ACOSS (Art Centre of Social Studies) international artist-in-residence program was founded in 2006, Yerevan, Armenia by an interdisciplinary artist Mkrtich Tonoyan, under the auspice of the “Akos” cultural NGO. The program started from Mkrtich's studio as studio exchange project, later had nomad character, involving different communities in the peripheries of Armenia, where families could offer housing for artists and now it is again back next to Mkrtich’s studio where was new space built for the residency during the expanding campaign between 2015 and ending in 2019. In 2010 Mkrtich Tonoyan was elected as chairman of the Akos Cultural NGO and remained as co-director of the artists’ residency program. The ACOSS mission is creation of a liberal democratic and intellectual meeting space for local and international artists, thinkers, researchers, writers and community organizers to get together, to reflect and act on challenges and conditions of the contemporary world. Here interpenetration of different cultures is stimulated with the help of creative interactivity and topical projects, promoting trans-local dialogues between cultures and communities. This way increasing also the visibility of Armenian on the cultural landscape of the contemporary world. This is also great contribution for the community where our new space is located and where we organize nomad and socially engaged art projects. ACOSS is member of ResArtis Worldwide network of artist residencies, since 2007 and Microresidence network ( https://microresidence.net ) since 2012. Since 2006 ACOSS has hosted 242 international artists from 40 countries and continues building network and developing art residency exchanges.
The Akos Cultural NGO was founded in 2002 in Yerevan. It is member of the Res Artis Worldwide network of artist residencies and more concentrated on the development of Artist residency program in Armenia.
In 2006 Mkrtich Tonoyan initiated establishing the ACOSS (Art Centre of Social Studies) artist-in-residence program at Akos.
The ACOSS residency program is a project workshop for the promotion of multy - disciplinary art and cultural international exchange in and out of Armenia. Artists from all artistic disciplines and sociologists can live, work, and collaborate during their preferred time of residency staying.
The program started from Mkrtich Tonoyan's studio and it is still considered one of the main project rooms of the Akos NGO. The program consists of a residency up to one year and includes private and sharing studios and housing.