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Fonds Level Description: Harrison, Spencer J.

TITLE Spencer J. Harrison fonds. Additions. -- ca. 1940s to 2014. -- .4 m of textual records - ca. 100 photographs.


Spencer J. Harrison was born in 1962. An artist who has lived and painted in Peterborough for several years, Harrison's work has been exhibited locally, nationally and internationally. Of special significance is his project "Would You Beat this Man?, or more affectionately, "The Fag Project"" which was shown in several cities across Canada and addresses the issue of fear and hatred of gay people. The project is known widely as "The Queer Project." Harrison is also an art instructor and a graduate of the Frost Centre, Trent University. Harrison was artist-in-residence at Trent University in 1994-1995.


Fonds consists of two boxes of materials related to the life of Spencer J. Harrison, artist and gay activist.


Custodial History: Fonds was in the custody of Spencer J. Harrison before being donated to Trent University Archives in 2014.

Immediate Source: Fonds acquired from Spencer J. Harrison in 2014.

Restrictions: N

Accruals: This fonds, along with 03-001 and 06-001, is an addition to 99-010.

Outsized materials located in Large Materials Cabinet - Drawer #54.


Box 1

“Not a Freak Show, Growing Up Gay in Rural Ontario: An Arts-informed Inquiry” 108 pages: illustrations (28 cm x 44 cm). Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education. University of Toronto, c2014.

Three Stories: A Doctoral Proposal

A Few Stories and a Discussion of Why and How They Need to Be Told: A Doctoral Proposal

Thinking of Shaquille Wisdom: A Rationale for Arts-informed Research

Writing Through the Flood: Making Sense of Qualitative Research

Spencer J. Harrison, Artist Activist or Both: A Queer, Canadian artist’s self-examination of his shifting roles as the producer of “The Queer Project”, May 2001

Apples, Art and Activism: A Look Into The World of Spencer Harrison

University of Toronto School of Graduate Studies, Program of the Final Oral Examination for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy of Spencer J. Harrison. April 10, 2014

10 large plates (6 labelled & 4 unlabeled) including: Plate 18 Freak Show: Tent Exterior Panorama; Plate 19 Freak Show: Tent Interior Panorama; Plate 20 Freak Show: Tent Exterior Panorama; Tent outside 2 and inside 3
Come One, Come All To The Freak Show! (4 variant panoramic posters rolled)

Box 2

Folder 1:
Photographs: Spencer J. Harrison; family, ca. 100, 1940s-2010s

Folder 2:
Curriculum Vitae & Biography

Folder 3:
Convocation book: Queen’s University, 1987

Folder 4:

Folder 5:
Ontario Council of Arts: applications and correspondence

Folder 6:
The Peterborough Review, Vol. 1, No.4, 1995; cover painting by Spencer J. Harrison
Brochure re SpeakOUT Conference 2001, York Region District School Board; includes Conference Agenda; Keynote speaker: Spencer J. Harrison (address not included)

Folder 7:
The Kamloops Art Gallery: Exhibition “Vessels of the Heart” Correspondence, Advertisements, Review, January – February 1989

Folder # 8:
Lindsay Gallery Exhibition: June-July 1989

Folder 9:
Art Gallery of Ontario, 1989

Folder 10:
Art Gallery of Peterborough, 1989-1990

Folder 11:
The Canada Council, [1987-90]

Folder 12:
Trent University
2003 Convocation: Information and Instruction, Friday 30 May 2003, 3:00 pm.
Trent Alumni Magazine: Winter 2007(38.1); Fall 2011; Winter 2012
Annual Report to the Community, 2011
Announcement of M.A. Thesis Oral Examination: Spencer J. Harrison “The Queer Project: The Distance Between History and Truth”

Folder 13:
Newspaper clippings from the Peterborough Examiner re the Peterborough Flood 2004, including the benefit show

Folder 14:
Bloor No. 1, 2010, pages 44-51. Interview with Spencer J. Harrison: Homophobia Project

Folder 15:
University of Toronto
Correspondence & Poster: “11th Annual Dean’s Graduate Research Conference, 2011
Miscellaneous Toronto Arts Events

Folder 16:
Camp Firefly: thank you cards and notes received by Harrison from his camping students, Summer 2011

Folder 17:
Newspaper clippings: articles and reviews of Harrison’s artwork including: Peterborough Examiner; Toronto Star; Whig-Standard; Arthur; The Wire: Alternative; Lindsay Daily Post; Hamilton Spectator; Bayview-Mills Town Crier; Extra, Toronto’s Gay & Lesbian News

Folder 18:
Ontario College of Art & Design
Project 31, Lot 5 Spencer J. Harrison
Project 31, Lot 35 Spencer J. Harrison

Folder 19:
Advertisements for Harrison’s exhibitions
Art show advertisements

Folder 20:
Correspondence pertaining to artworks 1988, [1989]

Folder 21:
Newspaper clippings pertaining to apartment fire, 22 February 1996

Folder 22:
Miscellaneous brochures and newspaper clippings

Folder 23:
Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, A Celebration of Marriage between: [….]
Howell, Fleming, Barristers, Solicitors, Notaries: correspondence, 1993

Folder 24:
Letters sent by Spencer J. Harrison to his mother Dorothy Jean Harrison, ca. 1985-2002

Folder 25:
Maps of farm drawn by Dorothy Harrison “On Walls on PHD Tent”

Folder 26:
Sweet Water Shores Otonabee Poems, Vol.1, Book 4, 1980, Keene Press, Publishers (includes poems by Dorothy Sullivan (i.e. Dorothy Jean Harrison))
Newspaper clippings from Peterborough Examiner, 1977-2013; also obituary for Dorothy Jean Harrison, 2014

Loose in box:
Queen’s Yearbook “Tricolour”, 1987
Spencer’s Great Ideas volume 1
Harrison’s artwork, personal sketchbook & sketches

Large Materials Cabinet - Drawer #54

4 class photographs, Queen’s University, 1983-1987
“Vessels of the Heart” poster
Graduation card