“We are more afraid of failure than we are of regret.”

–Duke senior several weeks before graduation


From April 2015 until April 2016, Rachel Parish worked as an artist in residence with students, faculty, and staff at Duke University, around the concept of Failure and the power and pitfalls of different dimensions of this human experience.  The final outgrowth of this residency, And Some Are Hidden in Plain Sight, was created with a group of 15 freshman students.

The fear of failure limits our creative and intellectual capacities and causes a lot of distress.  In collaboration with Professor Erin Parish, we designed a class and an artistic experience that examined the productive role of failure in the creative and learning process and as a lens to understand injustice in the United States.

The class sought to help students understand failure as a temporary event instead of an internalized state of being and to recognize failure as a social construct and label that is unequally distributed across race and class.  The philosophy behind the class was that sharing stories of failure can serve as a means to build empathy, mitigate anxiety, teach social justice, foster creativity, and nurture caring communities.

Duke University, Durham, NC, USA

2015 – 2016