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Photographs leaning against a wall. Three older photographs sit on the counter.
Fig. 1

Peter Higdon Research Centre © Zinnia Naqvi, Ryerson Image Centre

The Ryerson Image Centre announces the Peter Higdon Research Centre and Graduate Scholarship

Oct. 27, 2014

The Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) is pleased to announce the naming of its Research Centre in honour of Peter Higdon, founding Collections Curator, who is retiring after 35 years at Ryerson University. The Peter Higdon Research Centre will mark Peter’s instrumental role in shaping Ryerson’s photography collection into a world-class resource. To further recognize his commitment to students, Ryerson’s School of Image Arts is happy to announce the establishment of the Peter Higdon Graduate Scholarship.

“It is difficult to imagine a longer, more sustained example of excellence than Peter’s patient, methodical transformation of a modest photography collection into a beacon for students, professors, and scholars and photographers from around the world,” says Paul Roth, Director of the Ryerson Image Centre. “Quite simply, his work laid the foundation for the Ryerson Image Centre and moved the University into the global elite of photo-based institutions. For that we are thankful and very grateful.”

The Peter Higdon Research Centre will celebrate Peter’s foundational contributions to the Ryerson Image Centre, the School of Image Arts, and Ryerson University. His presence will continue to resonate in Ryerson’s collection, which he built from a modest resource centre in the School of Image Arts’ basement into one of the largest teaching and research collections of photography in Canada. Under Peter’s leadership and far-reaching vision, the RIC has acquired many significant donations of works and archival materials, setting the stage for the groundbreaking acquisition of the Black Star Collection in 2005—considered the largest donation of cultural property in history to a Canadian university—as well as others since.

The Peter Higdon Graduate Scholarship will recognize academic excellence in a second-year Master’s Degree student in the School of Image Arts Film and Photography Preservation and Collections Management (FPPCM) program. The creation of this annual award will honour Peter’s generosity of time and energy as an instructor, mentor and supervisor to students over three decades. It will recognize his dedication to giving students meaningful access to Ryerson’s rich photography collections and resources, and the doors he opened for students at other institutions around the world.

As a tribute to Peter’s immeasurable contribution to Ryerson, support is being raised for both the naming of the RIC’s Research Centre in his honour and the creation of the scholarship fund. To contribute, please follow this link: