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23rd November, 2022

Dr Stephen Greer: Live art, Scotland and the risk of the radical


Event Details

23rd November, 2022
18:00 - 19:30
Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
Eton Avenue

This talk explores performance curation as a lens for developing an expanded history of Live Art in the UK – and for historicising the conditions in which interdisciplinary performance practices become possible. Who gets to make ‘radical’, queer and experimental work, and in what circumstances?

Focusing on Scotland as an under-examined context for new and interdisciplinary performance, I frame curation as a practice of critical selection that might also seek to enable forms of radical generosity and open-ended support. But what happens when the desire to say ‘yes’, unconditionally, meets the realities and hierarchies of a wider culture sector? How might these dynamics invite us to re-examine live art’s status as a strategy of making space for ‘bodies and identities that might otherwise be excluded from traditional contexts’ (LADA)?

In locating these questions in a history of ongoing shocks – the financial crisis, austerity, the pandemic – I also want to consider how the seeming resilience of the live art sector and its capacity to respond, react and reinvent itself may pose difficult questions for how we (artists, producers, programmers and critics) understand the risks of exploitation and self-exploitation in organising our work. Through engagement with the work of Natasha Ruwona, Alberta Whittle and other artists, curators and researchers working in the Scottish context, I suggest the significance of emergent curatorial practices which are oriented on slowness and care rather than growth, and which might challenge exploitative, racialised and class-based norms for creative practice. What can the wider performance sector learn from such efforts?

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