Border Crossings Study Centre: A Border Crossings Project

Border Crossings magazine has developed a unique portable archive of the magazine’s 34 year publishing history. This archive known as the Border Crossings Study Centre (BCSC) is a collection of each of the magazines to date, which is updated annually with the addition of the current year’s issues. It is housed in a portable hybrid storage/reading unit designed by architects Neil Minuk (DIN), and Karen Shanski and Eduardo Aquino (spmb). The archive is made up of the magazines themselves and, where issues were no longer available, handmade facsimiles were produced by Canadian photographer Elaine Stocki. The facsimiles are, in effect, artist’s books, but each magazine is presented in the BCSC with hand-lettered, individually sewn tabs identifying thematic topics and magazine departments. The bookcase unit folds together becoming its own transportable crate housing the table components and six box stools, also designed by the architects. Alternately it opens up becoming a welcoming social space for readers to look at individual issues, refer to the extensive Index and talk about the material in the 132 issues of the magazine.

The BCSC was produced in 2009 at the invitation of the University of Manitoba’s Gallery OneOneOne, where Director Cliff Eyland mounted a series of exhibitions employing the magazine’s content as catalyst and catalogue. Border Crossings’ Editor Meeka Walsh wrote a text to accompany the Study Centre, as did the founding editor Robert Enright, now Senior Contributing Editor. Cliff Eyland, wrote the third essay which uses Border Crossings’ Index as a point of departure.


While the BCSC is an archive of Border Crossings’ publishing history, and therefore of the contemporary art it covered, it is also an instigator for discussion and for curating impelled by the topics and the artists it has addressed. The Baltic birch stools and the table around which they cluster are draws for inquiry, conversation and exchange as visitors connect through a shared understanding of the diversity of material the magazine has covered in the course of its 34-year history.

With the retrospective nature of an archive the BCSC brings past art production into the present and speaks to the persistence of print and the way in which it continues to be accessible, malleable and endlessly recombinant. Reading and visual connections are enriched by the possibilities of the associations readers make in their own findings.

With great admiration for Aleksandr Rodchenko’s prototype design for “The Reading Room of the USSR’s Worker’s Club” presented at the Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes in Paris in 1925, what we have designed, and built, is a study centre that comes to the workers. It is a complete and portable unit which can be readily shipped, located in its current site, set in place and opened out, its contents ready for readers.

For touring information contact:

Elyssa Stelman

Special Projects Director


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