Toronto’s Harris Institute celebrates 30 years of making a difference

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Harris Institute is amping up its 30th anniversary celebration by offering $30,000 in scholarships for programs starting on March 25 and July 15, 2019.

The anniversary is a proud moment for the Institute, which started back in 1989 when it introduced the first one-year diploma programs taught by award-winning leaders in the Canadian music industry. The goal back then was to strengthen the Canadian music industry and prepare graduates for life-long careers in music.

Thirty years later, Harris boasts graduates who are now in leadership roles in every area of the Canadian music industry. They have established a range of successful companies and have won or been nominated for 247 awards in just the last two years. Of the current 62 faculty members, 60 per cent have won awards in their personal subject area. Twenty-one of them have been at Harris Institute for more than 20 years and 11 are honours graduates from the institute itself.

The school is still proud of the move they made in 1994 when the college relocated from its original 3,200-square-foot campus to a 15,000-square-foot industrial building designed in 1908 by Massey Hall’s architect, George M. Miller. It repurposed the building for education and included three recording studios designed by renowned studio designer and founding faculty member Martin Pilchner.

A few years later, starting in 1997, Harris Institute began its connections with musicians from across the pond with the first of six annual Peace And Reconciliation programs, funded by the International Fund for Ireland. That initiative brought together groups of 20 young adults from both the north and south of Ireland.

In 2005 the college expanded its accelerated approach by establishing a partnership with the University of the West of Scotland, offering the option to earn a diploma and a BA or BSc degree in 20 months. In 2015 the partnership was further expanded to offer two diplomas and a master’s degree in 32 months. The degrees are awarded with full scholarships and the master’s degrees include partial scholarships.

In 2006, Harris Institute partnered with both the Moscow International Film School and the Gulf Islands Film & Television School to deliver an experimental program for 24 Indigenous youth from Siberia and British Columbia’s Salmon Arm Reserve.

For 10 years starting in 2007, with the support of the Ontario Ministry of Culture and the Ontario Media Development Corporation, the college offered weekend professional development courses for mid-career professionals. And in a partnership with Nashville’s ProMedia Training, Harris Institute introduced the first Certified Avid Pro Tools courses in Canada.

In 2015, Harris Institute was the first post-secondary school to introduce a comprehensive Political Correctness Policy that ensured free speech and the open exchange of ideas. Since 1989, international students have come from 142 countries. In 2018 students came from nine U.S. States and 19 countries.

Harris Institute claims boasting rights as the only school featured in Billboard‘s Top 11 Schools list and Mix Magazine‘s Audio Education’s Finest. It was ranked best private school for a sixth year in the 2018’s Media Arts Education Report. Just in time for the anniversary, the college’s founder, John Harris, received the 2018 Cashbox Legacy Award as a Canadian music industry builder.

By: NOW Staff with notes from FYI Music News

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