Skip to main content

Focus Live Art – key challenges

The meetings identified many challenges facing the Live Art sector – challenges for artists, promoters and funders.

This section summarises the challenges identified during the meetings, and groups them under the headings of advocacy, artistic development, infrastructure, and audiences.

The minutes of each meeting note the particular challenges identified for each regional group.


ADVOCACY AND SPEAKING OUT – the challenges of:

  • Talking about what Live Art can do rather than what it is.
  • Expertise and advocacy within the funding system.
  • The eclectic location of Live Art within the funding system: means difficult for funders to address diversity of practice; results in uneven playing field; and means Live Art often falls between the gaps and this has financial implications for the sector.
  • The perception of Live Art as the poor relation.
  • Combating short-term thinking.
  • Nature/diversity of practice, its: form; approaches; and needs.
  • Representational strategies to: ourselves; the system; audiences; and represent the sector as a whole and identifiable body while celebrating the diversity which characterises the sector.
  • “Branding” and “defining” Live Art: the terminology we use; and communicating with different and wide ranging stakeholders (eg from the press to local authorities).



  • Enabling artists to be artists.
  • Process vs product. The right to try and fail.
  • Agenda overload: responding to homogenous boundaries
  • Sustaining careers: enabling longevity; support from cradle to grave; the differing needs of emergent and mature artists (perception that Live Art is the domain of the young); and “retaining” artists and the “talent drain” (from the sector and from regions).
  • The question of higher education: critical/cultural frameworks; new artists/new audiences; and training outside/beyond the existing structures.
  • Recognising, qualifying and maintaining “quality”.
  • Nurturing innovation.
  • Accessing new cultural and artistic agendas (eg new medias and civil liberties).



  • Spaces/places: where?; how and what?; the context (geographic and social)?; and consistency of provision.
  • Spaces/places: limited number of active spaces; and sustaniing activity.
  • Developing partnerships/networks/collaborators.
  • Developing infrastructures without institutionalising, including: networks; touring; internationalism; and challenging short-term thinking.
  • Accessing other arts resources/networks/infrastructures: through cross-disciplinary approaches.


AUDIENCES – the challenges of:

  • Audience and audience development: what?; who?; how?
  • Quality of experience vs quantity of audience.
  • Terminology/public perceptions.
  • Implications of perceptions of exclusivity.
  • Development of critical debate.
  • Challenging the press and developing PR.

We are looking for a better quality image for this page or to replace it if it's missing.

Part of Focus Live Art

A series of meetings key artists, promoters and funders in the UK and a major report on the challenges of Live Art


Young People’s Resource Pack on Live Art

A resource for teachers and students on Live Art and Performance

Read more

Live Art UK

A national network of organisations engaged with all aspects of the development of Live Art in the UK

Read more

Talking Shop

Open advice sessions and networking opportunities for young artists and recent graduates

Read more

East End Collaborations

Support structures for graduates and emerging artists working with Live Art.

Read more

Simplicity and Complicity Workshop

A two-day workshop exploring Live Art and theatre for children

Read more

Focus Live Art

A series of meetings key artists, promoters and funders in the UK and a major report on the challenges of Live Art

Read more