Performance art



21 June 2011

A new website featuring a database of performance art events in Wales between 1965 and 1979, has been launched by researchers at the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies.

Featured on“It was forty years ago today...” Locating the Early History of Performance in Wales 1965-1979”), are events such as ‘Happenings’ in Cardiff in 1965, ‘Fluxus’ in Aberystwyth in 1968, ‘Destruction in Art’ in Swansea in 1969, improvised music in Anglesey in 1970 and performance art at the Wrexham Eisteddfod in 1977.

The team studied some of the major developments in international artistic experimentation during the latter half of the twentieth century as they touched a vibrant but comparatively marginal cultural context: that of Wales between 1965 and 1979.

Dr Heike Roms, a senior lecturer at the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, and research assistant, Dr Rebecca Edwards, spent two years consulting a wide range of archival sources. 

Dr Roms said: “We researched items from a broad range of sources from the collections of the National Library of Wales to the Tate Archive in London and numerous private collections in addition to interviewing key protagonists of this history.”

The project makes freely available to other researchers the outcomes of this research, including: a fully searchable online database of performance art events in Wales 1965-1979 which currently details nearly 700 events created over the span of fifteen years. 

It also indexes the current location of available documentation on these events. In addition, the project produced over 40 oral history recordings and transcripts, which will be deposited in key archives.

Dr Roms continues: “The hope is that the information will be used to gain a better insight into the manner in which performance art, as an artistic movement of international reach, and its affiliated networks and institutions emerged and developed within specific local cultural contexts, in Wales, the UK and beyond.”

The website and online database was officially launched at the Cyfrwng International Conference, hosted by the University of Glamorgan, on Friday 17 June 2011.

‘“It was forty years ago today…”: Locating the Early History of Performance Art in Wales 1965–1979’ has been supported by a large research grant of £165,779 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) (2009–2011).