“There is an urgent need to undo the innocence of participation” (Mouffe + Miessen, 2007)
Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh will be hosting the first of 3 conferences exploring participatory art practices and failure. The first event – titled: The Failure of Participation 1: Good Failures – is being held 9am – 5pm, Monday 13th May, 2019.
We will be sending more information out in due course, but if you are interested in attending or speaking, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the past 2 decades, there has been a sustained growth of public/participatory art projects. However, cultural organisations and artists operating within ever decreasing funding cycles are invariably required to “provide evidence of their benefit to the economy, urban regeneration and social inclusion” (Maclean 2012) for continued fiscal support. Thus, in order to ensure continued financial survival, artists and organisations seem to only ever be able report and review successful projects
This (financial) dependency on the ‘positive’ successes of participatory arts has led to a lack of criticality about the practice, causing us to ask: Where is the learning? It is, after all, through failures that we are able to develop and grow as a field: how can academics and practitioners of participatory art projects learn and develop if the failures are invisible?
The Failure of Participation: Good Failures event is the first of three conferences that aims to productively explore the failures of participatory projects with both organisations, artists and participating publics in order to explore how failures can be productive. We are seeking practitioners, academics, theorists, organisations and participants who are not afraid to discuss their failures within participatory projects and who wish to explore this subject productively.
The current series is proposed to address various elements of ‘Participation’, including the infrastructures that support ‘participatory practices’, the practice of ‘participation’ and its effects, as well as the policies that surround it. The proposed titles of each conference are:
The Failure of Participation 1: Good Failures – projects and infrastructures
The Failure of Participation 2: Loser Win – people and practitioners
The Failure of Participation 3: Fail Better – policy and the futures