ACCESS History

Histories and Transformations of Access Journal from 1982


The aim of Access is to provide a forum where current educational concerns – theoretical and practical – can be expressed and critical discussion promoted. We are dissatisfied with some of the Iimitations frequently associated with specialist approaches (e.g., analytic philosophy of education) and specialist journals generated by these approaches. However we are unable to specify a precise editorial policy for Access. Perhaps the content of this issue best captures our idea of Access. However we weIcome suggestions from readers and contributors for future direction.

This is the opening statement back in 1982 about the purpose and mission of Access journal. The journal at that time was established by Department of Education at the University of Auckland in 1982, by James Marshall and Colin Lankshear, at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. It was curated by the Cultural and Policy Studies academic group who organised and published the journal until 2001. As Elizabeth Grierson notes, it went through several title variations: first Access; then ACCESS: Critical Perspectives on Education Studies; then ACCESS: Critical Perspectives on Cultural and Policy Studies in Education. The editors during the first 20 years included James Marshall and Colin Lankshear (1982-1988), Garry McCulloch, Roger Dale and Dianne Snow (1989-1991) and Michael A. Peters (1992-2001). During 1990s, Michael A. Peters undertook the principle editorial role consolidating a focus around policy studies and philosophy of education.

The emphasis on policy analysis impacting on education was very strong in the early years of Access. Along with this focus, diverse imperatives of educational and cultural change in the global economies of creative innovation brought new questions to the table. Since its inception in the 1980s, Access has endorsed scholarly approaches that bring a critical edge to their forms of analysis and discussion, as they open the terrains of knowledge to scrutiny.


In 2001, the editorial and management responsibilities moved to the Centre for Communication Research at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), with Elizabeth Grierson as an editor. In addition, the journal management support was moved to the Communication Research Centre at AUT University, which in 2002 resulted into ‘communication’ coming into its title: ACCESS: Critical Perspectives on Communication, Cultural and Policy Studies. The aim at that time was to include research on communications studies with ongoing application to educational contexts, and international editorial board was appointed.


In 2005, then editor Elizabeth Grierson took the journal to RMIT University, Melbourne Australia, while Access seen yet another shift towards creative arts, creativity in education, aesthetics and arts education. The journal was also validated as A-quality in the Australia Research Council journal ranking.


In 2014, PESA and its journal Educational Philosophy and Theory incorporated Access, with Editor Elizabeth Grierson and Michael Peters as Editor-in-Chief for EPAT. Access had yet another transformation, receiving professional support from Taylor & Francis, and editorial management support from Susanne Brighouse. Access has long had an affinity with the work of PESA in that many of the editors and contributors have been members of PESA. This agreement ended in 2019 when Elizabeth Grierson, Access’ longest standing editor, retired from her role.

2020 and beyond – ACCESS: Contemporary Issues in Education.

In 2020, Access was re-launched by PESA as an open access journal, blind peer reviewed journal under the PESA Agora project. The relaunch team was: Nina Hood (Editor), Marek Tesar (Deputy Editor) and Andrew Madjar (Editorial Administrator), all from The University of Auckland. In 2021, Nesta Devine from the Auckland University of Technology, became the Editor. The journal focus has shifted again returning to something much closer to its original ethos and purpose. Access will focus on big issues and ideas impacting, influencing and informing educational studies from diverse and global perspectives. It will provide a forum whereby scholars,  researchers and teachers from around the world can explore macro issues and their implications for and in education. Such a focus takes into account the history of the journal and its various manifestations by incorporating the critical perspectives of its early days, its focus on policy and philosophy during the 1990s, and the cultural studies approach of the early 2000s. It also opens up its focus to include an engagement with educational practice, and how the issues and ideas defining contemporary social, political, economic, cultural, technological and environmental life are impacting education. To reflect this new direction, Access has a new subtitle: contemporary issues in education.

Access retains its high quality, ideas and scholarships relevant to asking questions about educational thought, as Tina Engels-Schwarzpaul once said: “Access has, since I have known about it, demonstrated a commitment to asking questions about how a given situation could be otherwise and better, and how we can think about “difference” differently”