My research will focus on the under-represented practices of Irish feminist live artists, from their emergence in the 1980s up to the end of the century—a period particularly relevant to today’s political context. I aim to uncover and map these practices. Feminist live artists were making radical work with contentious subjects in a time when women’s history and experience was silenced and ignored.
Therefore, I will consider the practices as unique repositories of Irish herstories (feminist reconfigurations of existing notions of history), and as sites that rupture perceptions of women’s oppression. I will rethink these artists’ performances as affective experiences that give access to intergenerational memory and to an embodied feminist archive. I aim to challenge conventional notions of live art archival representation by developing new historiographical modes of engagement that emphasise embodied experience.
This research takes place with Live Art Development Agency (LADA), the world’s leading organisation for live art, and I will make critical-creative interventions in this major archival resource. I will interrogate the possibilities of affective processes in producing alternative modes of documenting live art, and using methods informed by my artistic practice and feminist and queer approaches to the archive, I will expand the embodied archive of feminist and cultural intergenerational memory. This thesis will be built through a dissertation, a performance-lecture, and a series of workshops, which I will produce in the UK and Ireland with LADA. Beyond live art, my research will have impact on Irish feminist scholarship and contribute to feminist activism which seeks to redress the past and ensure feminist futures.