The Spence Bay Project: Inuit representation, social engagement, and feminist pedagogy in the photographic work of Pamela Harris
thesisposted on 08.06.2021, 15:23 by Liisa Graham
This thesis project analyzes the Pamela Harris Spence Bay Collection, held at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). It is comprised of photographic work produced by Harris while in the Inuit community of Spence Bay, in 1972 and 1973, as well as photographs and documents pertaining to the community darkroom Harris initiated. Harris's photographs capture an Inuit community in transition, encompassing both Northern and Southern ways of being, and analyzed within the historical context of photographic representation of Indigenous communities. The community darkroom is examined through a feminist pedagogical framework, and illustrates how community members utilized photography as a tool of empowerment. This project is analyzed within the political and social contexts of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and explores the themes of community engagement, the politics of representation, and empowerment, and argues that Harris's social consciousness contributed to a shift in Indigenous visual discourse.