Sunday, 13 December 2009

Lecture in Leipzig

Heike presented a lecture, entitled Eventful Evidence: Between Memory and Archive, as part of the ARCHIV/PRAXIS Arbeitstagung Conference, Tanzarchiv und Universität Leipzig, 10–13 December 2009.

For future presentations visit

Monday, 7 December 2009

The Gingell archive - continued

In the past week, we've finished working through John Gingell's archive, collecting the final few photos and scans of documents and also going through a huge number of negatives of performances, mainly from the early 1970s. Now, Rebecca is going to begin contacting Zoo Group members to arrange a reunion. If you were a member of the Zoo Group and you'd like to be a part of this, please get in touch.

We have also been given a TV documentary from 1975 on Llanover Hall, which includes some wonderful footage of John Gingell building his tower beside the hall, and talking about the ideas behind it. The tower was unfortunately pulled down and replaced by a car park. The picture here shows Mike Pearson marking where the original tower stood, long gone, but not forgotten.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Sited Interview: Mike Pearson in Cardiff

View IWFYAT-Site-1 in a larger map

We organised our first Sited Interview today with Mike Pearson. Mike took us back to a number of performance sites in Cardiff that were active in the late 1960s to the mid-1970s and spoke about his memories of works that he saw or performed there. These included the lecture theatre in the former Arts Block of Cardiff University, now the Law Building (where the Pip Simmons Group once performed); the School of Engineering (where Geoffrey Axworthy programmed a season of experimental theatre work in the early 1970s); the former Casson Theatre; Llanover Hall in Canton, home to numerous workshops and summer schools; and the Sherman Theatre, which opened in 1973 with a special performance by Welfare State. Among the sites that have since disappeared is the shop in Queen Street (now buried under the Capitol Shopping Centre) where Christine Kinsey and Bryan Jones organised art events in 1969, prior to opening Chapter.

Full video documentation of the site visits with Mike will be available soon.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Barry Summer School

Heike and Rebecca met up with Eira Moore today in her house in Barry for cake and a chat about the legendary Barry Summer School. Eira's late husband, Leslie Moore, was Vice-Principal of the School during its most important period in the 1960s and 1970s. Then, the Barry Summer School was a place where tutors such as Tom Hudson, George Brecht, Robin Page, John Epstein and many others pioneered new approaches to art education. Eira herself, who trained in movement with Rudolf Laban, taught at the School for a couple of years.
If you were a student or teacher at Barry Summer School, please get in touch with the project!

Tom Hudson at the Barry Summer School 1965, introducing a programme of happenings.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Research Seminar at York St John University

Heike presented a research seminar, entitled 'Performance (in) History – Archives, Memories and Re-enactments', at York St John University on the 23 November 2009.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Research Seminar at Surrey University

Heike presented a Research Seminar, entitled 'Eventful Evidence: Performance Historiographies', at the Department of Dance, Film and Theatre at Surrey University on the 20 November 2009.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

John Gingell's collection of papers and documents

We've been working on John Gingell's archive in Cardiff.  Gingell taught at Cardiff College of Art (now Cardiff School of Art and Design) from the mid-1960s. He co-founded the 'Space Workshop' or 'Third Area' at the College, from which many performance and time-based artists emerged over the years. He was also a member of the Zoo Group, which created collaborative performance events in the early 1970s.

The archive is fascinating, with hundreds of photos of performances, along with scripts, notes, cast lists and the odd prop.  We hope to add all of this into our database soon and then post it on the website.

If you were one of John Gingell's students, or part of the Zoo Group, then we'd love to hear from you.  Please email

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Oral History Training

Heike took part in the Digitisation and Digital Editing: An Introduction for Oral Historians training at the British Library in London today. More information on the course is available here:

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Conference Presentation in Lithuania

Heike presented 'Performing the History of Performance: Re-enacting 1960s performance art' at the The Past is Still to Change: Performing History from 1945 to the Present International Conference, which took place at the Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania, from the 21 - 23 October 2009. The paper discussed Heike's 're-do' of the Aberystwyth Fluxconcert 1968. More information on the Fluxconcert is available here:

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Third phase of the project

The third phase of the project (1 October 2009 - 31 March 2010) intends to:
- undertake a series of archival visits
- undertake a number of oral history interviews
All data from the research will be entered into the project's database and transcriptions from the interviews will be made available online in due course.

Photo from a happening in Cardiff in the mid-1960s. If you have any information on this event please get in touch!

Sunday, 27 September 2009

National Arts Education Archive - Tom Hudson

Heike and Rebecca spent two days at the National Arts Education Archive at Bretton Hall, in Yorkshire. Bretton Hall used to be part of the University of Leeds, specialising in music, art, drama and teacher training courses in the main. It's been closed for a few years now, and the campus is an eerie place; it looks like a normal university, but all signs of life have disappeared.
We were there to look through the Tom Hudson collection. Hudson was an artist, but is better known as an art educator. He was appointed as head of Cardiff College of Art in 1964, and introduced courses that emphasised the creative process, and innovative ways of approaching art. It was during his time in charge that the ‘Third Space’ for performance art or time-based art was established.

The collection contained lots of exciting finds, including colour slides of performances, and films of colour experiments, in which students were dressed and painted in greens and purples, then filmed walking through Cardiff. We hope to be able to make some of this available in the future on our database.

There has been some uncertainty over the future of the archive. Bretton Hall is now being turned into a luxury hotel and conference centre. Fortunately, several institutions have agreed to jointly run the archive, and the collection will remain intact.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Workshop presentation in Bristol

Heike presented Oral Histories of Performance and ran a workshop on using oral histories to document performance work at the Digital Documentation and Performance training event, hosted by JISC Digital Media and the University of Bristol Drama Department in Bristol on the 23 – 25 September 2009.


(Detail of Becoming-snail performance by Paul Hurley, which was being documented through various means by the workshop participants– Photo: Sara Popowa)

The event consisted of three one-day enquiries into the topics of creating, managing and delivering digital documentation of performance work, which mixed presentations with hands-on practical workshops. More information on the event can be found here:

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Symposium presentation in Newcastle

Heike presented 'An Oral History of Performance Art in Wales' at the NOTES on a Return symposium, which took place at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on the 4 and 5 September 2009.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Project Steering Committee

We're pleased to announce that our steering committee has been appointed, and we will hold our first meeting on September 2nd in Chapter, Cardiff. The members of the committee are drawn from a variety of backgrounds, including art history, performance studies, archival expertise and practising artists. They are:

Mr David Alston, Arts Council, Arts Council of Wales
Dr Ivor Davies, Artist
Prof Sioned Davies, Chair of Welsh, Cardiff University
Mr Arwel Jones, Director of Public Services, National Library of Wales
Prof Adrian Kear, Head of School of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, Aberystwyth
Prof Mike Pearson, Professor of Performance Studies, Aberystwyth University
Dr Dorothy Rowe, Senior Lecturer in Art History, University of Bristol
Prof André Stitt, Centre for Fine Art Research, CSAD, UWIC

Heike and Rebecca are very pleased that they have agreed to join the project, and we look forward to working with them.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Research Themes

The project will be focussing its research primarily around the following themes:

1. Performance and Pedagogy - the emergence of performance art in the context of new approaches to art education at Cardiff College of Art, Newport School of Art, the Barry Summer School etc in the 1960s. Of special interest here is the work of Tom Hudson and John Gingell at Cardiff.

2. Networks, Internationalism and Student Politics - the role of student-run university art festivals in Swansea, Aberystwyth, Cardiff and Bangor in the late 1960s

3. New Infrastructures – the emergence of art centres at Cardiff (Chapter and Sherman), Aberystwyth and Swansea (Taliesin) and their role in the development of performance art in the early 1970s

4. British Performance Art between Theatre and Art in the early-mid 1970s. This will include a closer look at the work of Shirley Cameron, Roland Miller, Rob Con, Ian Hinchcliffe, Welfare State and others.

5. Performance Cymraeg - the emergence of Welsh identity as a theme in performance art in the late 1970s, including a discussion of the influence of the performance art pavilion at the Wrexham Eisteddfod 1977 and the work of Paul Davies.

If you have information to offer on any of these themes or the events mentioned we would be pleased to hear from you!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Research Assistant starts today!

We are very pleased to welcome Dr Rebecca Edwards to the project! For a little background information on Rebecca's previous work see the blog entry on the 15 May.

Second phase of the project

The second phase of the project (1 July 2009 - 30 September 2009) will be devoted to:
- inducting and training the new Research Assistant
- arranging archive visits and interviews
- organising existing materials and updating the project database
- undertaking research in various archives, primarily in the National Library of Wales

American Fluxus artist Philip Corner participating in the Assembly Line happening, organised by Tom Hudson, Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre in Cardiff, September 1965. © Tom Hudson estate

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Guest lecture in Frankfurt

Heike presented a guest lecture, entitled 'Performing the History of Performance: Re-enacting 1960s Performance Art', at the Institut für Theater-, Film- und Medienwissenschaft of the Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe- Universität Frankfurt today (30 June 2009). Heike was invited by Professor Hans-Thies Lehmann.

A scene from the Aberystwyth Fluxconcert 1968–2008 'redo', organised by Heike in November 2009 in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the original event. More information available at:

re-launch website and database

The project website has received a bit of an overhaul - the new version is launched today:

We have also updated the project database - the new version will become publicly available online at a later date. For the time being, the previous version of the database is still online at:

Friday, 15 May 2009

Research Assistant appointed

We are pleased to announce that we have appointed Dr Rebecca Edwards to the post of Post-Doctoral Research Assistant on the project. Rebecca conducted her doctoral research into the English-language Welsh music scene of the 1990s at the History Department at Swansea University under the supervision of Prof. Chris Williams. She was awarded her PhD in 2008 for her thesis ‘To show from where we came; Cool Cymru, pop and identity in Wales in the 1990s'.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Presentation in Aberystwyth

Heike contributed a short presentation, entitled 'The Gift of the Archive', to the Out of the Box and Dusted Down: Foraging and Findings – A collective event to welcome Honorary Departmental Fellow Barbara Cavanagh and to introduce the International Theatre Collection as an active TFTS resource. The event was organised by Dr Amy Staniforth on behalf of the Centre for Performance Research at Aberystwyth University on 12 May 2009. Some of the papers from this event are published here:

Friday, 8 May 2009

Conference presentation in Cardiff

Heike presented 'The "What's Welsh for performance?"' archive at a panel on 'Archives as Media of Communication' at the Cyfrwng conference 2009, hosted by the BBC Wales on the 7 and 8 May 2009 in Cardiff. More information on the conference is available here:

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Discussion Chair in Aberystwyth

Heike chaired a discussion with curator Bruce Haines in Aberystwyth today (28 April 2009). The event was organised by Axis as part of their Café Artistique series in collaboration with Showroom and Aberystwyth Arts Centre. Venue was Y Consti on Aberystwyth's Constitution Hill. Bruce is the curator of the 2009 'Wales at the Venice Biennale' exhibition with John Cale, and Bruce and Heike had worked together in February when Heike interviewed Cale for the exhibition catalogue.
Full documentation of the discussion can be downloaded from:

Friday, 3 April 2009

Job advert: Post-doc Research Assistant

The project is looking to appoint a full-time AHRC Funded Post-Doctoral Research Assistant at £30,594 - £35,469 per annum for 21 months (Start date: 1 July 2009) - for full job details see:

Thursday, 2 April 2009

First phase of the project

The first phase of the research project (1 April - 30 June 2009) will be devoted to:
- planning the project
- selecting interviewees
- locating material
- advertising, interviewing and appointing the Research Assistant
- setting up and / or updating the project's website and database

First-ever documented happening in Wales - led by Tom Hudson at the Barry Summer School, Summer 1965 © Hudson estate

Wednesday, 1 April 2009


'"It was forty years ago today": Locating the early history of performance art in Wales 1965–1979' is funded by an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Research Grant.
Each year the AHRC provides funding from the Government to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities, from archaeology and English literature to design and dance. Only applications of the highest quality and excellence are funded and the range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. For further information on the AHRC, please see their website

Project Start

Dr Heike Roms has been awarded a large research grant (worth £165,779) by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The grant will support a two-year research project, entitled “'It was forty years ago today…': Locating the Early History of Performance Art in Wales 1965-1979”. The project will examine how performance art histories are constructed, paying particular attention to the development of the art form in the context of Wales. It builds on Heike's long-term research into the history of performance art in Wales (

Start date of the project is today, 1 April 2009.

For more information on the research project visit: 

This blog will track the progress of the project. Please visit regularly for updates.