Adrian Heathfield writes on, curates and creates performance. His books include Out of Now, a monograph on the Taiwanese-American artist Tehching Hsieh and the edited collections Perform, Repeat, Record, Live: Art and Performance, Small Acts and Shattered Anatomies. His numerous essays have been translated into eight languages.

He was co-director of Performance Matters, a four-year AHRC funded research project on the cultural value of performance (2009–2013). From 2014-2016 he conducted the three year European Union funded creative research project Curating the Ephemeral on immaterial art and museal practices.

He co-curated the Live Culture events at Tate Modern, London (2003) and a number of other performance and durational events in European cities over the last sixteen years. He was a curatorial adviser and attaché for the 20th Biennale of Sydney and was an artistic director with the collective freethought of the 2016 Bergen Assembly, Norway. He was curator of Taiwan’s exhibition at the Biennale Arte 2017, Venice.

Heathfield has worked with many artists and thinkers on critical and creative collaborations including film dialogues, performance-lectures, dramaturgy, writing and workshop projects. He was President of Performance Studies international (2004–2007) and is Professor of Performance and Visual Culture at the University of Roehampton, London.


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Performance Matters

Performance Matters was a creative research project exploring the challenges that contemporary performance presents to ideas of cultural value. The project asked whether such forms of cultural practice are now being taken seriously in culture more broadly, and how they may possess the potential to refashion understandings of what, and how, things matter in the contemporary world.

Between 2009 and 2013 Performance Matters moved through four themed years of interlinked research activities, Performing Idea (2009/10), Trashing Performance (2010/11), Potentials of Performance (2011/2012) and Crossovers (2013).

Performing Idea culminated in a public programme co-curated by Adrian Heathfield at the Whitechapel Gallery and Toynbee Studios, London, 2-9 October 2010. The programme comprised a set of workshops led by three internationally acclaimed artists; a five day symposium with leading writers, thinkers and artists; a sound and video archive of seminal performance lectures; and a series of new performance lectures and redos by UK and international artists.

Contributors included: Wafaa Bilal, Hélène Cixous, Rabih Mroué, Janine Antoni, Ong Keng Sen, Peggy Phelan, Jonathan Burrows, Rose English, Tim Etchells, Matthew Goulish, Julie Tolentino, Ron Athey, Anne Bean, Fred Moten, Shannon Jackson, Maaike Bleeker, Silvia Bottiroli, Gavin Butt, Cabula 6, Augusto Corrieri, Lin Hixson, Robin Deacon, Hannah Hurtzig, Janez Janša, Joe Kelleher, Tellervo Kalleinen, Lois Keidan, Bojana Kunst, Boyan Manchev, Graeme Miller, Giulia Palladini, Owen Parry, Heike Roms, and Lara Shalson.

Read Gavin Butt, Lois Keidan and Adrian Heathfield’s conversation on Performance Matters below

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