Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance

Visiting address
211 Jubilee, Digby Stuart


Adrian is Professor of Performance and Visual Culture at Roehampton, based in the Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance.

He is currently conducting Curating the Ephemeral, a research project investigating immaterial art and curatorial practice within and without visual art institutions. Curating the Ephemeral is funded by the European Union. In the first two years of this research Adrian was Marie Curie International Fellow in the School of Arts at Columbia University, New York.

He is an artistic director with the collective freethought of the 2016 Bergen Assembly, Norway. Adrian was a curatorial advisor and attaché for the 20th Biennale of Sydney, 2016. He was co-director, with Gavin Butt and Lois Keidan, of Performance Matters, a four-year AHRC funded research project on the cultural value of performance (2009-2013).

Recent works include two documentary films - Technologies of Spirit: a conversation with Bernard Stiegler and No Such Thing as Rest: a walk with Brian Massumi - part of a series of Performance Dialogue works made with photographer Hugo Glendinning.

The critical anthology Adrian co-edited with Amelia Jones, Perform, Repeat, Record: Live Art in History, is available from Intellect Books and from the University of Chicago Press in the USA. A Chinese translation of his monograph Out of Now: The Lifeworks of Tehching Hsieh (MIT Press and the Live Art Development Agency 2009) was published by the Taipei Fine Arts Museum and Art & Collection Group.

Adrian's other books include Live: Art and Performance, Small Acts and Shattered Anatomies: Traces of the Body in Performance. His numerous essays have been translated into eight languages. 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 fifteen years. He has worked with many artists and thinkers on critical and creative collaborations.

He has received numerous research awards, and was President of Performance Studies international (2004-2007).

Research interests

Adrian's research has focused on performance as an interdisciplinary phenomenon spanning live art, experimental theatre, contemporary dance, installation, moving image and sited art works. It draws from thought in the traditions of continental philosophy, phenomenology, visual and cultural studies. Specific foci over the last fifteen years have included: ethics and aesthetics, theories of corporeality, memory, trauma and death studies, the document and the archive, dialogue as critical practice, affect theory and notions of temporality. His written work has questioned the ethics of encounter between the spectator and the art work, elaborating its significance through debates on the status of sensory experience within cultural knowledge, relations between time and economy, the politics of commemoration and shifts in the perception and presentation of mortality. His practice-as-research work has spanned the curation of performance events, the writing of dialogues and convening of symposia with renowned artists and thinkers, and the creation of films and performance lectures all shown in international cultural sector contexts.

Consultancy work

Adrian has taught performance practice and theory and he has given research lectures in many different contexts internationally. His work as an educator extends beyond university environments into the cultural sector internationally, where he often creates practical workshops involving established and emerging artists. He has worked in numerous arts institutions and locations including: Columbia University, New York; Mapa Teatro, Bogotá; UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro; Kunstlerhaus Mousonturm and Motion Bank, Frankfurt; Theater Academy of Finland, Helsinki; Impulstanz and Tanzquartier, Vienna; Nordscen in Vilnius, Lithuania, Danish National Theatre School Copenhagen and Bergen, Norway; Goat Island Summer School in Chicago and Bristol; and Tate Modern, London. He has run collaborative workshops with Tim Etchells (Forced Entertainment), Lloyd Newson (DV8) and the choreographer Jonathan Burrows.


Adrian has supervised numerous research degrees, with PhD and MRes students completing theses in areas as diverse as: the clown and laughter, trauma theory and testimony in arts practice, feminist performance and catharsis, performance activism and the city, space and dance-theatre, the relations between photography and performance, medical discourse and the performing body, postdramatic theatre, sonic installation and the witness, performance and the object, masochism and performance, and national identity in post-colonial theatre. He is currently supervising theses on feminist performance, materialism and waste, sculpture, installation and the senses, and choreographies of exposure. He welcomes applications from research students wishing to study in any area of contemporary live, performance and interdisciplinary art, particularly projects focused around issues of embodiment, time, spirit, performative writing, curation, mortality, and the liminal. Adrian has supervised fifteen doctoral theses to completion.


Research outputs

  1. Curator: Doing Time

    Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

  2. Doing Time

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

  3. Glimmers in Limbo: Inhuman Animations, Child’s Play and the Coming Catastrophe

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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