Failure – Spring 2022

Failure has been so widely embraced in the start-up business culture that it seems now a commonplace: you need to fail to succeed! Is there not a paradox at play here? If failure is but a phase on a path to success, is it really “failure”? Along similar lines, in the context of contemporary art, Susana Martins observes that “There is tension between (non)fulfilment and expectation, and so failure becomes a far more complex notion, carrying connotations, symbolic charges and cultural roles, which are often diverse and contradictory. Moreover, failure can be very differently assessed, not only with regard to patterns of intention and anticipation, but also in terms of scale, social spheres or disciplinary practices.” In short, failure can be a complex notion. A recent example of how failure is approached from many different perspectives is the 2016 volume of Social Research: An International Quarterly, dedicated entirely to the study of this concept. In this seminar we hope to explore the role of failure in contemporary culture while examining the concept through multiple disciplinary lenses.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

5:30 – 7 p.m.
Ejecta Projects, 136 W. High Street


A public reception to celebrate the current exhibit at the Ejecta Gallery, with some of the artists in attendance. Brief remarks by Rebecca Fox,’22 and exhibit curators Shannon Egan and Anthony Cervino.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues. Read more

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

On Failure - event posterVirtual Presentation in Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.


On Failure: A Contemporary Reflection on the Heart of Creativity

Ana Merino, University of Iowa

Enjoy a literary reflection on the different ways the notion of failure has been a creative space. Merino will examine the life of Miguel de Cervantes and his universal character, Don Quixote, then move to the twentieth century, the tragedy of exile in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and the fragility of poets confronting pain and fear in challenging times.

This event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues. It is part of the Clarke Forum’s semester theme, Failure.

Topic overview written by Logan Cort ’22

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Ana Merino headshotAna Merino is an award-winning writer and a professor of Spanish creative writing and cultural studies at the University of Iowa, where she founded the Spanish MFA. She has written extensive criticism on comics and graphic novels. She has authored two academic books: El cómic hispánico and Diez ensayos para pensar el cómic and a monograph on Chris Ware. Merino has curated five comic book exhibitions and edited several volumes on the topic. She was a member of the ICAF Read more