Curating Access: Disability Art Activism and Creative Accommodation, edited by Amanda Cachia, London: Routledge, 2022.
This book is an interdisciplinary collection of twenty-four essays which critically examine contemporary exhibitions and artistic practices that focus on conceptual and creative aspects of access. Oftentimes exhibitions tack on access once the artwork has already been executed and ready to be installed in the museum or gallery. But what if the artists were to ponder access as an integral and critical part of their artwork? Can access be creative and experimental? And furthermore, can the curator also fold access into their practice, while working collaboratively with artists, considering it as a theoretical and practical generative force that seeks to make an exhibition more engaging for a wider diversity of audiences? This volume includes essays by a growing number of artists, curators, and scholars who ponder these ideas of ad-hoc, experimental and underground approaches within exhibition-making and artistic practices. The goal is to consider how, through these nascent exhibition models and art practices, enhanced experiences of access in the museum can be a shared responsibility amongst museum workers, curators, and artists, in tandem with the public, so that access becomes a zone of intellectual and creative “accommodation,” rather than strictly a discourse on policy. The book provides innovative case studies which provide a template for how access might be implemented by individuals, artists, curators, museum administrators and educators given the growing need to offer as many modalities of access as possible within cultural institutions. Museums acknowledge the necessity and urgency to decolonize the museum, representing the diverse identities and increasing needs of its patrons and its users. This book is a resource for how to follow and especially move beyond protocol in inventive and creative ways for the benefit of disabled and non-disabled visitors.