The FailSpace Project are delighted to announce that the first phase of participatory workshops for the project, ‘Cultural Participation: Stories of Success, Histories of Failure’ will take place in March and April 2019 at a range of venues in England and Scotland. 

Do you have experiences of cultural participation projects that you’d like to share? Full details of how to sign up are below.

The workshop, ‘FailSpace1: Picturing Success in Cultural Participation Projects’ is part of is a new 2-year research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and led by Dr Leila Jancovich (University of Leeds) and Dr David Stevenson (Queen Margaret University), in conjunction with artist and post-doctoral researcher, Dr Lucy Wright (University of Leeds). The aim of the research is to explore how cultural policy processes can better recognise, acknowledge and learn from failure. 

You can find out more about the project and book workshops spaces at: www.culturalparticipation.co.uk 

At the workshop, participants will be invited to reflect on cultural participation projects they feel have been widely recognised as being particularly successful and to assist the project in creating a map of projects to explore further. Future phases will explore the relationship between failure and success in more depth.

Workshops will be held at the following dates and locations. Please note, the day will be split into two sessions, a morning and and afternoon, aimed at different participants. You only need to sign up to a single session (morning or afternoon), at one location. 


19th March – The Lyceum, Edinburgh

10am – 1pm – Policymakers/Funders/Commissioners 

2pm – 5pm – Arts organisation representatives / Producers 


6th April – The Stirling Smith, Stirling

10am – 1pm – Participatory artists/Professional arts practitioners 

2pm – 5pm – Community participants/Amateur and/or voluntary arts and artists 


Admission at the workshops is free but places are very limited, so please sign up as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Travel bursaries may be available for artists and community participants who are not in full-time employment in the arts and might not otherwise be able to attend. If you would like to apply for travel assistance, please email Dr Lucy Wright, briefly explaining your need and how much financial support you would like to request.

If you are unable to attend, but would still like to take part in the research, they will soon be developing a short online failure ‘confessional’. Please do get in touch with Dr Lucy Wright if you would like them to contact you when this is available to complete.

About the FailSpace Project:

The FailSpace Project’s research considers how cultural policy processes can better recognise, acknowledge and learn from ‘failures’ of participation and explores how the foregrounding of alternative narratives about ‘successful’ cultural participation projects might challenge the taken for granted knowledge upon which existing policy processes are sustained and reproduced.

The workshops will gather and document the views and experiences of policymakers, commissioners, arts practitioners and community participants in relation to ideas of success and failure in cultural participation projects.

There will be three phases to the research:

–      Phase 1: ‘Picturing Success’ – in which the project will invite participants to reflect on cultural participation projects they feel have been widely recognised as being particularly successful and to assist in creating a map of projects to explore further.

–      Phase 2: ‘Recognising Failure’ – in which participants will be asked to reflect on how failure is currently recognised, or not, within cultural policy and to debate the arguably necessary and positive role that failure might play.  

–      Phase 3: ‘Shifting Narratives’ – in which the project will work with participants to develop alternative narratives of cultural participation projects, exploring the way in which failure might better be recognised, and learnt from, in cultural policy processes.

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