On the Benefits of Failure: A Symposium presented by the Digital Scholars of the University of Alberta

Digital Scholars UA present
On the Benefits of Failure: A Symposium 


The topic of failure is not often discussed in academia. Failure is seen as something to avoid: a cause for anxiety rather than an opportunity for open discussion. Amongst scholars, there is a tendency to only report on our successes and avoid discussing when experiments go wrong. Yet, this fear of failure can also be stifling. Without the willingness to take risks, there would be no creativity or innovation. Moreover, by not talking about our mistakes and mishaps we deprive other researchers of valuable learning opportunities. With this in mind, Digital Scholars UA is hosting a symposium that explores the virtues of failure as a necessity for innovation and learning. The event will explore on the ways that researchers, academics, and professionals have dealt with failure, mistakes, and unexpected outcomes in their work.


Keynote Speakers and Panel
Our symposium will feature keynote lectures by Quinn Dombrowski (UC Berkeley) and Lynne Siemens & Ray Siemens (UVictoria), as well as a panel of local academics and professionals who will have an informal conversation about their own experiences in dealing with unexpected results, setbacks, and mistakes in their work. 


Workshop: How to Talk to IT People with Quinn Dombrowski
What IT resources are available at your institution that can support your project? Once you find IT staff, how can you explain to them what help you need? Communication between scholars and IT folks is a common failure point in the DH project development process. This workshop will help you translate what you need into language IT staff can understand, and help you understand common constraints that IT staff face when supporting DH work.


Student UnConference
Our UnConference will offer students the change to voice their thoughts and opinions on the topic in an informal and friendly environment. Student can register to share a 5 minute lightening talk about their experiences, which will be followed by open discussion on the topic.


For more information about our panelists and to see your program, visit our website: https://www.digitalscholarsua.com/conference-2018/


Our event will be recorded so that it may be archived in the U of A’s open access repository, ERA. Doing so would allow the conference to be shared freely online for those who are unable to attend in-person, and further contribute to academic discourse on a national (and international) scale.