Audience Participation in Performance-based Art

Research Project Description
This PhD project aims to explore the opportunities of audience participation for the documentation and conservation of performance-based artworks with the objective to reflect on this emerging practice and to contribute to the development of documentation methods accommodating future re-execution. In doing so, it addresses urgent questions about distributed responsibilities, the longevity and re-execution of performances and their documentation emerging in the wake of live-art accessioning. Whereas recent research has shown that the perpetuation of performance-based art in a museum context highly depends on external memory holders (e.g. artists, audiences, performers), traditional models of museum documentation rarely include the engagement of the audience.
In light of this, the project will examine the viability of public participation in conservation practices, and explore how such practices might be of benefit in relation to live art conservation. During an internship at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and on the basis of case study research at different museums, this project will therefore develop strategies to include audiences in conservation practices – both their views and interpretations of the live work and how they engage with it. I will be adopting a biographical approach (van de Vall et al. 2011; Kopytoff 1986; Gosden and Marshall 1999; Hoskins 2006), with a foundation built on practice theory (Shatzki et al. 2001; Nicolini 2012; van Saaze 2013). The overriding methodology will be ethnography, with participant observation and interviews featuring as the primary methods (Atkinson et al. 2007; O’Reilly 2009; Robson 2011; Bryman 2001). The research will draw on insights and existing models of oral history and community participation in other fields of heritage to explore to what extent these are helpful for developing such strategies for performance-based art.


Iona Goldie-Scot

Iona Goldie-Scot was awarded Distinction for her MA in Art Business at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London in 2015 having graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2013 with a First Class Master’s degree in Ancient History. Iona held a place on the Dean’s List and was awarded The Kenneth Silver Memorial Prize for academic excellence in 2013. Iona’s research background has primarily focused on archaeological conservation. Her first thesis examined the accelerating destruction of cultural heritage as a result of war and economic crisis, with a particular focus on the then underreported (2012) devastation of Syria. Iona continued exploring this topic in her next thesis investigating dealer strategy in the London and New York antiquities trades. Her most recent professional experience has included working in editorial for an online Contemporary art sales platform and magazine, working for a leading London art gallery and a consultancy role at Sotheby’s Institute.
For more information please refer to her LinkedIn page.

Home Institution
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Maastricht University
Maastricht, Netherlands

Supervisor: Prof. dr. Renée van de Vall, Maastricht University
Co-supervisor: Dr. Vivian van Saaze, Maastricht University
Institutional supervisor: Margriet Schavemaker, Stedelijk Museum

Project Partners
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

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