What we do

LADA develops specialized resources, opportunities, projects and publishing activities for artists, audiences, students, researchers, teachers, writers, producers and promoters in the UK and internationally.

1. Projects

LADA works on curatorial projects, programming partnerships, and dialogues and debates to develop new contexts, discourses, and audiences for Live Art.

LADA’s curatorial projects such as Live Culture at Tate Modern (2003), and China Live at the V&A (2005) addressed the place of Live Art within the contemporary museum, whilst collaborations with the Bluecoat and Liverpool Biennial (2002-08) and ARCO (2008) have considered the possibilities of live practices within the context of international art Biennials.

Other curatorial projects are more thematic in their approach. Performing Rights (since 2006) is an ongoing collaboration with Queen Mary University of London exploring issues of performance in relation to human rights and social, political and cultural change; Variety Acts with De La Warr Pavilion (2005) aimed to reflect the ways in which artists are engaging with popular cultural forms; Louder Than Bombs with Stanley Picker Gallery (2010) looked at the relationships between art, activism and social change, and M21 From The Medieval to the 21st Century with DASH (2012) was a programme of Live Art interventions by disabled artists in the birthplace of the Olympic Games.

As well as curatorial events and programming partnerships, LADA develops stranded activities such as Restock, Rethink, Reflect (2006-18), an ongoing series of public programmes, professional development activities, and archival and publishing initiatives for and about artists who are engaging with issues of diversity and identity politics in radical ways.

Live Art Unpacked extends LADA’s work into a diversity of international contexts, and furthers collaborations with organisations and artists, by offering a range of programming packages including artist’s films drawn from the Agency Documentation Bank, illustrated talks, and artists’ development activities. Unpacked activities have taken place In Spain, Finland, India, Czech Republic, Brazil and Germany.

LADA also works to support the development of new critical discourses and public debates around Live Art practices.

Ego (2001) was a series of public dialogues with prominent artists and scientists on the intersection of art and science in London’s Old Operating Theatre; the Marked Symposium at Arnolfini (2002) explored the influence of Gina Pane on contemporary practices; Reading Performance Art From Then till Now for the Whitechapel Gallery’s Short History of Performance (2002) debated issues around the representation of performance beyond the 'live'; the SPILL Festival of Performance Symposium (2007) explored the challenges and possibilities of new UK and international theatre practices and models, Labour Practices in collaboration with At Your Service (2009) was about the ideas, and ethics, of service and labour as creative strategies; Falafel Road with Artsadmin, Iniva at Rivington Place, and the Serpentine Gallery (2010) looked at food as a political site; Performance Matters explored the cultural value of performance through different forms of public dialogues between artists and academics (2009-12); and Performance and Politics in the 1970s explored, recovered and communicated the history of performance art in London and the UK in the 1970s.

Alongside these public debates, LADA also hosts Gatherings in our Study Room around specific themes and issues and led by invited artists.

2. Opportunities

LADA provides artistic development activities for artists, support for Higher Education, and professional development initiatives for the Live Art infrastructure.

a. Opportunities for Artists

The exploratory, interdisciplinary and itinerant practices of Live Art ask for different approaches to, and new models of, artistic development strategies.

LADA offers a range of artistic development schemes in collaboration with practitioners and organisations that aim to respond to, and support, the needs and expectations of artists as they change throughout their career: from those of recent graduates and emerging artists (Talking Shop, EEC, Fresh, SPILL) to those of artists who have developed a substantial body of work over many years (One To One Individual Artist BursariesLegacyand the Arthole Artist's Award).

LADA is committed to supporting artists to self determine their own development and pursue bespoke artist-led strategies that are appropriate for their practice. The annual DIY scheme specifically invites proposals from artists to conceive and run innovative and idiosyncratic artistic development programmes for other artists and is run in collaboration with partner organisations throughout the UK.

To stimulate new processes and approaches, LADA collaborates on workshops with leading UK and international practitioners within the context of its broader programmes. Performance Matters hosted a series of contextualising workshops with Ong Keng Sen, Julie Tolentino, Janine Antoni, Vaginal Davis and Oreet Ashery; Janine Antoni’s performance laboratory Lore and Other Convergences for Restock Rethink, Reflect One considered ideas of process and product in art making; Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s Masterclass for Live Culture explored questions of collaboration and cross-racial unity through experimental art; and John Jordan’s Creative Resistances workshop for Performing Rights, looked at methodologies of art and activism.

LADA works in partnership with Queen Mary, University of London, and the Spill Festival of Performance on platforms/showcases and other specialized programmes to provide creative and instrumental opportunities for graduates and emerging artists at a critical stage in the development of a professional practices.

LADA hosts short, research based, Study Room residencies by international and UK practitioners.

b. Opportunities for Higher Education

LADA works to support Live Art in Higher Education by contributing to research, study, and teaching at individual and institutional levels.

 "The Theatre & Performance programme at Plymouth University prides itself on preparing rigorously trained practitioner-scholars who are able to create and critique contemporary performance material. As part of this process, it is important to introduce our students to a wide variety of making-strategies, and each year we provide each of our first year students with a collection of critical texts to support their development.

The Live Art Development Agency's Unbound shop stocks such a wide range of materials, many of which are designed to speak directly to the emerging practitioner, which made it easy to find a collection of original and stimulating sources, and order multiple copies of each. In future, I look forward to working with LADA to develop a rich and engaging reading list to ensure that our students are provided with a range of cutting-edge reflections upon contemporary theatre and Live Art practices."

                             Dr Lee Miller, Theatre & Performance, Plymouth University

The Study Room is a unique resource for individual study and research into Live Art theory and practice for those at BA, MA and postgraduate levels. LADA particularly welcomes student groups in the Study Room and is able to offer introductory sessions to LADA and to Live Art. Please contact us on info@thisisLiveArt.co.uk if you wish to arrange a group visit.

LADA’s online shop, Unbound, specializes in materials related to Live Art, performance and interdisciplinary art practice, including key texts, hard-to-find artists’ books and teaching resources. LADA can provide suggestions and easy to order systems for tutors and librarians. To receive more information on Unbound orders for Higher Education please contact LADA on info@thisisLiveArt.co.uk.

LADA supports the development of Live Art in Higher Education by encouraging relationships between institutions and artists, offering talks, information, advice to support the specialised development of students and graduates. To discuss talks and other support for Higher Education please contact LADA on info@thisisLiveArt.co.uk.

Since 1999, LADA has collaborated with Queen Mary, University of London on various research and archival projects, alongside programmes which offer support structures for graduates and emerging artists based in London, including platforms, advice and mentoring. These include Are We There Yet? (on Live Art and Feminism), Afterlives, East End Collaborations, and Fresh. In 2017, LADA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Drama at Queen Mary University of London, in 2018-19 launched a new MA Live Art, a postgraduate course dedicated to the research, practice, and programming of Live Art.

LADA was a partner with University of Roehampton and Goldsmiths, University of London on Performance Matters (2009-12), a creative research project bringing together artists, curators and academics to investigate the challenges that contemporary performance presents to ideas of cultural value.

LADA runs an informal Live Art in Higher Education E-List to circulate useful information, resources and opportunities to tutors and course leaders. To be added to the HE E-List, please contact LADA on info@thisisLiveArt.co.uk.

c. Opportunities for the Live Art Infrastructure

LADA works to support the development of Live Art in the UK through the coordination of the national Live Art UK network, and by working in partnership and dialogue with organisations and policy makers in the UK and internationally.

Live Art UK is a national network of 24 venues, promoters and facilitators who collectively represent a range of practices and are concerned with all aspects of the development and promotion of the Live Art sector. Live Art UK members work collectively and individually to support and enhance the development of the Live Art sector by promoting greater awareness and understanding of Live Art; by providing resources and opportunities for others to support the development of the sector; and by informing regional, national, international policy and provision for Live Art.

Live Art Unpacked supports UK and international organisations to develop Live Art programmes and artists initiatives by offering a range of bespoke packages including artist’s films drawn from LADA's Documentation Bank, illustrated talks and artists’ workshops.  

LADA works in partnership with Artsadmin on the Live Art Advisory Network, providing professional development opportunities for younger London based graduates and artists, including the Talking Shop open access advisory and networking sessions.

LADA undertakes consultancies and collaborations with organisations on the development of Live Art programmes and initiatives, including Bluecoat Arts Centre’s programmes for the Liverpool Biennial, Chinese Arts Centre’s VITAL festivals, and Chelsea Theatre’s Sacred seasons. LADA also produces reports and case studies, including the Focus Live Art report on the challenges facing national policy and provision for Live Art in England (2001) and In Time: A Collection of Live Art Case Studies (2010) with Live Art UK.

LADA is a member of Visual Arts UK and an informal arts & ecology lobbying group led by Platform.

3. Resources

LADA provides access to a wealth of specialised research facilities; information and advice; online films, documents and programming packages; and the distribution of films, publications and materials.

a. Study Room

LADA’s Study Room is a free, open access research facility housing one of the largest publicly accessible collections of Live Art related films and publications in the world. The Study Room is used by artists, students, curators, academics and other arts professionals.

Our Catalogue of Study Room and other resources can be searched through this website. Over 6,500 publications, DVDs and other materials have been catalogued, including special Collections of materials (for example, the Library of Performing Rights and the Neil Bartlett archive); LADA's Documentation Bank of artists' films and documentation; Study Room Guides commissioned from and written by artists; and materials which can be viewed through LADA's Live Online video channel.

b. Unbound

In 2006, LADA set up Unbound, the world’s only online shop dedicated to Live Art related materials. Unbound is a carefully curated site selling books by major publishers; LADA publications, co-publications and DVDs; hard-to-find artists’ publications, editions and DVDs, including on-demand titles. At the heart of Unbound are independent, artist led books, DVDs and editions. Unbound provides a mechanism to draw a critical relationship between the texts published by major publishing houses and those materials that are self published by artists and arts organisations.

Unbound also curates specially selected ‘shelves’ of titles for limited periods in collaboration with festivals and key events across the UK, such the SPILL specials shelf during the SPILL Festival.

As writer in residence at LADA between 2009 and 2010, Mary Paterson used Unbound as a tool and a provocation to explore the relationships between Live Art and its audiences, documentation and representations. The residency resulted in the text A Navigation Through Unbound.

c. Online resources and other information

LADA, in collaboration with the British Library, maintains the Live Art Collection, a growing archival resource of Live Art related websites.

LADA's You Tube Directors Channel LiveArtOnline contains a collection of films and resources posted to You Tube by artists.

Selected documentation of LADA's Symposium for Live Culture at Tate Modern, March 2003 is available on-line.

LADA is a partner on re.act.feminism #2 – a performing archive website.

Some LADA projects and publications function as resources for artists, academics, students and the general public. These include Joshua Sofaer's Many Headed Monster box-set and the online Life Lecture.

This website includes full details about all aspects of LADA's work; a Catalogue of Study Room resources; downloadable documents and other information for artists and others (for example, Frequently Asked Questions by artists and a list of Live Art venues in London.)

4. Publishing

LADA publishes and co-publishes books, DVDs and Artist’s Editions. See LADA's publications and co-publications here.

LADA’s publishing policy involves partnering major publishers on key critical titles; publishing our own books and DVDs; and co-publishing artists’ books, editions and DVDs, including works on-demand. 

LADA specialises in artist-led publications and editions such as Marcia Farquhar’s 12 Shooters and Tim Etchells' Heroes & Heroines of Live Art T-Shirts; innovative print & DVD ‘box sets’ that function as artworks, resources and critical tools, such as Joshua Sofaer’s Performance Pack and The Many Headed Monster, Documenting Live, Access All Areas: Live Art and Disability, and M21: From the Medieval to the 21st Century; and on-demand publications and DVDs.

LADA also issues open calls for proposals for submissions for the Live Art Almanac, a biennial international co-publication which draws together a wide range of writing on and around Live Art ranging from more traditional forms such as newspaper, journal and magazine articles, and lectures to blogs, Facebook pages and emails. Editions of the Live Art Almanac have been published in partnership with Oberon Books, Live Art UK, PS 122 (New York, USA), Performance Space (Sydney, Australia), La Pocha Nostra (San Francisco, USA), and Maska (Ljubljana, Slovenia).

LADA partners major publishers on key critical titles including Out of Now - The Lifeworks of Tehching Hsieh, a co-publication with The MIT Press; Live: Art and Performance with Tate Publishing, Programme Notes: Case studies for locating experimental theatre and The Live Art Almanac Volume 3 and 4, both co-published with Oberon Books; and Perform, Record, Repeat with Intellect Books.

In 2013, LADA and Intellect Books launched Intellect Live, a series of publications on influential artists working at the edges of performance. The series is characterized by lavishly illustrated and beautifully designed books, created through close collaborations between artists and writers, each of which is the first substantial publication dedicated to an artists’ work. Intellect Live titles focus on the work of Raimund Hoghe (2013), Ron Athey (2013), Lois Weaver (2015), and Adrian Howells (2016).

LADA also publishes a range of free documents on key Live Art challenges, issues and practices as PDF downloads.

LADA’s publishing work is directed by a Publishing Committee, composed of distinguished writers, artists, scholars and publishers.

LADA is open to proposals for collaborations on distinctive publications and DVDs. Please contact us on info@thisisliveart.co.uk if you wish to make a proposal.

All LADA publications and much more can be purchased through Unbound, LADA's online shop for Live Art books, DVDs and limited editions. LADA's publications are also distributed to bookshops/events through Central Books. Please contact LADA if you wish to discuss our publishing, distribution or ideas for publication events.