FailSpace — also known as Cultural Participation: Stories of Success, Histories of Failure — is an AHRC-funded research project exploring how the cultural sector can better recognise, acknowledge and learn from failure, particularly when undertaking work intended to diversify and grow the people who are taking part in subsidised cultural activities. The project is led by Leila Jancovich (University of Leeds), with David Stevenson (Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh), Lucy Wright and Malaika Cunningham.
FailSpace is based on the principle that learning from failure should be an integral part of the process of making and implementing cultural projects and policies — but our research suggests that this is not always welcome in formal evaluation processes, which tend to focus on celebratory facts and figures about a project’s success and conceal or brush-off negative outcomes or issues.
We all know that despite the headlines about exciting projects and policies to address inequalities in the arts, the sector remains doggedly unequal. So we want to explore the benefits in acknowledging this more openly as a policy failure in order to find better solutions to this and other problems in the sector.
Leila and David