Performance Research is an independent journal/book series championing artistic-led research at the interface between the academy and the profession.

Submitting Institution

Falmouth University

Unit of Assessment

Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts

Summary Impact Type


Research Subject Area(s)

Information and Computing Sciences: Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing
Studies In Creative Arts and Writing: Film, Television and Digital Media
Language, Communication and Culture: Cultural Studies

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Summary of the impact

Performance Research is an independent journal/book series championing artistic-led research at the interface between the academy and the profession. Published by Routledge for ARC a division of the Centre for Performance Research (CPR)[1]. Founded as a cultural and publishing partnership (1995) with Dartington it has developed an identity and frame of intellectual/artistic reference distinct from CPR, forging many developments with partners outwith the academy. CPR's relocation to Falmouth enables both to extend this relationship. PR provides print and on-line platforms for practitioners, arts organisations and researchers. Interdisciplinary in vision, international in scope; it emphasises contemporary performance arts within changing cultures.

Underpinning research

Rather than adopting a standard journal format, PR has created an open publishing context for practical and theoretical research in the field of contemporary performance that is produced by art and performance practitioners and academic researchers. The interchange of performance research between arts practice and academic sphere is at its core and exemplified in the collaborations that run through its pages; e.g. (9:4, 2004) 'On Civility' (Desperate Optimists, Sociétas Raffaello Sanzio, Stut Theatre); or (6:3, 2001) 'Navigations' (tgSTAN, Kevin Mount, Bruce Gilchrist, Molly Davies, Gary Hill and Lone Twin). Promoting this dynamic interchange, the journal has (over the 18 years and 66 issues) mapped thematics, tendencies, and discourses in practice, research and theory, as well as engaging creatively with the implications for critical reflection, documentation and publication that are suggested by the ephemeral event of performance.

Our research has turned attention to the possibilities for performance of a relation between print and digital media and established a platform that can reflect the complexity and range of contemporary performance practices. Working closely with designers, artists, academics, theorists, and writers the journal has developed as a dynamic space that produces a complex network of conversations, connections and possibilities for further exploration, e.g. its role in the emergence of performance writing as a set of practices that has now established international currency.

PR has taken three primary approaches to impact: editorial — underpinning the thematics of a particular issue; design — underpinning the material form of the journal as object; and media — specifically relations between print and screen-based media, e.g. the use of artists' pages in 'Committed to Paper: Curating the Page' (4:3, 1999) and 'On Silence', where text and graphics are a means of providing access to knowledges arising from performance practice. [2]

In the period 2000-2006 PR curated and published four interactive multimedia CDs and DVDs for 'Navigations' (6:3, 2001); 'On The Page' (9:2: 2004); 'On Civility' (9:4, 2004); and 'Digital Resources' (11:4, 2006), and a digital print for 'On Fluxus' (7:3, 2002) [3] as e-publication supplements, in collaboration with the Institute for Digital Art & Technology (iDAT) which begin to explore ways live performance can be documented, analysed and represented across integrated media through the development of the software application Liquid Reader®. [4]

More recently PR has initiated as a long-term project a book series 'Inside Performance Practice' starting with Lone Twin: Goodluck Everybody (2011) and Back-to-Back Theatre: Performance Politics Visibility (2013). Books on the work of BADco, Ong Ken Seng, and Alicia Rios are forthcoming. A parallel series 'Thinking Through Performance' starts with Valentina Valentini's Worlds, Bodies, Matters (2013). [5]

Since 1996 PR has set a standard across other journals in this field for thematic and cross-disciplinary ways of curating the varied materials of artistic and theoretical research. Its output comprises a unique resource for practitioners and researchers: articles, interviews, artists' pages, and performances, seeking to represent, interrogate and reflect upon forms of live and mediated performance arts practice and their discourses. [6]

References to the research

[1] Taylor & Francis Online website:

[2] Performance Research website: see 'Past Issues' for individual issue contents -

[3] Fluxus Performance Workbook -

[4] Institute for Digital Art & Technology -

[5] Centre for Performance Research website:

[6] Abstracting & Indexing: ARTbibliographies Modern; British Humanities Index; Current Abstracts; Humanities International Index; International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance; International Index to the Performing Arts; SCOPUS; Thomson Reuters Arts & Humanities Citation Index.

Details of the impact

The impact of PR is measured both by its sustainability and the network of associations, collaboration, readership and supplementary projects that it has been able to develop as a result of its editorial and publishing approach since its inception in 1996. [1] The following reflect some aspects of this.

Data from Taylor & Francis - with an average print-run of approximately 1000 per issue, PR is distributed and subscribed to in over 25 countries with full institutional subscriptions sustained at ± 240 since 2007, and Online subscriptions (2012) in excess of 1725; our full-article downloads on all platforms has increased from 5,800 in 2007 to 23,200 in 2012 increasing by 53% since 2011 with substantial activity in the UK, USA, Australia, Netherlands, Canada and Turkey and growing activity in India, Israel and South Africa.

Joint Ventures & Collaborations - PR has initiated a number of joint ventures and collaborations with artist-led organisations, the most significant of which are:

Performance Studies International (PSi) - a creative partnership with PSi (from 2009) as an organisation that brings together practitioners and scholars in which PR edits one issue per volume that engages with the theme of the PSi conference and is published at the beginning of the following year's conference to 600+ international participants, providing continuity and resonance for Psi and visibility and dissemination for PR.

The partnership with the Institute for Digital Arts & Technologies (iDAT) (2001 - 2011) produced a software interface 'Liquid Reader' (in three beta-versions) enabling integration of video, audio and text materials on a DVD platform that supplemented and extended the possibilities of the print journal, and enabled supported commissions for artists (see above). [3]

Collaborations with Independent NPOs: PR has also had a long and generative association with the independent art sector in eastern Europe which has produced two issues: (10:2, 2005) 'On Form' as a collaboration with two significant European artist-led contemporary performance journals and non-profit arts organisations, Maska (Ljubljana) and Frakcija (Zagreb); and the recent (18:3, 2013) 'On Scenography' in collaboration Sodja Zupanc Lotker, artistic director of the Prague Quadrennial. [4]

Promoting research/ practice-led educational and international networks — the wide international networks that PR journal continues to develop through its approaches to publication and dissemination have impacted particularly (see above) in fostering productive relationships between artist-led organisations and researchers. Research in performance often sits most productively within arts practice itself — a space that might also be exemplified in the various and increasingly extensive and connected MA networks in Europe and their interfaces with artistic NPOs, for example the 2011-13 Erasmus Intensive on Practicing Composition: Making Practice. [5]

Arts Council UK funding for Artist's Pages' - PR attracted Arts Council funding for a series of commissions for artist's pages in the first three volumes (9 issues) from 1996-1998, and for the first CD-rom supplement (4:2, 1999) 'On Line' . This was an innovative move that supported our research into using the constraints of print as a medium for performance. See for example: Alastair MacLennan (1:1, 1996); Lily Markiewicz (1:1, 1996), Bruce Gilchrist (1:2, 1996); Caroline Bergvall (1:3, 1996), Michael Vorfeld (2:2, 1997); Brigid McLeer (3:2, 1998) and Xu Bing (3:3, 1998). In 2001 the journal was highly commended in the ALPSP / Charlesworth Award for Typographical Excellence in Journal and Serial Publishing.

Performance Writing — the impact of PR is both described through its attention to particular innovative areas of performance, e.g. performance writing, where PR has provided a research context for innovation and discussion in this emerging practice-e.g. 'Letters from Europe' (2:2, 1997), 'Openings' (5:2, 2000), 'On Editing' (7:1, 2002), 'Translations' (7:2, 2002); 'On the Page' (9:2, 2004) which involved commissions from artists and academics - see (9:2, 2004) Section 2 Pageworks pp. 34-91; and our most recent issue (18:5, 2013) 'On Writing & Digital Media'.

Contributors - PR has attracted 1024 individual contributors to date including: BADco/ Jean Baudrillard/ Mieke Bal/ Charles Bernstein/ Jean-Luc Nancy/ Blast Theory/ Simon Critchley/ Steven Connor/ Romeo Castellucci/ Alphonso Lingis/ William Forsythe/ Kirsten Delholm/ Tim Etchells/ Ken Friedman/ Heiner Goebbels/ Goat Island/ Katherine N. Hayles/ Janez Jansa/ Dragan Klaic/ Carolee Schneeman/ Peggy Phelan/ Peter Sellars/ Alastair MacLennan/ Wlodzimierz Staniewski/ Marianne van Kerkhoeven/ Krzysztof Wodiczko [6]

Readership — Online access to PR since 2011 has meant that readership numbers for individual articles are often in excess of 250 and up to 980 (see Robin Nelson, 11:4, 2006) based on statistics which combine cumulative total PDF downloads and full-text HTML views from publication date .[7]

Sources to corroborate the impact

[1] Performance Research website: see links to 'Past Issues' for overview of contents; - http//

[2] Secondary Modern —; Design Stage-;

[3] Performance Studies International website — http// [see Conferences 2009 - 2013]; Joint Venture statement: Performance Research Vol.15, No.2 'MISperformance' (June, 2010) p. 133; i-DAT website —

[4] Maska (Slovenia) —; Frakcija/ CDU (Croatia) -; Praque Quadrennial (Czech Republic) —; Documenta (Kassel, DE) —; Künstlerhaus Mousonturm (Frankfurt) —


[6] Performance Research website -see 'Authors' (1996 - 2013) — http//

[7] Taylor & Francis Online: Readership/ Citations —