Voices in Contemporary Art Announces VoCA Journal’s New Issue on Access and the Arts

A still image from a 2019 video artwork called "Not Better Yet" by Panteha Abareshi. The photo captures a contortive bodily performance done on a hospital bed recorded in super 8mm. The figure in the photo wears an outfit made of white bandages, and contorts their body so their head and arm are folded beneath their leg. The pose is rife with vulnerability and frustration. The background of the image is light blue, and is overlaid with white dots resembling the Braille alphabet.

VoCA (Voices in Contemporary Art) is pleased to present the 10th issue of VoCA Journal, which focuses on access and the arts. Led by guest editor, writer and critic Emily Watlington, this issue aims to provide tools, tips, and conceptual frameworks that can guide us all to bring access to the work we do.

In two essays contributed by artists, Panteha Abareshi recalls a number of inaccessible artworks they encountered in museums around Los Angeles, detailing how these experiences catalyzed their own artistic practice, while Joseph Grigely presents apologies from event organizers who failed to provide the closed captions he relies on at online programs. Educator Elizabeth Guffey reflects on her experience teaching a course called “The Inclusive Museum” at SUNY Purchase, which offers a crash course in museum accessibility. In a roundtable, conservators Joelle Wickens, Sally Gunhee Kim, and Sarah Scaturro ask how to make their field more equitable and discuss the unique contributions that disability brings to conserving artworks. Program Coordinator Natalie Sandstrom considers the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act on her work at ICA Philadelphia, encouraging museums to go beyond the ADA’s building code requirements by making programs inclusive, too. And Emily Watlington interviews Victor Cole about his experience as an audio describer, describing artworks, plays, and movies to blind and low vision people for a living. As Watlington observes, “we all have a role to play in making the future accessible.” It is VoCA’s privilege and honor to share the voices of the people leading the way.

VoCA Journal is a digital publication that highlights artist-centric, cross-disciplinary conversations around contemporary art stewardship, creating a dynamic repository for these discussions while connecting members of the VoCA network both locally and across the globe. 

For more information, visit journal.voca.network.

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