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Revealing the History of Performance Art in Wales

Informing the presentation, conservation and general understanding of performance art in Wales

Professor Heike Roms’s research into the history of performance art in Wales has informed the professional practices of arts practitioners and cultural institutions in Wales. The project What’s Welsh for Performance (WsWfP) was initiated in 2005 and aims to compile a comprehensive record of performance art and related avant-garde art practices in Wales during the latter part of the 20th Century.

The project has comprised in-depth research conducted in over fifty archives and personal collections, locating and digitising nearly 5,000 documents related to performance art in Wales. This research has been complemented by an extensive oral history programme featuring fifty interviews with artists, administrators and past audience members.

The research has revealed an important and overlooked part of Welsh art history, and has informed how performance art in Wales today is created, funded, administered, exhibited and conserved.

WsWfP rearchers were also consulted by BBC Wales on late 20th Century art in Wales for the series ‘Picturing the Century’ in 2010, and provided the National Eisteddfod Visual Arts Committee with information on past performances for the Eisteddfodau of 2011 and 2012.

“The work has in turn stimulated public institutions to engage in important new exhibitions and presentation of material in the public domain. This has been true for the National Museum in particular with displays in its new wing springing from Heike Roms’s research […]” Arts Director, Arts Council of Wales

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