Research Students

Catherine Butterworth

(Director of Studies Dr. Julie Sheldon, 2nd Supervisor Prof. Colin Fallows)

Catherine Butterworth is a PhD researcher in curatorial practice at Liverpool John Moores University with a focus on Live Art. From 1999-2005 Catherine was Live Art Curator at Bluecoat Arts Centre, Liverpool, where she curated many performance programmes and organised a number of seminars and conferences, most notably ‘You Are Here’ in 2002 and ‘Liverpool Live’ in 2004, both in partnership with Liverpool Biennial. She was a founding member of Live Art UK, a consortium of Live Art promoters and agencies, set up to research and develop innovative curatorial projects that subsequently included a collaboration with curators from Beijing and the production of a UK-wide tour of Live Art from China. Catherine has published a number of articles and essays in publications including the British Council’s ‘On Tour’ publication, ‘Dance Theatre Journal’, ‘Art in a City Revisited’ and ‘Maternal Matters and Other Sisters’. She has presented papers at a number of conferences including Mid-West American Theatre conference, Performance Studies International 2000 and The Arts Symposium at New York University. 

Title of Thesis:
Curating Live Art: Strategies for Critical Sustainability, Artist Development and Diversified Audience Engagement

Research Aims:
The thesis will argue that certain established discourses around the support and presentation of Live Art currently serve to perpetuate its marginalisation rather than offer insight into its development and successes, creating a discrepancy between the perception of Live Art’s position within a broader UK arts ecology and a more realistic overview. Specifically:

To assess and define the nature and extent of developments, over a significant 30-year period (1979-2008), in Live Art programming in the UK and to identify both key successes and failures in the attempt to establish a distinct framework for Live Art. 

To consider the proposition that Live Art in a UK context functions as a cultural strategy that subverts and negotiates a mainstream and dominant arts infrastructure, and to examine how the discourse around Live Art has contributed to this understanding of the term as a strategy, rather than as an art form, in order to identify why and how this has been problematic from a curatorial and theoretical perspective.



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