PUBLIC TALK: Failing Better/Failing Worse
|Failing Better/Failing Worse : Free public talk with John Freeman
Bertrand Russell has suggested that learning begins with inarticulate certainty and moves towards articulate doubt. Creative endeavour requires doubt, and failure: studios and workshops open spaces for it, practitioners accept it as an ever-present possibility, a state to embrace, or as the foundation of a set of aesthetic practices … just as, in the best sense, education is predicated upon the acceptance of failure; of getting it wrong for the right reasons.
In creative work, failure might be seen as an opportunity, a strategy, a moment of crisis and a generative act. Creative research, then, can be regarded as a space, which deals with and allows accidents, embarrassment and failure.
This seminar will seek to explore notions of failure and even of insignificance within a framework of research, both practice-led and overtly conventional. It will ask whether Beckett’s exhortation to ‘fail better’ is our mantra of success, or whether it merely excuses or conceals the inadequacies of our own work.
The seminar is based around the belief that its presenter will not be the only person in the room who feels at times like a pseudo-researcher ... whose research outcomes are rarely, if ever, quite cogent enough, never quite heavy enough to stir the water or to still debate.
John Freeman joined Performance at Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia from Brunel University London, where he was Reader in Theatre. The editor of Performance Practice and author of Tracing the Footprints: Documenting the Process of Performance (2003) New Performance/New Writing (2007) and Blood, Sweat & Theory: Research through Practice in Performance (2010), his fifth book, The Greatest Shows on Earth: World Theatre from Peter Brook to the Sydney Olympics (ed.) is published in November 2011. A lecture tour of North American universities is planned to coincide with the book's official US launch in 2012. Blood, Sweat & Theory remains the top-selling UK title in the field of practice-led research in performance.
Freeman has written extensively on theatre, art, pedagogy and research for numerous international journals, newspapers, magazines, books, government and funding agencies, galleries, festivals and consultancy panels. His most recent article, Creative Angels and Exegetical Demons: artistic research, creative production and thesis, is published in Higher Education Review in December 2011.
He has presented papers and performances at conferences, festivals and theatre venues worldwide and has undertaken residencies in New York, Helsinki, Sarajevo, Casablanca, Minsk, Malta, Bavaria and Belgrade. His latest play, Handsome Dogs, received staged readings in Europe before being performed at Curtin's amphitheatre at the end of November. The play has been invited to festivals in Amsterdam, Romania and Germany.
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