Sunday, 15 January 2017


One of the things I am doing as PI is trying to have conversations with people about definitions and key ideas in the project.
I had a really interesting conversation with Zanib about art, which I will report on later, and one with Katy on ideas of social cohesion and one with Mike about community cohesion and art practice.
I also talked to John Diamond about practice.
All these conversations were really helpful, I will try and report on them here, but the one with Andrew on failure was useful as I think it is one of the core ideas in our project so I am sharing it here:

We started with the idea of breaking down what we mean by community engagement and re-thinking social cohesion.
We also talked about re-claiming expertise.
Andrew is interested in doing work on mistakes and saying to the teachers who can they become experts, what do you think do you have a skill in.
He also wants to look at failure as a positive idea and unsettled conceptual frameworks.
SO the plan is we provide:

1.     A new language for failure
2.     A new language for cohesion
3.     A new model for community cohesion work for artists.

We should also ask difficult questions – everything we have tried to do has failed but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try harder.

We will be thinking more about failure in our residential but one thing that struck me was Andrew saying that you have to work with failure to be a poet, it is the only way you keep writing as you always fail to describe what you would want to describe.

I leave you with an image of snowy Top Withens and the Brontes. 


  1. When Kate was distracted at the meeting I explained to Andrew that the project was a bit like an episode of the Killing. Not that it was about serial killers but more the idea that the script for the project evolved from episode to episode. The characters and structure are there but nobody has a clue whats going to happen. I think the TV series of Twin Peaks was made a bit like this - the owls were not what they seemed but we never got to know what they actually were as nobody Knew. I think this approach takes on the potential of failures as when you set off you don't know what success looks like, for most of us this openness in the days of full accountability KPI's and REF's audits and scrutiny committees is unusual and difficult to know what to do with so we try to back peddler talk of outcomes and outputs and say things like " We need to speak to policy" but policies like the owls in twin peaks are not what they seem.

  2. I like this but it makes me nervous. I think one thing we could all do is to read the artists legacy chapter in Keri's book.
    I will send it round.