How can we overcome failures in cultural participation?
New book presents a framework that encourages more open and honest conversations on failure, transparency and value.
Professor Leila Jancovich, Director of Research and Innovation for the School of Performance and Cultural Industries, had just had her book, Failures in Cultural Participation, published by Palgrave Macmillan.
The book, co authored with David Stevenson, Professor of Arts Management and Cultural Policy at Queen Margaret University, is open access and is informed by theories about the value and importance of learning from failure in policymaking. It shifts the debate from the ‘value’ of culture to considerations of how policies can be designed and implemented and argues for an honest and transparent acknowledgement of failure at individual, organisational and governmental levels.
Speaking in an article for Arts Professional, Prof Jancovich explained, “We identified that the precarious nature of work in the sector makes many professionals fear that talking openly and honestly about failure might jeopardise their chances of securing future funding or employment. Furthermore, the concern with constantly ‘evidencing’ the ‘value’ of cultural organisations and projects, often to justify public funding, results in a tendency to conflate success with value.”
The concern with constantly ‘evidencing’ the ‘value’ of cultural organisations and projects, often to justify public funding, results in a tendency to conflate success with value.
Professor Jancovich, who is also the Principal Investigator for AHRC Failspace project https://failspaceproject.co.uk, has developed a framework consisting of the five facets of success and failure as a method for giving structure to difficult conversations and providing nuance for communication throughout a project, which is part of her new book.
She described how her approach was informed: “Some 1,000 cultural professionals have taken part in workshops with many saying they found it cathartic to talk about what failure might look like before starting a new project. However, when it comes to the end of a project, most people still default to talking about successes.”
Professor Jancovich recently presented her findings at a national conference, Failspace, at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, where partners and champions shared a platform with contributors from academia and the cultural sector.
Professor Jancovich is the Lead for the knowledge exchange network on cultural participation, learn more: www.culturalparticipation.co.uk
Find out more about the Research and innovation at the School of Performance and Cultural Industries here.