FLOP: 13 Stories of Failure exhibition

21st Oct 2019  -  31st Oct 2021
Octagon Gallery


About the exhibition

"Shows the joy and pain of mistakes" - New Scientist

It's something no one wants to talk about, even though it happens to all of us at some point in our lives. Why is admitting to failure so difficult? 

This exhibition shines a spotlight on the subject we’d all rather avoid, from ancient societies to modern day medicine.

Discover the gruesome blood-letting devices and poisonous pills endured by patients in the 19th century; a sword swallower’s oesophagus fatally punctured in an occupational accident (and the sword itself); and the lost Meroitic language, spoken in Sudan in the first millennium BC, which we are still unable to translate today. 

Come and find out where it all went wrong – and what lessons we've learned along the way.

FLOP: 13 stories of failure podcast

Our exhibition podcast includes 16 short episodes discussing the topic of failure with a range of experts. From medical wax models that tell us about our failure to eradicate infectious diseases, to the failed invention of Silly Putty.
Listen to our podcast

About the Octagon Gallery

The Octagon Gallery is a public space under UCL's iconic dome and hosts a programme that highlights the university's interdisciplinary, collaborative and participatory research.


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