Sarah Lewis - WBF NYC
Bestselling author, curator, and an Assistant Professor at Harvard University

Curator and critic, Sarah Lewis has emerged as a cultural powerhouse for her fresh perspectives on the dialogue between culture, history, and identity. She is a cultural historian at Harvard University and the author of The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery which looks at how what we often mistakenly call failure can furnish the ground for improbable, often iconic transformations.

The Rise is a layered, story-driven investigation of how innovation, discovery, and the creative progress are all spurred on by advantages gleaned from the improbable, the unlikely, and even failure. As she says: “The creative process is actually how we fashion our lives and follow other pursuits. Failure is not something that might be helpful; it actually is the process”.

Her essays on race, contemporary art and culture have been published in many journals as well as The New York Times, The New Yorker, Artforum, Art in America and for the Smithsonian, The Museum of Modern Art, and Rizzoli. WIth a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, an M. Phil from Oxford University, and her Ph.D. from Yale University, she is a rising star who served on President Obama’s Arts Policy Committee and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Departments of History of Art and Architecture and African and African American Studies at Harvard.

Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery

  Stories that reveal the improbable foundations of creative human endeavors

  Why we need to think about failure as a space of experimentation, uncertainty, and play – where success is not the end goal

  Why we need to acknowledge our limits before we can test them

  Overcoming the disappointment of missing out on our goals and how to use near-wins as an invitation to grow