Curating Performance and Performativity as Curatorial Method

The renewed rise of performance and performative formats across curated museum, gallery and research programmes, alongside the growing number of global postgraduate provision situating participatory, socially-engaged performative practice, necessitates a more critically nuanced understanding of the current interchange between performance, performance art, live art and contemporary choreographic practice under the ‘new performance turn’. Departing from the lineage of curatorial frameworks that excavated performance and choreographic practice since the early 21st Century – alongside seminal examples from the 1950’s onwards – this online course will focus on the expansive potential of performance as a mode of production and performativity as a method of curatorial exchange. Course content will highlight critical questions around the potential for performative curatorial activities to both negotiate and critique the systems that capture intimacy, collectivity, transmission, embodiment, mediation, and spectatorship. The course will also provide a range of pertinent examples (both practical and conceptual) to advance more refined subject knowledge and assignments are designed to support individual insights and future projects.

Dr Sarah Spies is a choreographer, performance curator and senior lecturer in contemporary dance and performance art. She is part of Manchester-based artists-led curatorial collective Accumulations and has led and collaborated on numerous internationally funded public research and performative events and programmes.  She is the author of Choreographies of the Curatorial: Performative Trajectories for Choreography and Dance in the Museum (2020) and the co-editor of (Un)Commoning Voices & (Non)Communal Bodies (2021) with Maayan Sheleff. She is also on the editorial board of TURBA – The Journal for Global Practices in Live Arts Curation.