Failure: A Symposium


 "There's no success like failure and failure's no success at all". Bob Dylan

 "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work". Thomas A. Edison
 "Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often lead to greater success". J.K.Rowling
 "All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better". Samuel Beckett
What is the problem of failure? Whether in personal and professional lives or in business and political worlds fear of failure seems to have become endemic. Even universities - supposedly devoted to the uncertainties of argument, experiment and research - are now obsessed with success. Students do not expect to fail and university case themselves as guarantors of success. Failure has become a dirty word, something we shouldn’t even think about. But what is failure? Is failure necessarily a bad thing? Does it have a virtuous side? Is success even possible without failure? Is fear of failure increasing? If so, what should be done? Join TIAS researchers and keynote speakers as we investigate failure in its myriad forms and revel in the paradox of helping to make our Failure Symposium a success!​ ​
Keynote speakers will include Professor Simon Frith (University of Edinburgh), Professor Susanna Paasonen (University of Turku) and Professor Jaakko  Suominen (University of Turku). TIAS researchers will lead a number of workshops.

Final Programme (all Keynotes in Janus lecture hall)

Please find a link to the livestreaming (and afterwards video recording) of the keynotes and concluding remarks here.
10.00-10:30 Registration and coffee
10.30-11.30: Keynote 1. Jaakko Suominen: “Dry and wet funding seasons - what to learn from failed Academy of Finland applications”
11.30-12.30: Keynote 2: Simon Frith: “Fear of Failure: A Pathology of our Time”
12.30-14.00: Lunch
14.00-15.00: Workshops led by TIAS researchers. Rooms: E104, E123 & E221. Please check which room you have been allocated to. Please find below the questions that all the workshops will address
15.00-15.30: Feedback from workshops
15.30-15.45: Break.
15.45-16.45: Keynote 3. Susanna Paasonen:  Lags, glitches and errors: affect and agency in networked media”
16.45-17.00: Concluding remarks
17.00-18.00: Reception
All workshops will cover the following themes:
-Confessing failure/failing better (neoliberal ploys?)
-Academic failure (and bouncing back/coping strategies)
-The culture of success and discourses of failure
-Who cares? (Attitudes towards failure)
-Total v partial failure and the art of being lucky
-Other comments
About our keynote speakers….
Simon Frith is Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the British Academy.  He was one of the pioneers of popular music studies in the academy, a founder member and sometime chair of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, author of Sound Effects and Performing Rights, and, as editor, has published books on music and policy, music and the visual media, world music, music copyright, and the art of record production. He also had a long career as a music journalist and rock critic and was chair of the judges of the Mercury Music Prize for 25 years.
Susanna Paasonen is Professor of Media Studies at University of Turku. With an interest in popular culture, affect and media theory, she is the author of a number of texts including Carnal Resonance: Affect and Online Pornography (MITP 2011), Many Splendored Things: Thinking Sex and Play (Goldsmiths Press, forthcoming) and Not Safe for Work: Sex, Humor and Risk in Social Media (with Kylie Jarrett and Ben Light, MITP forthcoming).
Jaakko Suominen is Ph.D. and Professor of Digital Culture at the University of Turku. Since the late 1990s he has studied the cultural history of media and information technologies. He has lead several multi-disciplinary research projects, funded by the Academy of Finland, Tekes, companies and municipal bodies and has over 100 scholarly publications. Currently he participates in the research projects such as Ludification and the Emergence of Playful Culture (Academy of Finland, 2014–2018), Citizen Mindscapes (Academy of Finland, 2016–2018), and Center or Excellence in Game Cultural Studies (Academy of Finland, 2018–2022). He has failed in applying for project funding dozens of times.


Please find the link to the registration here. Deadline to register is on 10th April.
Registration fee for is 30€ for waged researchers (20€ for students). This includes participation in the keynotes and workshops, coffee and snacks in the morning and afternoon, and reception afterwards.
In case of any questions or problems, please do not hesitate to contact the TIAS Coordinator (
For more information on the Symposium, contact Martin Cloonan (





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