rethinking why performance matters through the matter of performance

A collaboration between Goldsmiths, University of London, University of Roehampton, and the Live Art Development Agency

Goldsmiths Live Art Development Agency

Performance Matters is supported by:


Crossovers, the final phase of Performance Matters, involves screenings, talk events and DVD publications of artists’ films, documentaries and dialogues arising from our research. Crossovers is supported by Follow on Funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Crossovers DVDs are available to order now and will be launched at a special public event at Hackney Attic, London on 23 January 2014.

Crossovers includes films which look at the multiple histories of performance art as it engages with mainstream TV, appears on the internet, as subculture, in stand-up comedy, and in avant-garde art. Other films explore ideas of performance in contemporary thought, in original filmed conversations with international critics and thinkers working at the forefront of their disciplines.

Three of the Crossovers films have developed from commissioned dialogues and events for Trashing Performance (2010-11)

Mel Brimfield’s This is Performance Art (Part Two) spoofs the format of the television documentary to tell a history rich in fabulation, willfully and irreverently intertwining stories of twentieth-century experimental theatre and cabaret.

Gavin Butt and Ben Walters’ directorial debut, the documentary This is Not a Dream, charts an underground story of artist’s DIY use of moving image technology, from Warhol’s Factory to contemporary London club performance. Watch the trailer here

Oreet Ashery’s Party for Freedom explores outsider artist-collectives of the 1970s, and the pertinence of their gestures and methods, for acting on the politics of the present. The film has developed from a residential workshop held as part of Trashing Performance - see here for more details.


Other films in the Crossovers series have developed from Performing Idea (2009-10) and take the form of filmed exchanges between Adrian Heathfield and leading intellectuals from diverse disciplines whose work has significant impact upon the understanding of contemporary culture and performance -

Writing Not Yet Thought, Hélène Cixous with Adrian HeathfieldThe acclaimed author discusses the practice of writing alongside its relation to painting, music and philosophy.

Transfigured Night, A Conversation with Alphonso Lingis. An exchange between the celebrated American philosopher Alphonso Lingis and Adrian Heathfield. 

No Such Thing As Rest, A Walk with Brian Massumi. Setting thoughts and conversation in constant motion, Adrian Heathfield encounters the philosopher and cultural theorist while walking the streets of Montreal.


Crossovers (2013-14) follows on from Performance Matters’ three themed years of interlinked research activities – Performing Idea, Trashing Performance and Potentials of Performance.

In the first year, Performing Idea (2009-10) investigated the shifting relations between performance practice and discourse, event and writing. In the second year, Trashing Performance (2010-11) explored marginal and degraded performance practices in order to produce critical and cultural innovations through non-institutional manifestations and informal disseminations. The final year, Potentials of Performance (2011-12), was led by the project's postgraduate researchers, and featured a series of dialogue projects asking what performance holds in store through its testing of the limits of the social, the cultural, the vital and the critical.


Follow Performance Matters

To register your interest and keep up to date with Performance Matters and Crossovers, send an email including your full name to with the subject heading ‘Register me’.

Latest News

Camden Arts Centre screening Mel Brimfield’s This is Performance Art

Read More »

Rich Mix Symposium Dialogues: Art, Performance, Film

Read More »

Hackney Attic Crossovers DVD series launch

Read More »

Order all Crossovers DVDs now

Read More »

Announcing Dr Corrieri and Dr Parry

Read More »

Latest Words & Images

Third Entry

Read More »


Read More »


Read More »

Notebook sketches

Read More »

What We Lost

Read More »