab, welcomes high school students to the program on July 4th, 2016. Instructors Henry Lee Heinonen and Sydney Lang sit to his left and right.

For more information about the program, please contact ethnography.lab@utoronto.ca or keep an eye on website updates for next year’s program announcements.