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:


About Performance Matters

Performance Matters was a five-year creative research project exploring the cultural value of performance, its increased public presence and vital force, and its extensive circulation as a concept and metaphor in critical discourse.

With the release of the Crossovers DVDs, the Performance Matters project is drawing to a close, but on this site you can find information about the range of public activities and research processes that took place as part of the project, and the many outcomes it generated.

Performance Matters was directed by Prof. Gavin Butt from Goldsmiths, University of London, Prof. Adrian Heathfield from University of Roehampton, and Lois Keidan of the Live Art Development Agency.

The project received £445,000 funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, through two separate awards and £225,317 of these awards was spent in the cultural sector. 


2009 – 2012

Between 2009 and 2012 Performance Matters undertook three themed years of interlinked research activities – Performing Idea (2009-10), Trashing Performance (2010-11), and Potentials of Performance (2011-12) – and organized two international symposia, five artist-led workshops, over 100 performances, presentations and projects; commissioned six research dialogues; and produced and published six new films arising from contributor’s research.

In total these events were attended by over 5,000 people and involved over 500 artists, cultural workers and academics in the research activities of the project.

The project engaged a broad community of PhD research scholars in the fields of performance studies and visual culture, lead by our two doctoral researchers Dr. Augusto Corrieri and Dr. Owen Parry.


2013 – 2014

In its final year Performance Matters produced Crossovers, a major new series of artists’ documentaries and critical dialogue films arising from our research. These films are available to book for public screenings or to purchase as DVDs.

The Performance Matters Archive is a box set of 40 DVDs of documentation of the two main events Performing Idea (2009/10) and Trashing Performance (2010/11) and is housed in publicly accessible archives around the world.

A conversation reflecting on Performance Matters between the three project directors Gavin Butt, Adrian Heathfield and Lois Keidan can be found in Volume 24 Issue 1 of Contemporary Theatre Review and accessed as a free download.


To find out more about the themed years of the project click on the banner headings for each distinct year at the top of this page. 


Images by: Hugo Glendinning and Christa Holka

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Technologies of Spirit, a conversation with Bernard Stiegler

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This Is Not a Dream, international screenings and reviews

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Performance Matters Archive

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Crossovers DVDs series available to purchase

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

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Latest Words & Images

Third Entry

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Notebook sketches

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What We Lost

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