Students in the Spotlight: Lloyd McArton

September 23, 2020 by School of Cities Staff
"Students in the Spotlight" is a conversation series with members of the SofC Student Academy and Urban Leadership Fellowship program.

A black and white image of Lloyd McArton introducing himself


  • What are you currently working on?  What are your  research and engagement interests? 
    I’m currently heading into the 4th year of my Ph.D. in music education, where I’m working on my dissertation research and my School of Cities Fellowship project, which are focused on how independent musicians learn to build lives for themselves both inside and out of Toronto’s independent music scenes. My research interests are based on improving equity and access to meaningful open-access musical opportunities. 
  • What  has motivated your interests  and journey?  How do you hope to make  a difference?
    The music available in virtually all Ontario public schools is trapped in a cycle of outdated and hyper-colonial music practices of concert band and choral traditions. Some people may not be in a position to pay for other opportunities and are either resigned to engaging in music that assimilates or invalidates their culture, or to not pursuing music at all. My primary goal is to promote and work towards the improvement of public school music offerings and teacher education, such that the experiences reflect the community and people that are paying for it through government taxes. 
  • As a  student, researcher and/or activist, what have  you learned from the pandemic and its global impact?
    It’s worth noting that I am rather biased as someone who communicates almost exclusively with artists or others in the context of music-making. However, it has become clear that the systems that govern our daily lives are not designed to accommodate or support artists or vulnerable populations sufficiently. Many artists are earning more now during the pandemic through the CERB benefits than they were able to scrape together before. Even more unsettling, the CERB monthly fund is also nearly double the pre-existing maximum ODSP amount (Ontario Disability Support Program); these huge discrepancies are obviously problematic in a lot of ways. It’s important for everyone to support one another, and to remain critical of underfunded social support programs and city-, province-, and nation-wide support of the arts. 

    Banner for Outside In, a podcast by Lloyd McArton

    Click the banner above to listen to "Outside In" - the podcast series produced by Lloyd McArton during the pandemic

  • Please share with us your experiences at the SofC. How do you think being a member of  the  SofC Urban Leadership Fellowship and Academy Program has contributed to your scholarship and added to your experience as a student?  
    My time as a Fellow with the SofC has been great. To be surrounded by a host of diverse and dedicated people exploring vastly different interests is such a special thing to be a part of, and highly motivating. I have enjoyed the benefit of different vocational perspectives that I can take into account for my own research projects, and also to consider the implications of my research in relation to other fields.
Student Bio:

Lloyd is a musician, teacher, and researcher originally from Parry Sound, Ontario. He is working on his PhD dissertation at the Faculty of Music, conducting research on independent music scenes and how people learn to create musical lives within them. Other areas of research have included exploring the inequitable variance in access to avenues of musical learning, and devising ways to ameliorate barriers that may be contributing to those discrepancies. Outside of academia, Lloyd works, creates, and facilitates others’ learning as a DIY multi-instrumentalist and educator. He teaches music at The Clover School and plays guitar and saxophone in the indie rock band Lost Cousins.