We advocate for robust failure research, with the tools of ignorance, anger, future, and creolization studies.

We push forward the exploration of failure regimes. Such as, abortion, disability, health, migration and science policies.

We draw attention to post-failure, abeyance, “beef” and justification of violence in policymaking. Challenging scholars and practitioners to employ creative and visibilising methodology.

We work towards putting into motion the first global research project on “failing our children”.

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SASE mini-conference / MC05: Failures and Dilemmas: Exploiting Disruptive Interventions in Neoliberalism, 27-29 June 2024, Limerick

Failures and dilemmas constitute major sources of disruption in the emotions, politics and technologies of neoliberalism. They can open spaces of radical change and learning, yet they can also generate new forms of privilege and exploitation born of crisis and recession. We seek to understand the expectations and contestations that emerge in contemporary forms of failure, as well as the dilemmas posed by political, economic and social interventions. 

Read more HERE.

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UVA and NSF conference / Disclosing Failure, Benefit or Hazard for STEM Women Faculty? Advancing An Equity and Inclusion Perspective, 11-13 June 2024, Charlottesville, VA

Gertrude J. Fraser, our colleague in critical failure studies and anthropologist from University of Virginia, invites your participation in the first-ever conference to explore the hazards and benefits of failure disclosure for women in STEM.

The conference, “Disclosing Failure, Benefit or Hazard for STEM Women Faculty? Advancing An Equity and Inclusion Perspective,” will be held on June 11-13, 2024, at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.  All submitted applications will be reviewed by the conference advisory committee (the conference has funding to support partial travel and subsistence for some participants).

Questions and abstracts: failuredisclosure2024@gmail.com 

Read more HERE

Deadline: 15 February 2024

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UW Seminar: Failure Regimes: Economization, Creolization and Moralization of Failing, 6-7 May 2024, Warsaw

Critical failure studies have made a major breakthrough when it comes to the theoretical framing and methodological imaginary of failure. This entails first and foremost switching from an individual to a more social and institutional perspective. Talking about failure regimes, contexts, and cultures is now meant to underline that failures are not individual blunders and lost opportunities that are self-evident.

Guest speakers: Catherine Alexander (Durham University) and Costică Brădățan (Texas Tech University)

Read more HERE // Program HERE // Lineup HERE

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Street art hub at IPSiR UW, Warsaw

Starting with April 2022, at our home institute, IPSiR UW (ul. Podchorążych 20, Warsaw), we create a universal space for social and policy creativity. This engages with raising awareness, prevention, street art and scientific communication.

We aim to reinvent the relationship between applied social sciences and society. To show how new forms of knowledge should benefit from art in its various manifestations. We organize various photo exhibitions within what informally emerged as a staircase gallery. Further transforming the university space with the help of Warsaw street artists. In the summer holiday of 2023, Andy Black, Warsaw-based street artist completed an original painted project covering the three levels of the institute building with mural artwork about education, imaginary, and future communication.

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F*** UP TALES IN SCIENCE

We not only research failure, but we also engage frontally with it. Our first experiment was the F*** Up Tales in Science in Hannover, 2022. Upon the model of F**** Up Nights, or more conventional events of sharing stories, or Fail Festivals, we invited participants to open up through stories of failure. To analyze organizational and institutional paths of reacting to scientific error and lack of conventional success. The F*** Up Tales in Science event was organized during the “Failure in Science: Context, Ignorance, and the Future of Failing” symposium, which was held as part of the broader Thematic Week “Failure Matters”, a funding initiative of the Volkswagen Foundation, December 12-14, 2022, at the conference center Herrenhausen Palace in Hannover. The F*** Up Tales event was moderated by prof. Xiaodong Lin, founding director of EPIC (http://epic.tc.columbia.edu/) at Teachers College, Columbia University in the City of New York.

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First anthology on failure in social sciences

Routledge International Handbook of Failure, 2023. Adriana Mica, Mikołaj Pawlak, Anna Horolets and Paweł Kubicki, eds., Routledge

This Handbook examines the study of failure in social sciences, its manifestations in the contemporary world, and the modalities of dealing with it – both in theory and in practice. It draws together a comprehensive approach to failing, and invisible forms of cancelling out and denial of future perspectives.

Critics’ reviews

“Unlike most Handbooks in the social sciences, this one is groundbreaking and meets two difficult goals: one is to provide a comprehensive assessment of the emergent field of failure studies, and the second, which is to use the idea of failure to cast new light on many central problems of the social sciences, such as contingency, accountability, and economization. This Handbook is a milestone which will be widely read by researchers in many fields.”

Arjun AppaduraiProfessor Emeritus of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, USA

“In a comprehensive way, the Routledge International Handbook of Failure provides new insights from different perspectives on the important topic of failure. This handbook is of critical importance because it can help scholars and practitioners overcome a pervasive anti-failure bias that restricts our thinking and actions. I highly recommend this book.”

Dean ShepherdRay and Milann Siegfried Professor of Entrepreneurship, University of Notre Dame, USA

“This new book on failure is a welcome addition to this fascinating and important topic. I hope it meets with great success.”

Gary WickhamProfessor Emeritus of Sociology, Murdoch University, Australia

“This handbook highlights what can only be described as a failure of imagination in the social sciences concerning the concept of failure itself. The Handbook’s essays reframe our understanding of what the discourse of failure reveals and obscures. Far from being a self- evident concept—neutrally applied—the application of the pejorative, “failure,” can too often prevent us from recognizing and seizing meaningful opportunities for advance or experimentation.”

Ilene GrabelDistinguished University Professor, University of Denver, USA

Intended for scholars who research processes of inequality and invisibility, this Handbook aims to formulate a critical manifesto and activism agenda for contemporary society.

Presenting an integrated view about failure the Handbook will be an essential reading for students in sociology, social theory, anthropology, international relations and development research, organization theory, public policy, management studies, queer theory, disability studies, sports and performance research.

Intended for scholars who research processes of inequality and invisibility, this Handbook aims to formulate a critical manifesto and activism agenda for contemporary society.

Presenting an integrated view about failure the Handbook will be an essential reading for students in sociology, social theory, anthropology, international relations and development research, organization theory, public policy, management studies, queer theory, disability studies, sports and performance research.

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Building failure studies

In order to understand the power of reimagining failure in contemporary society we have to go beyond the traditional meaning of failure, which equals it with lack of success in attaining certain policy goals, securing implementation or bridging science and policy gaps. Today, policy failure increasingly speaks about ignorance and social injustice as well. We aim in our research to show how the capacity for change comes from acknowledging and challenging failure in society and policymaking. We also draw attention to how steering with failure is one of the most important and unexpected capacities of change in policymaking today.