Dr Harriet Curtis

Job: Senior Lecturer in Drama

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Humanities and Performing Arts

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 257 7504

E: harriet.curtis@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.dmu.ac.uk/harrietcurtis


Personal profile

I joined DMU in January 2019. My interdisciplinary research engages with the history, politics, and aesthetics of performance and visual culture from the 1960s on. I have published and presented in these areas, including articles on performance documentation and archives (Platform, 2014), feminist performance practices (n.paradoxa, 2014), and the body in performance (Performance Research, 2015, 2017), and research papers at TaPRA (Theatre and Performance Research Association), PSi (Performance Studies International), the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association, the Association for Art History conference, and symposia at the Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery and the Arnolfini in Bristol. I have also written reviews for Contemporary Theatre Review, Art History, Feminist Review, Studies in Theatre and Performance, and the Times Literary Supplement. In 2017 I co-edited the first book on the work of interdisciplinary artist Kira O’Reilly (published by Intellect and Live Art Development Agency) entitled Kira O'Reilly: Untitled (Bodies), and I am currently writing a monograph with the working title Aftermaths: Mess and Performance since 1960 (contracted with Routledge).

I am currently an editor of the peer-reviewed journal Studies in Theatre and Performance. At DMU, I am also Deputy Programme Leader for the MA in Performance Practices.

I welcome applications from PhD candidates in areas of performance art, live art, queer, feminist, and activist performance practices, and connections between visual art, theatre, and performance.

Research group affiliations

Institute of Drama, Dance and Performance Studies

Drama Research Group

Publications and outputs

 Edited books

  • Kira O’Reilly: Untitled (Bodies), co-editor with Martin Hargreaves (London: Live Art Development Agency and Intellect, 2017).
  • The Live Art Almanac Volume 4, co-editor with Lois Keidan and Aaron Wright (London: Live Art Development Agency and Oberon Books, 2016).


  • ‘In Bad Taste? Vomit and Disgust in Paul McCarthy’s Performances of the 1970s’, Performance Research, 22.7 (2017), pp. 119-25.
  • ‘Fifty Years since Carolee Schneemann’s Meat Joy (1964): A Review of this Iconic, Historical Performance, its Reiterations, and Influence in Performance Art History’, Performance Research, 20.2 (2015), pp. 118-20.
  • ‘Restaging Feminism in Los Angeles: Three Weeks in January (2012): Three Weeks in May (1977)’, n.paradoxa: international feminist art journal, 34 (July 2014), pp. 77-85.
  • ‘Performance Legacies in Print and Practice: High Performance Magazine, 1978-1983’, Platform: Journal of Theatre & Performing Arts, 8.1 (2014), pp. 29-43.


  • Review: The Methuen Drama Companion to Performance Art (Methuen Drama, 2020), ed. by Bertie Ferdman and Jovana Stokic, in New Theatre Quarterly, 36.4 (November 2020), pp. 386-387.
  • Review: The Sensible Stage: Staging and the Moving Image (University of Chicago Press, rev. edn, 2017), ed. by Bridget Crone, in Studies in Theatre and Performance, 40.2 (June 2020), pp. 224-225.
  • Review: Agency: A Partial History of Live Art (Live Art Development Agency and Intellect, 2019), ed. by Theron Schmidt, in New Theatre Quarterly, 36.2 (May 2020), p. 192.  
  • Review: Theatre, Exhibition, and Curation: Displayed & Performed (Routledge, 2016) by Georgina Guy, in Contemporary Theatre Review, 28.4 (2018), pp. 545-546.
  • Review: Art Labor, Sex Politics: Feminist Effects in 1970s British Art and Performance (University of Minnesota Press, 2015), by Siona Wilson, in Feminist Review, 117 (March 2018), pp. 212-213.
  • Review: On Stage: The Theatrical Dimension of Video Image (Intellect, 2016), by Mathilde Roman, in Times Literary Supplement, No. 5914 (August 2016), p. 31. 
  • Review: Live Art in L.A.: Performance in Southern California 1970-1983 (Routledge, 2012), ed. by Peggy Phelan, in Contemporary Theatre Review, 24.1 (2014), pp. 119-120.
  • Review: ‘From Painting to Performance: Figuring the Abject in Los Angeles Art’ (L.A. RAW: Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles 1945-1980, From Rico Lebrun to Paul McCarthy, exh. cat. by Michael Duncan) in Art History 36.1 (2013), pp. 224-226.

Manuscripts in preparation

  • Studies in Theatre and Performance, Call and Response, Special Issue, edited by Harriet Curtis, melissandre varin, and Carmen Wong, 42.3 (November 2022).
  • Aftermaths: Mess and Performance since 1960 (Routledge: 2024)

Web-based publications

Other publications

  • ‘Editorial’, Studies in Theatre and Performance, 41.2 (June 2021), pp. 133-135.

Research interests/expertise

Performance art, live art, and visual culture (primarily US and UK post-1960)

Interdisciplinary art and performance practices

Performance documentation and archives

Feminist and activist performance practices

The body in performance

Areas of teaching

Theatre and performance theory

Performance studies and interdisciplinary performance and research


Performance art and live art

Modern and contemporary performance



BA (Joint Hons) Art History and English Studies, University of Nottingham (2008)

MA in Art History: Modern Art, Criticism and Display, University of Nottingham (2009)

PhD in Drama, Queen Mary University of London (2014)

Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice in Higher Education, King's College London (2016); Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 

CAHE Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills, Capital City Training College, London (2022)

Courses taught

BA Drama and Theatre Arts: Theatre Company: Ensemble; Acting and Performing; Devised Theatre & Performance; Performance in Context: Culture and Theory; Drama Research Project; Performance as Research; Engaging with Creative Industries.

MA Performance Practices: Negotiated Study; Dissertation; Practical Outcome and Context.

Membership of external committees

Live Art Development Agency Research and Publishing Committee, 2017-ongoing

Membership of professional associations and societies

TaPRA (Theatre and Performance Research Association), Documenting Performance Working Group co-convenor, 2019-2022.

British Academy Early Career Network (Midlands), 2021- .

Conference attendance

Invited talks

  • ‘Mess as Live Art Methodology’, Live Art: Histories of the Present, University of Glasgow, UK, 6-7 April 2022.
  • ‘Practice-based-research in the arts’, Putting Theory into Action: Bridging Research and Teaching, International Teaching and Learning Workshop, Sciences Po, Paris, France, 18-19 June 2018.
  • ‘Document, Audience, Affect: Festival Performances in Los Angeles of the 1970s and 80s’, Critical and Creative Encounters, University of Birmingham, UK, 30 November 2016.

Papers given

  • ‘Messiness in Contemporary Performance: Use, Legibility and Resistance’, Borderlines conference, DMU, UK, 1 July 2022.
  • ‘‘A Kind of Love-as-Violence, and Violence-as-Love’: Jenkin Van Zyl’s Looners (2019), gendered violence and pleasure in performance art’, Association for Art History, University of Birmingham/Online, UK, 14-17 April 2021.
  • ‘Aftermaths of Performance: Artists who make an “awful mess”’, TaPRA (Theatre & Performance Research Association) conference, University of Exeter, UK, 4-6 September 2019.
  • ‘Aftermaths of Performance: Artists who make an “awful mess”’, Borderlines conference, DMU, UK, 20 June 2019.
  • ‘Document, Audience, Affect: Johanna Went’s L.A. Club Performances’, TaPRA conference, University of Aberystwyth, UK, 5-7 September 2018.
  • ‘Sensibilities and Censorship: John Duncan’s Blind Date (1980)’, TaPRA conference, University of Bristol, UK, 5-7 September 2016.
  • ‘The Politics of Cultural Critique: Vomit and Disgust in Paul McCarthy’s Performances of the 1970s’, Shimmering, Shining, Vomiting, Glitter: The Politics and Poetics of Disgust (symposium), Nottingham Contemporary art gallery, Nottingham, UK, 14-15 November 2013.
  • ‘Documenting the Live, in History: High Performance Magazine, 1978-1983’, Performance Studies international (PSi) conference, Stanford University, California, USA, 26-30 June 2013.
  • ‘“End Rape in Los Angeles”: Restaging Suzanne Lacy’s Three Weeks in May for the Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival’, Feminist and Women’s Studies Association (FWSA) conference, University of Nottingham, UK, 21-23 June 2013.
  • ‘The Artists’ Magazine as Archive: High Performance, 1978-1983’, Performing Documents (conference), Arnolfini, Bristol, UK, 12-14 April 2013.      

Panels organised

  • Use and Mis-Use (Documenting Performance working group), Theatre & Performance Research Association, University of Essex, UK, 12-14 September 2022.
  • Documenting Performance Field Trip: Collectivity and Transformation in the Archive, MayDay Rooms Archive, London, UK, 18 May 2022.
  • Speculation and Fabulation (Documenting Performance working group), Theatre & Performance Research Association, Liverpool Hope University/Online, UK, 7-9 September 2021.
  • Wayward Temporalities (Documenting Performance working group), Theatre & Performance Research Association, University of Exeter, UK, 4-6 September 2019.

Panel discussions and in-conversation events

  • Kira O’Reilly in conversation with Rob La Frenais, Martin Hargreaves, and Janet Smith, introduced by Harriet Curtis and Dominic Johnson, Barts Pathology Museum, London, UK, 6 December 2017.
  • Kira O’Reilly in conversation with Amanda Coogan and Fergus Byrne, introduced by Harriet Curtis, Project Arts Centre, Dublin, Ireland, 5 December 2017.
  • Kira O’Reilly in conversation with Melisa Grant, Essi Kausalainen, and Mari Keski-Korsu, introduced by Harriet Curtis, Tiedekulma, Helsinki, Finland, 15 November 2017.
  • Megan Vaughan in conversation with Harriet Curtis, Lois Keidan, and Aaron Wright, Live Art Development Agency, London, UK, 28 June 2016.

Current research students

Estelle Papadimitriou, PhD in Performance Studies, From the interstices: contemporary performative practice, liminality, and transformative cultural production. 1st Supervisor.

Negar Tahsili, PhD in Performance Studies (awarded Midlands4Cities Scholarship), Veiled bodies, Naked minds, Resistant souls: Utilising interdisciplinary arts to decolonize the image of Iranian women in post-revolutionary cinema. 2nd Supervisor.

James Chantry, PhD in Fine Art, Ghosts from the past: New Queer Realms through Art and Technology. 2nd Supervisor.

Rosie Garton, PhD in Performance Studies, The Political Performance of Cycling: The Female, the Bicycle and the Gendered Urban Space. 2nd Supervisor.

Ben Hunt, PhD in Performance Practice (awarded DMU Graduate Full Bursary), Performing Trauma in the Vegan and Animal Rights Movement. 2nd Supervisor.

Professional esteem indicators

  • Editor, Studies in Theatre and Performance (2021-)
  • Completion of DMU's competitive Future Research Leaders programme (2021)
  • Member of the DMU Peer Review College, Faculty of Arts, Design, and Humanities (2020-)
  • Nominated for the Vice Chancellor Distinguished Teaching Award (2019, 2020)
  • Nominated for the TaPRA Editing Prize (2018)



ORCID number



I have peer reviewed for the following journals and publishers: 

  • Contemporary Theatre Review
  • MAI: Feminism and Visual Culture
  • Studies in Theatre and Performance
  • Routledge
  • Intellect