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The UK’s first MA Live Art launches at Queen Mary University of London

The School of English and Drama at Queen Mary University of London is set to launch a brand new MA in Live Art, the first of its kind in the UK.

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Credit Billy Sassi
Credit Billy Sassi

Queen Mary’s unique MA puts Live Art at the core of the student experience. The programme, convened by the Drama Department at Queen Mary’s School of English and Drama, will be delivered in partnership with the Live Art Development Agency (LADA), one of the world’s leading centres for Live Art advocacy, preservation, publishing and programming.

What is Live Art?

Live Art is one of the most innovative, and increasingly influential, areas of creative practice in the UK. It has its roots in performance, theatre, dance and the visual arts and is driven by artists who are working across disciplines, contexts and sites.

Live Art opens up new artistic models, new languages for the representation of ideas and identities and new ways of animating spaces and places. It also brings new approaches to engaging audiences and intervening in public life, and new strategies of creative resistance.

The term Live Art does not describe a particular art form or discipline, but encompasses a wide range of approaches to art and performance by artists who work across, in between, and at the edges of more traditional artistic forms.

A recent example of Live Art includes Marina Abramović’s The Artist is Present (2010) where she sat in the atrium of the Museum of Modern Art in New York every day for three months, and invited her audience to sit across from her and commune through a silent exchange of looking.

For LADA Live Art is a way of ‘thinking’ about what art is, what it can say and do, and where and how it is experienced, written about and remembered.

Empowering students  

This taught postgraduate course will be led by research leaders, industry professionals, and high-profile artists. Graduates will gain theoretical and practical grounding in histories and practices of Live Art, while developing their own professional capacities and networks.

Students will learn through studio-based and discussion-led methods including workshops, lectures, master classes as well as fieldwork and professional placements.

The course aims to empower students to understand, challenge and create Live Art – including one-to-one, immersive, durational or site-specific performance. Students will explore how Live Art can be used as a response to some of the most pressing issues of our time including gender, sexual, racial and class identity. The role of Live Art in activism and discourses of dissent, as well as environmental and social justice will also form part of the programme.

First course of its kind

Dr Dominic Johnson, Convenor of MA Live Art at Queen Mary, said: “We are honoured to partner with the Live Art Development Agency and look forward to welcoming our first cohort of students on MA Live Art this September.

“Live Art is a familiar feature of many arts programmes but ours is the first course of its kind in the UK and includes underground, subcultural and stigmatised arts practices. Art should challenge people and it is therefore only fitting that Queen Mary’s MA Live Art will also challenge the way art itself is taught. ”

Lois Keidan, co-founder and Director of LADA and Queen Mary Honorary Fellow said: “LADA is delighted to be Queen Mary University’s partner on MA Live Art. This unprecedented and much anticipated MA represents many of the seismic and influential shifts that have taken place in the teaching and study of Live Art in the UK over the last few decades, and highlights Queen Mary’s exemplary role in legitimising the practice and research of radical experimental performance. The future of Live Art starts here.”

More information

For media information, contact:

Paul Jordan
Faculty Communications Manager (HSS)