Wed 7 Dec 2022: 9:00AM
Queen Margaret University

FailSpace Conference

Venue: Queen Margaret University, University Square, Musselburgh, EH21
Prices: Earlybird Tickets £50 (until 31 October 2022) | £75 from 1 November 2022

Book now for the first FailSpace conference, a day dedicated to extending the discussion about the role of failure within the cultural sector. They are inviting freelancers, practitioners, academics, cultural organisations and policy makers to join the broad range of presenters and workshop leaders for a day of panels, discussions, and workshops to critically examine the role failure, and conversations around failure, can have on the sector.

Date and time: Wed 7 December 7, 2022, 9am – 5pm
Location: Queen Margaret University, University Square, Musselburgh, EH21

FailSpace – also known as Cultural Participation: Stories of Success, Histories of Failure – is an AHRC funded project. The project is led by Dr Leila Jancovich (University of Leeds) with Professor David Stevenson (Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh).

Over the last three years the FailSpace team have been examining how the cultural sector can better identify, acknowledge, and learn from failure. What they have found through their research is a cultural landscape that is not conducive to honesty or critical reflection about failures; a problem that exists not only in the cultural sector but across much of public policy. A lack of trust and open dialogue between participants, artists, organisations, and funders, fuelled by a fear of losing funding, future work, or professional reputation encourages narratives of success as a self-defensive act of blame avoidance. But this discourages risk taking, encourages repetition of past mistakes and results in a failure to learn that limits significant change. They argue that the prevalence of these ‘feel-good’ narratives and the tendency to overstate impacts through uncritical stories of success risks undermining the credibility of arguments about why state subsidies for public services, including arts and culture, are necessary.

In response, they developed a framework for talking about failure which they hope will help to normalise conversations about the failures that inevitably occur in cultural projects and policies, where outright success or failure is rare.

The conference will include six panel presentations covering the themes of: Diverse Perspectives, Narratives of Failure, Failure and Practice, Failure and Evaluation and Failure and Major Events. Some of the FailSpace Champions will be talking about what it has meant to be a champion and what impact it has had on their practice. Running alongside these panels will be some workshops employing practical exploration to consider the conference themes.

For those employed by organisations Earlybird Tickets are £50 (until 31 October 2022) and £75 from 1 November 2022. For freelancers, students, and those who are currently unemployed Earlybird Tickets are £10 and £20 from 1 November 2022. They also have some travel bursaries available for freelancers or those who are unable to claim expenses back from their organisation. Should you wish to apply for this support, please email Lizzie Ridley before 31 October 2022.

For any queries about bursaries or other aspects of the conference please email Lizzie Ridley

This will be an in-person event and unfortunately they are unable to offer a hybrid experience.


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