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Personal profile


Eleanor Roberts is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Drama, Theatre & Performance.

In her research Roberts is interested in mapping and developing feminist historiographies of performance, and thinking about new ways of approaching the archive. Her work so far has focused on performance and visual art in the 1960s and 1970s, conceptual and participatory art, contemporary feminist live art, and practices of institutional critique. Her research is located at disciplinary intersections of art history, performance studies, visual culture, and gender and sexuality.

Roberts' PhD (Queen Mary University of London) looked at performance at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts gallery in the 1970s, and involved archive and interview-based methods. Her work has been published in Contemporary Theatre Review, Oxford Art JournalArt Monthly, and the collections Live Art in the UK: Contemporary Performances of Precarity (2020), and Performance, Subjectivity and Experimentation (2020). Her most recent article considers Asian performance art in 1970s London in relation to black radicalism and anti-racist art movements.  

Roberts regularly collaborates with Live Art Development Agency, and in 2015 co-organised Are We There Yet? - A Study Room Guide on Live Art and Feminism with LADA and Prof. Lois Weaver. This project sought to chart histories of live art and feminism in the UK via archival research, interviews, and public talks and events. It involved bringing together a range of women and gender non-conforming artists spanning across generations, and culminated in a print and online publication. Roberts also co-curated Live Art and Feminism in the UK, an online Google Cultural Institute exhibition. 



PhD Queen Mary University of London, QMUL Studentship

MA Goldsmiths College, Goldsmiths Scholarship

BA (Hons) University of Bristol

Professional affiliations

Association for Art History, Member

Higher Education Academy, Fellow

Theatre and Performance Research Association (Co-Convenor, Documenting Performance Working Group)

Research interests

performance historiography and documentation; archives; 1960s; 1970s; gender and sexuality; queer and feminist theory; performance, identity and radical political movements; live art; performance art; countercultures; modernism and the avant-garde; museum studies; contemporary art and visual cultures.

Roberts welcomes enquiries about PhD and Dissertation supervision in any of these areas.

Research projects

Restock, Rethink, Reflect: Live Art, Feminism and the Archive, September 2013 – January 2015. Creative Voucher Scheme partnership between Live Art Development Agency (LADA) and Prof. Lois Weaver, Queen Mary University of London.

This research involved an initial survey of LADA’s open access archive of over 6,000 items, focusing on visibility and representation of feminist art, and in collaboration with Prof. Lois Weaver identifying and developing ways in which knowledge of ‘undocumented’ or under-represented practice and dialogue might be disseminated. Outcomes included a booklet and corresponding website, a free Wikipedia ‘edit-a-thon’ where members of the public were trained by Wikimedia UK on how to edit and write Wikipedia articles, and a series of research events and interviews, and public talks.


Roberts' teaching covers a wide range of topics and periods, and involves both practical and seminar-based study. Recent teaching includes:

  • undergraduate modules including Performance and HistoryWriting in Performance, and Contemporary Professional Practices;
  • special topics including Representing Women and Performance Countercultures;
  • MA workshop on 'Fiction as/and Methods' and PhD workshop 'Archives and Performance';
  • Roberts welcomes enquiries about PhD supervision, and is currently supervising PhDs on contemporary queer feminist live art, and Irish live art in the 1980s and 1990s. Please see research interests for supervision areas.

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output

Charlotte Moorman and Avant-Garde Music: A Feminist History of Performance Experimentation

Roberts, E., 2020, (Accepted/In press) Performance, Subjectivity and Experimentation. Laws, C. (ed.). Leuven University Press, (Orpheus Institute Series).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Performance and Prostitution: The Magazine Actions of Cosey Fanni Tutti

Roberts, E., 2020, (Accepted/In press) Live Art in the UK: Contemporary Performances of Precarity. Chatzichristodoulou, M. (ed.). Methuen Drama: Bloomsbury

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Edge of an Era: Performance Then and Now

Roberts, E., Feb 2019, Live Art Development Agency.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Open Access

Review; 'Aaron Williamson: Retrospective and New Work'

Roberts, E., Sep 2019, In : Art Monthly. 429, p. 34

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review


  • 6 Invited talk
  • 4 Participation in conference
  • 1 Fellowship awarded competitively
  • 1 Contribution to the work of national or international committees and working groups

Terra Foundation for American Art Award 2019

Eleanor Roberts (Organiser)


Activity: Public engagement and outreachFellowship awarded competitively

‘Stitches in Time: Domestic Handicraft as/and Institutional Critique in the 1970s’

Eleanor Roberts (Invited speaker)

30 May 2019

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

Co-convenor, Documenting Performance Working Group, Theatre and Performance Research Association

Eleanor Roberts (Organiser)

2019 → …

Activity: Public engagement and outreachContribution to the work of national or international committees and working groups

TaPRA: Theatre and Performance Research Association Conference (Exeter 2019)

Eleanor Roberts (Speaker)

4 Sep 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference