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Liz Murray

PhD Work

Performing Resistance: the Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp as Artwork

Despite greater societal awareness of sexual inequalities, women are still more likely than men to experience workplace and salary inequity, sexual harassment, and be victims of male violence.  As such, many of the primary goals of second-wave feminism remain largely unrealised. This practice-led research proposes an act of protest for reconsideration within this context, one of feminist, all-female and queer resistance. It nominates the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp (1981-2000) its actions, bodies, archives, stories, site and materials – as an expansive and expanding artwork.

My own experience as a ‘Greenham Woman’ informs the research. I use my archive of materials to direct processes both in the studio and through writing. I argue the case for nomination of the protest as artwork through three trajectories: the artwork as Gift, as Binder, and as Correspondence. In the latter, I employ letter-writing in the present day to my past self as a method to interrogate and correspond with memory and objects that trace the history of the protest. 

The project does not claim authority or ownership over this singular protest, but instead nominates as a means to incite a call to action that demands a reconsideration of feminist practices and values then and now. In doing so, it asks what are the limits of art to enable a productive revaluation of gender equality and how might this enable generative forms of response? What gets dislodged when the relations between politics, life, and art are blurred and what are the effects of this displacement?

MPhil work


  • PhD


    School of Arts & Humanities


    Arts & Humanities Research, 2015–2021

  • MPhil


    School of Arts & Humanities


    Arts & Humanities Research, 2015–2020

  • My PhD research at the Royal College of Art nominates an historic act of gendered resistance – The Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp – as artwork. Storytelling is intrinsic to this practice-led project as a method of engaging with feminist histories, narratives, events and artwork. It is an intersectional, ‘back-chatting’ methodology that folds elements of practice, history and politics for resharing as knowledge. I seek to test what the limits are for ‘art-work’ to generate a re-consideration of the queer practices, radical means and resistance that the Women’s Peace Camp established four decades ago. As a former Greenham Woman, I am employing an autoethnographic method that draws on stories, records, and materials from that time. These are manifested as ‘objects with stories’ or ‘storytelling objects’ that sit alongside the written part of my PhD research.

    My artworks include sculpture, installation, photography and collage. I use transient, overlooked materials, undervalued craft techniques and DIY methods to examine how identities and events are framed, valued, and presented. My practice draws on feminist discourses and strategies of solidarity that have been overlooked or hidden and is informed by arts potential to form and operate resistantly. I often work collaboratively and am a member of the Partisan Social Club and London-based GLAP writing collective. I have recently co-authored the Anti-Fascist Newsletter for Five Years, published in the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest.

  • Degrees

  • MA Fine Art, Chelsea College of Art & Design, University of the Arts London, 2005; PG Dip, Chelsea College of Art & Design, University of the Arts, London, 2004; BA (Hons) Fine Art: Painting, Camberwell School of Art & Crafts, 1984
  • Experience

  • Visiting Lecturer, School of Arts & Humanities (MA & MRes Programmes), Royal College of Art, London, 2017 - present; Lecturer, BA (Hons) Contemporary Art & Design, & Art and the Environment, Writtle University College, Essex, 2014 - present; Visiting Lecturer, MA Photography, London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London, 2011; Visiting Lecturer, BA (Hons) Fine Art, Newcastle University, 2009-10; Visiting Lecturer, BTEC Interior Design, Chelsea College of Art & Design, London, 1992-94; The Object of Research, Cumbria Institute of the Arts, 2018; Future Print Story, Tokyo University of the Arts, Tokyo, and Kyoto City University of Arts, Japan, 2016; Youkobo Artspace, AIR residency, Tokyo, Japan, 2011; AIR, Futura Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague, Czech Republic, 2010; Highbury Corner Public Art Commission, 2010; Triangle International Artists Workshop, New York, USA, 2008; Red Mansion Residency, Beijing, China, 2006; Braziers International Artists Workshop, Oxford, UK, 2006
  • Exhibitions

  • 2084, Dyson Gallery, London, 2020; Twin Advisory Service (with Alison Gill), Partisan Social Club at Coventry Biennial, 2019;; There’s Something Lurking In the Shadows That Might Be Interesting, Dyson Gallery, London, 2019; On Being Together, Memberships, Collectives and Unions, Partisan Social Club at Beaconsfield, London, 2018; A Girl with Time, GLAP Collective, Skelf, online, 2018; Flight Mode, Assembly Point, London, 2018; Daybreak, Safehouses, London, 2017; Vertigo Rising (with John Hughes), Five Years, London, 2015; Connecting Worlds, Drawing Room Projects, London, 2014; Factory, Format International Photography Festival, Quad, Derby, 2013; Doris, Stedefreunde, Berlin, 2010; Sight Unseen, Karlin Studios, Prague, 2010,; Terminal, Tate Britain, 2008.
  • Awards

  • Northern Print Commission, 2009; Jerwood Artists Platform nomination, 2006; Red Mansion Art Prize, 2006; Royal West of England Academy Student prize, 2004; Thames & Hudson Drawing Prize, 1984
  • Publications

  • PROVA 4, RCA Arts and Humanities Research Journal, 2018; Sight Unseen, London: TECHNE / RCA, 2017; How to Read: Writing Groups. How to Write: Reading Groups, London: Five Years, 2016; Vertigo Rising, London: Mantis, 2015; Factory, Quad / Format, 2013; Art & Music (Winter 2009) Issue 08, 2009; Art Monthly (April) No.315, Jess Flood-paddock / Liz Murray, Mark Wilsher, 2008; The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, Issue #11, 2020