Skip to main content

Marcia Farquhar’s Arthole Artist’s Award: 2016/18 activities

The recipient of LADA’s first ever Arthole Artist’s Award is Marcia Farquhar, a London based artist known for her work in performance, installation, video and object making. Arthole is a LADA initiative intended to plug a hole in art funding for open-ended research and professional development. The biannual Award supports a groundbreaking and inspirational UK-based artist working in Live Art with £10,000 to undertake a self determined two year-long research and artistic development programme. The Award particularly encourages research into a range of critical, cultural, and practical concepts; dialogues and intergenerational collaborations; and ideas of legacy and future potentials. See links below for more background on the Arthole Award.

This webpage gathers updates from Marcia across her 2016/18 award years.

Marcia says: “This award will give me the chance to look back at what I have done over four decades and consider my archive in terms of my performance practice and its future. I look forward to discussions with scholars and practitioners, to engage critically with my work and to develop a deeper understanding of its place in the history of Live Art. I also intend to complete some unfinished business, projects that I will now have the time, space and support to attend to.”

Audio Arthole

Marcia began recording a series of weekly 7-minute podcasts in April 2016, charting her experiences across the 2016/17 Arthole year.

Pushing 60

Marcia Farqhuar’s Pushing 60 was a related podcast project, a daily series leading up to Marcia’s 60thbirthday in 2018 that LADA hosted until 2021 when the series was transformed into a book published by bookartbookshop

Marcia Farqhuar –  “The first year of the Arthole Award enabled a weekly act of spontaneous speech. Once a week I would record a stream of consciousness monologue that would be broadcast, or podcasted, by LADA on Soundcloud. Audio Arthole was a year-long project that showed me the near impossibility of spontaneity. I had to repeat/record/repeat endlessly.

After a year of labour intensive spontaneity I wanted to write for reading aloud in a series of episodes. The opportunity arose when I was invited to extend the Audio Arthole year pending LADA securing a new Arthole Patron. I took up an unfinished work called Pushing 60 begun in 2014 by invitation of Sandra Bartoli. This German based experimental writing initiative asked for writing on a chosen subject in 60 episodes. Sandra’s episodes, since published as Tiergarten, Landscape of Transgression (Park Books, 2018) was riveting. I had no specialist subject, but thought of the number and how I was heading towards the age of sixty. I proposed the comings and goings of a mind contemplating past and future under the influence of a number. Sandra was very enthusiastic.

I began and gave each chapter numerical significance. After ten chapters I got waylaid.  In 2017 when invited to extend the year of Arthole I decided to complete the project before it was too late. I decided to write, record and “go out” onto the air waves each day leading up to my 60th birthday.  This experimental writing/reading project had some enthusiastic followers who encouraged me to carry on. You know who you are and so do I. Thank you all.

I had got it into shape, bound like a student dissertation, to be available at my then exhibition DIFFIKUΛT at The Gallery // Dilston Grove (September – October 2018) to accompany the installation dedicated to Pushing 60. In a room lit only by the soft pink light of a sign at floor level warning to MIND YOUR HEADS and a light up globe, painted black in the seventies, were beanbags for easy listening to the constant presence of my voice intoning all the chapters of Pushing 60.  The bound pages of Pushing 60 had been edited at high speed with great sensitivity and attention to detail by Megan Vaughan. She had added footnotes to help a reader perplexed by the meaning of a Paul Jones or a brutal seminar called EST… It was a wonderful rushed job and I was grateful my poor punctuation would not be revealed.

When the exhibition ended I received an invitation from Tanya Peixoto to publish Pushing 60 through her shop bookartbookshop. Tanya also recommended Alastair Brotchie of Atlas Press to be both my editor and designer. This was at once daunting and thrilling. As editor Alastair proved to be every bit as sensitive as Megan and just as enthusiastic about footnotes or endnotes or at least some sort of key to names and expressions that could be unfamiliar to readers. In rereading my writing knowing it is to be published I have removed certain anecdotes.These seem to be other people’s stories and might not be mine to tell. The question of ‘whose story is it’ haunts the telling of all the stories and portraits in Pushing 60. The removal of the daily chapters that featured in the Souncloud version will mark the end of the original Pushing 60 experiment.

Anyone who is interested in the future iteration can ask to be put on a list by writing to Tanya Peixoto at [email protected]

Or c/o bookartbookshop, 17 Pitfield Street, London, N1 6HB

The book is set to be launched on All Souls’ Day, 2021. 

My deepest thanks to all who have made Pushing 60 possible. Sandra Bartoli for inviting me to write ‘anything’ in sixty pieces, the Arthole Award for enabling such a space as to be able to afford to make this experiment, LADA for hosting facilitating enabling and putting it out into the world, Judith Carlton of Southwark Park Galleries for encouraging an installation to be dedicated to Pushing 60 exclusively rather than the proposed room full of audio collage, works from seventies to present day.  Tanya Peixoto for wanting to publish it, and of course to Megan Vaughan for her excellent proof reading of the raw material and Alastair Brotchie for the intricate labour of editing and designing the upcoming book. Jem Finer who listened and advised is never likely to read any of the thanks I write in his name so it doesn’t matter I can’t find words to communicate anything like sufficient appreciation.”

Marcia Farquhar, June 2021



DIFFIKUΛT at Café Gallery Project, London
13 September to 28 October 2018

Marcia Farquhar, is having a major survey of her work. DIFFIKUΛT features two works that Marcia developed through her Arthole programme Pushing 60 and Vox Box.

Vox Box

Vox Box is a jukebox housing a growing collection of 7” vinyl records of recent audio interviews conducted by Marcia Farquhar with friends and colleagues recalling the work of 1970s artists, activists and performers documented in the Acme Gallery archive or otherwise contemporaneous. These records are mixed up with a selection of hit songs from the same era. The jukebox is installed in LADA’s Study Room (Hackney Wick, London). Opportunities to listen to the jukebox will be announced soon.

Marcia has been engaged in practices of archival research that depart from the scholarly conventions that govern the use of archives. Her creative usage has involved experiments in locating, reanimating and perhaps fabricating or fictionalising histories of performance and politics in the 1970s.

More information and sound files

Vox Box and Glimpses of Before Launch

We wll mark the arrival of Vox Box alongside the launch of Glimpses of Before, a new Study Room Guide on Performance in the UK in the 1970s on Thursday 2 June at 19.00. Glimpses of Before, which will be available online, has been compiled and edited by Helena Goldwater and includes information about artists who were making performance in the 1970s, over 100 images and two introductory texts by Helena Goldwater and Dominic Johnson. All the materials referenced in the Guide and an image archive are now accessible in LADA’s Study Room.

Drinks will be served.

More information

Background to Arthole

The Arthole Artist’s Award was conceived by the artist Joshua Sofaer, and developed by LADA in collaboration with Gary Carter.
The Arthole Artist’s Award 2016/17 Patron is Lucio A C Shala.

The Call for Proposals for the Award
Including background and context to the Award

Announcement of the Awardee

Background information on Joshua Sofaer’s development of the Arthole project,
including the Arthole Cockle Medal for Live Art Philanthropy

Banner image credit:

Marcia Farquhar, Whitstable, By Jem Finer


Diverse Actions Publication: Call for Proposals

A call out for proposals for a publication reflecting on the landscape of diversity within Live Art

Read more

Open Call: Future Proofing bursary

A call for proposals for a bursary of £2,000 to an artist aged under 25 to imagine the future they’d like to see. Deadline Friday 7 February 2020.

Read more

Once More With Feeling: call for proposals

We are seeking proposals for online performance re-enactments or instruction pieces that can be done within the environment/s you are in during lockdown.

Read more

New PhD scholarship on Other Histories of Live Art: Resistant Subjects and Unwritten Acts

Call for applications for new PhD scholarship in partnership with LADA and the University of Roehampton

Read more

Call for proposals: Readings from the Pulpit

We are seeking proposals from artists, writers, educators, and other curious folk who would like to read out 5 minute extracts of books from the Study Room.

Read more

Open Call: performistanbul

LADA is collaborating with Performistanbul on an artistic development programme offering a female identifying performance artist a funded project development workshop and residency.

Read more

Desk Scheme – Open Call Closed

We are re-launching our subsidised Desk Scheme for artists, producers, curators, researchers and writers

Read more

The Live Art Almanac Volume 6: Call for Submissions

We are seeking recommendations for material to include in the Live Art Almanac Volume 6, to be published by the Live Art Development Agency in 2020.

Read more