Eleanor Roberts
20142021

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Personal profile

Biography

I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Arts, specialising particularly in experimental feminist performance and visual art after 1960. Some of the points of focus of my research have included performance in the 1960s and 1970s, conceptual and participatory art, contemporary queer and feminist live art, theorising the archive, and practices of institutional critique. I consider performance in terms of politically situated creative and critical practices across disciplines, and my research is located at intersections of art history, performance studies, visual culture, and gender and sexuality.

The artists I enjoy writing about tend to be situated at the edges of, across, or outside of more established categories of visual art and performance, and I have published original research on artists such as Rasheed Araeen, Rose Finn-Kelcey, David Medalla, Charlotte Moorman, Cosey Fanni Tutti and COUM Transmissions. My 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). My most recent article considers performance and participatory works by Araeen and Medalla in relation to black radicalism and anti-racist art movements in 1970s London. My 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.

I regularly work with Live Art Development Agency; for example, I co-curated Live Art and Feminism in the UK, a Google Cultural Institute exhibition. In 2013-15 I co-led the Creativeworks funded project 'Live Art, Feminism, and the Archive' with Prof. Lois Weaver in collaboration with LADA. This project sought to chart histories of live art and feminism in the UK via archival research, interviews, and public talks and events, including a Wikipedia edit-a-thon in which the public were trained and supported to enhance representation of feminist art by writing new Wikipedia entries. The project involved bringing together a range of women and gender non-conforming artists spanning across generations, and culminated in a print and online publication Are We There Yet? - A Study Room Guide on Live Art and Feminism

I am currently the project lead for the Techne-AHRC funded series 'Queer Feminist Currents' (2021-22), an interdisciplinary research, knowledge exchange, and graduate training initiative which interrogates key points of convergence and tension in contemporary queer, feminist and decolonial critique.

 

Qualifications

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; decolonial and anti-racist praxis; performance, identity and radical political movements; crip theory; 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

Queer Feminist Currents, 2021-23 Techne Conflux research and development series in collaboration with colleagues in the School of Arts and at Royal Holloway University of London. This interdisciplinary initiative seeks to interrogate queer, feminist and decolonial critique as integrated and integral in contemporary creative and critical practice. Queer Feminist Currents provides a framework for exchange between researchers, and is particularly geared towards graduate student research development and interconnection in the arts and humanities. The series was launched in February 2021 with a study day on 'Queer Futurity', and a lecture by Prof. Jack Halberstam (Columbia University). 

Restock, Rethink, Reflect: Live Art, Feminism and the Archive (2013-15) 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.

Teaching

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 PerformanceCritical Frameworks, and Contemporary Professional Practices;
  • special topics including Representing Women and Performance Countercultures;
  • MA and PhD workshops on archival research and other topics;
  • 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.