Curating the Ephemeral

Curating the Ephemeral (2014-2016) is a creative research project investigating curatorial practice within and without visual art institutions in relation to ephemeral and immaterial art. Prof. Adrian Heathfield is conducting the research investigations supported by a Marie Curie award from the European Research Council. In 2014 and 2015 he is holding an international fellowship at Columbia University, New York in order to pursue this work. A series of collaborative curatorial initiatives and talk events with museums and independent curators are being staged internationally across the three years.

Performance Matters

Performance Matters was a creative research project exploring the contemporary values associated with performance at a time when it has increased resonance as a cultural phenomenon, and as a concept and metaphor in critical discourse.
Taking place between 2009 and 2013, Performance Matters invited the interest of an array of scholars, artists, curators, cultural workers and audiences across the fields of visual art, performance, theatre and dance. By addressing and reaching such a diverse and broad audience in this manner, it sought to generate a new field of possibilities for research on, and as, contemporary performance.

Performance Matters was a collaboration between the Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance at Roehampton University, the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London, and the Live Art Development Agency. The Arts and Humanities Research Council was the project's chief funding body.

Operation Infinity

Operation Infinity is a meta-fiction through which Simon Vincenzi is developing an on-going series of interrelated theatre performances, events and video documents. At the centre of this project are four works which explore the different forms of the film, the nightclub, the show and the play. Each work is presented in different locations and contains the audience within their fiction - each work exploring a different relationship to the act of looking. Made to be seen individually, they are all linked through their exploration of mesmerism, control, entertainment, identity and perception.

Each work relates back to the fictional character of Dr Mabuse: a psychic shape-shifter and brilliant master of disguise who uses his powers of mind-reading, hypnotism, and will-bending to instil a reign of terror throughout society and bring economic ruin. Having taken control of the theatre company 'Troupe Mabuse' he arms himself against a war of communication; where the mediated image is taken as true and the threat of terror becomes a political force. A war that celebrates the death of reality.

The Infinite Pleasures of The Great Unknown and Luxuriant: Within The Reign of Anticipation have been shown in theatre/music festivals and art galleries throughout Europe and are continuing to tour. Club Extinction has had work-in-development showings at Laban and The Arches nightclub in London. It continues to be developed as work to be experienced on the web and in a nightclub. King Real Against The Guidelines is in development as an installation shown within a theatre. Surrounding these four works is a developing series of parallel events under the title of The Ouroboros Recordings. These works are expanded moments from the existing shows and have the function of presenting a live event as a way to make a covert video recording. For further information http://www.operationinfinity.org/ and http://www.artsadmin.co.uk/projects/operation-infinity

NCRM New Frontiers in QLR seminar series: QLR and Practice Traditions

This seminar stages an encounter between QLR and practice traditions in which 'situated' and durational forms of observation and participation play a key role. The practice traditions the seminar focuses on are clinical psychoanalysis (including infant observation and forms of organisational consultancy) and varieties of 'socially-engaged' art practice. The former entails the systematic use of the practitioner's responses to the 'situation' through a range of group-based reflective practices, and the latter engages specific publics as creative collaborators through forms of reflective conversation, listening and co-creation of a range of objects, from community archives and documented oral histories to forms of DIY media production, live performance or even alternative forms of economic production. Since the 1930s, both psychoanalytic and 'artistic' sensibilities have also explicitly or implicitly informed significant aspects of methodological innovation within anthropology and sociology. Some examples might be Mass-Observation, the 'breaching' experiments of Garfinkel, Edgar Morin's 'multi-dimensional' approach to ethnography or the film-making of Trin T. Minh-Ha. All these these continuing traditions now have established histories, canonical figures and contested methodologies and have developed sophisticated vocabularies for describing relationships between past, present and future, dis/continuity, disruption, repetition and change. In different ways, they also propose a politics and an ethics of observation and/as participation, and how the reflective and reflexive subjectivity of the researcher - whether clinician, artist or researcher - might be deployed as a significant 'instrument' within the practice as a whole. Given that these practices are themselves increasingly construed as forms of research that are both longitudinal and qualitative by definition, this seminar will explore how their distinctive forms and processes of engagement have informed methodological innovation to date and what might be retained, recovered or reinvented from these histories for contemporary longitudinal research practice.


  • Lisa Baraitser, Head of the Department of Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck College, University of London
  • Simon Bayly, Principal Lecturer at the University of Roehampton & Director of London-based arts organisation, PUR
  • Jenifer Wakelyn, Child and Adolescent Psycotherapist, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust
  • Belinda Mandelbaum, Associate Professor & Coordinator of the Laboratory of Family Studies, Department of Social Psychology, Psychology Institute, University of São Paulo, Brazil
  • Valerie Walkerdine, Professor, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University
  • Richard Layzell, London-based artist affiliated to ResCen (Middlesex University) and the University of the Arts, London
  • Joe Kelleher, Head of Drama, Theatre and Performance, University of Roehampton
  • Terry O'Connor, Professor of Contemporary Theatre and Performance Practice at the University of Sheffield & AHRC Creative Fellow, University of Roehampton