Live Art: Histories of the Present

Live Art: Histories of the Present took place at the University of Glasgow on Wednesday 6th of April and Thursday 7th of April 2022, with presentations from Gavin Butt, Harriet Curtis, Dominic Johnson, Vanessa Macaulay, Phoebe Patey-Ferguson and Heike Roms. The original call for participants appears below: this page will shortly be updated with videos of talks and other documents from the event.

Live Art: Histories of the Present explores the complex relationship between live art and the material, historical conditions which have enabled, fostered, and sometimes constrained the possibilities for experimental and interdisciplinary performance. Taking up Heike Roms and Rebecca Edwards’ invitation to reckon with the tangible outcomes of ephemeral practices—its networks and platforms, festivals, spaces, training programmes, funding schemes, publications, and archives—Live Art: Histories of the Present considers strategies for historicising the curation and development of live art and experimental performance. Drawing on the work and perspectives of leading researchers and practitioners, we’ll explore the conditions in which live art has previously flourished and evolved, and in turn, the possibilities that might shape its future study and existence.

In doing so, this symposium asks:  

  • How can live art serve as a ‘history of the present’, tracing the contexts, conflicts, and contingencies through which contemporary practices and institutions have emerged? What are the critical, conceptual, and creative strategies prompted or demanded by such an approach to history-making? 
  • How might we better understand the sustaining ecologies of live art beyond the relationships between artists and institutions? How are different economies of practice reflected in and produced by differing approaches to curation, development, and training?  
  • How does the intersection of research and practice—whether as practice-led research, research-led practice, or something else again—function as historiography? What perspectives does it invite, uncover, or generate?  

Staged over two days of short talks, roundtable discussions and workshops as part of the AHRC-funded Live Art in Scotland project, it engages with the infrastructures of development, support and funding that enable and are generated by live art and its communities of practice – and the ways in which both artists and researchers are engaged in tracing its past to (re)imagine its futures.  

To book a space and to find out more about the schedule, please follow this Eventbrite link: <> 

A limited support fund is available towards the cost of students in part-time work, support workers, childcare, and carers, and is available on a first-come basis for those who need it to be able to attend.  

For details of venue access provision, please visit <> 

The event will be BSL interpreted. Please contact to let us know if you have any specific requirements by 1st April 2022.  

Organised by Dr Stephen Greer and Dr Bryony White. This event is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (grant number AH/V001728/1) and The University of Glasgow.