aCCeSsions is the online journal of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York. Conceived, commissioned, and produced by students in the MA Curatorial Studies program, aCCeSsions promotes curating as a basis for expanding and transforming the disciplinary limits of the discourses we have, for engaging with knowledge and practices outside of art and exhibition-making, and for the transdisciplinary investigation of what curatorial praxis itself could be.
To that end, aCCeSsions is characterized by a dynamic publication cycle over the year in which each issue is conceived, launched, and completed. Each issue will comprise Features, consisting of commissions on the central topic, and a series of related Provocations intended to elicit responses, to which the initial provocateur will respond with a final word. And with that final word, each issue is completed with an archived edition.
aCCeSsions develops according to the interests of the student cohort at CCS Bard. Not only do the themes of each issue respond to our collective and combined demands and interests; they are also, in our collective eyes, concerns that require investigation from a variety of disciplines and angles. This first issue of aCCeSsions was developed by the classes of 2015 and ’16. The class of 2015 conceived the initial direction and format of the journal, and commissioned the content for this first issue. The class of 2016 completed the primary commissioning and editorial tasks, bringing the journal to publication and launching it, while also consolidating the larger prospect signalled by aCCeSsions by producing the second issue, which will be completed with the class of 2017. Future issues of aCCeSsions will continue to involve both years of the two-year CCS Bard MA program.
With the development of this structure, commissioning, and publication process aCCeSsions will at once continually convey the changing collective interests and demands of the curators studying at CCS Bard—interests that will always extend well beyond this generative group—and will also serve as a site of institutional collaboration and continuity.
We would like to express our deep gratitude to Paul O’Neill, Director of the MA in Curatorial Studies at CCS Bard, for initiating and unfailingly supporting the project of a student-led online journal as the successor to CCS Bard’s Red Hook Journal. The development of aCCeSsions as both a publication representing student interests at CCS Bard and as a key moment of pedagogical development requires a good deal of institutional calibration and care. The very emergence of aCCeSsions, never mind its appearance, would never have happened or have been viable without Paul’s guidance, support, and advocacy. Tom Eccles, Executive Director of CCS Bard, has supported the change of direction and editorial emphasis of CCS Bard’s online publication with typical insight and vigor, his combination of enthusiasm and interrogation ensuring that the journal stays attentive to the demands of an audience beyond CCS Bard itself.
Sarah Higgins, Tracy Pollock, and Ramona Rosenberg have each played a key role in the development of the journal within CCS Bard. They ably assisted us in negotiating the pedagogic, institutional, and public requirements involved in conceiving and launching a publication that also meets the educational and institutional requirements that are crucial to the development of emerging curators.
Suhail Malik steered the discussions of what aCCeSsions could be through the early developmental stages of the process and into the completion of the first issue. He did so while encouraging the diverse interests and the 2015 and 2016 cohorts and enabling the optimal realization of their demands, guiding us through the institutional and pedagogic frameworks within which we undertook the task. Orit Gat has completed and extended that development, facilitating the final realization of this first issue and taking the journal on into its next stages.
The complex and demanding tasks of marshaling the editorial board, succinctly articulating our collective ambitions, and turning these into effective programs of action were completed with astonishing efficiency and grace by our editorial assistants, CCS Bard Alum Viktoria Ivanova (for 2014–15) and Roxana Fabius (2015–16). It is no exaggeration to say that Viktoria and Roxana have both enabled our every move and facilitated our every decision, from the inevitable practicalities to the broader vista of our wider ambitions for the journal. Both have played a fundamental role in helping us construct a firm editorial premise and format through our many collective discussions, in which we strove to articulate our own expansive sense of the prospects for a journal appropriate to what we thought curating could potentially be. Without them, we would not have come even part way to realizing our ambitions.
Our most important partner in the development and construction of aCCeSsions has been the design studio Other Means. With unfailing support and generosity, Other Means have continually enabled us to expand our expectations of what the journal could be. This openness and interest in what might happen next required us to become ever clearer about what our ambitions in fact were, which in turn forced us to better understand ourselves and the demands we wanted to make of an online journal advancing what curating could be. The vision and achievements of aCCeSsions, such as they are, would have been much narrower and impoverished without the involvement of Other Means. We cannot thank them enough for their expansive, encouraging, and ever-courteous support in enabling us to openly explore what can be achieved with presentation as well as content.