Meet OCAD U’s Journal of Visual & Critical Studies student group

Journal of Visual & Critical Studies journal 2020

OCAD U’s Journal of Visual & Critical Studies (JVCS) student group recently sat down with Brent Everett James from Campus Life to introduce themselves and share their goals and activities.

Brent:
Brent Everett James here from Campus Life having a chat with Aggie, one of the leaders from the Journal of Visual & Critical Studies (JVCS).

Please introduce yourself.

Aggie Frasunkiewicz:
My name is Aggie and I am one of the directors of the Journal of Visual & Critical Studies. I am a fourth-year Visual & Critical Studies (VCS) student.

Brent:
Please tell us about the JVCS!

Aggie:
The Journal of Visual & Critical Studies is a student-led publication that collects and celebrates undergraduate writing from all programs at OCAD University. Since 2016, we have published critical essays, exhibition reviews and thesis abstracts of VCS cohorts that push the discipline of art history and visual culture. The editorial committee is comprised of students from various programs and various year levels. Currently, we have 12 members in the Journal. We all collectively work together to share new skills and build community within the OCAD community. This year, we will be publishing a special edition Journal online, and we will be hosting our second Undergraduate Colloquium.

Aggie Frasunkiewicz

Aggie Frasunkiewicz

Brent:
How is this year going? How are you keeping the group active and engaging?

Aggie:
Our year is going very well! We are trying to meet as often as we can—about every two weeks. Given the realities of the pandemic, and how alienating online life can be, meeting every two weeks has given us the opportunity to brainstorm events together and to simply offload stress. I think we have all actually gotten closer this year because of these more relaxed meetings.

Brent:
What are some of your more successful events, programs or activities during the pandemic? What about these events made them work so well?

Aggie:
In September 2020, we hosted our first Undergraduate Colloquium with three student speakers, and a keynote by Peter Morin and Sameen Mahboubi. This event was a huge success, and we got a decent turn out! We are planning for a second colloquium this year sometime in early May. Since September, we have been working on changing the structure of the Journal to reflect pandemic living and to work closely together to foster situations of joy, and spaces for conversations. Skill sharing and mentorship is another area of focus this year, as we are always looking for ways to make the Journal more than just a publication.

Brent:
Describe some challenges your group, or its members, are experiencing, if any.

Aggie:
I think the biggest challenge to our group this year is not being able to see one another. While working and meeting remotely has its benefits, we simply miss seeing each other and catching up with a cup of coffee! We also won’t be printing a physical copy of the Journal this year due to pandemic logistics of distributing copies.

Brent:
How do you keep your leadership strong, and recruit new students to take the lead as older ones graduate?

Aggie:
Generally, we work closely with faculty members of the VCS program to schedule short drop-ins to introduce the Journal. Many of our committee members join because they already know someone in the Journal. We also try to use social media, and various other resources at our disposal. We have been lucky to have committed and engaged Journal members throughout the years, and usually we start off with a core group of leaders comprised of graduating and upper-year students. The core then expands as the years go by to include newer members who feel they are ready to take on more responsibility in the Journal. I have personally been a part of the Journal since 2018, and it’s been wonderful to see so many students join and stay in the Journal.

JVCS Call for Submissions 2021

Brent:
You are currently conducting a Call for Submissions. Tell us about that.

Aggie:
Our current annual Call for Submissions is open to all undergraduate students at OCAD U until February 20. We are looking for critical essays, exhibition reviews in accordance with our guiding theme of experimental and embodied knowledge. This includes writing on decolonization, anti-racist practices, crip theory, feminist theories and queer theories. We are looking for:

Exhibition and Performance Reviews
(250 to 500 words)
Reviews of exhibitions, performances, and art-related events that happened after April 2019. We welcome reviews that are local, national, or international in scope.

Critical Essays
(1000 to 2000 words)
We publish academic essays about art, design, and visual culture. We are open to a wide range of methods and analyses, including experimental writing on aesthetic experiences and interdisciplinary research. We accept excerpts from larger essays.

Abstracts of Thesis Projects
(150 to 250 words)
Art or design students may submit up to three images of their works to contextualize their abstract. Images provided should be 300 DPI. Submissions should be sent to our email: visualcriticalstudies@gmail.com

Brent:
Do you have any other activities or meetings coming up for the rest of this term? And how can students get involved?

Aggie:
We are planning a workshop series with VCS and Journal alumni throughout February, March and April. Our first event will take place February 12 from 3 to 4 PM ET with Karina Roman. Watch for details on our Instagram page or send us an email!

Brent:
Aggie, thanks for taking the time to chat with me today.

Aggie:
Thank you so much for this opportunity, Brent!