UCL European Institute


[EVENT POSTPONED] Failures, Phantoms and False Starts

01 August 2020, 2:00 pm–4:00 pm


EVENT POSTPONED due to COVID-19 situation. New date to be announced in due course.

Event Information

Open to



Uta Staiger


UCL European Institute
16 Taviton Street
United Kingdom

Usually, failure is about what did not turn out well – the inadequate, the defective, the malfunctioning. Or failure is about what did not turn out to be desirable – the superfluous, the excessive, the worthless. Usually, failure is about how things end. 

This project wants to rethink failure in order to question how things begin – and what remains.

What is left by the wayside as projects, theories, texts, works of arts, buildings are first thought up? What happens to the moulds and models, the rough drawings, the drafts and the first outlines – and does it matter? What about all those wrong turns, the errors in the trial, the fallacies and misconceptions – and where have they led us? The flights of fancy that were never realised, the books that only exist within books, the projects we wish we had undertaken but never did?


Over the course of one day, this research workshop will bring together UCL researchers from a wide array of disciplines matter – from Comparative Literature to Science and Technology Studies, from Fine Art to Architecture, from Hebrew and Jewish Studies to Critical Area Studies – to explore:

#1 Failures: Errors, distractions, discarded solutions

#2 Serendipities: False ideas and unsuspected truths

#3 Mock-ups: Sketches, drafts, blueprints

#4 Phantoms: buildings never built, fictitious libraries, regrets

For more, contact u.staiger@ucl.ac.uk

Image credit: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash