Collaborative research is back on the agenda these days. It has certainly become more accepted in mainstream academia than back in the 1970s, when Orlando Fals Borda and others developed what came to be known as Participatory Action-Research (PAR). Research councils are increasingly interested in funding collaborative research proposals, seemingly willing to listen to and learn from the experiences of subaltern groups. Surprisingly maybe, much collaborative research reinvents itself today without reference to the pioneering work of Fals Borda and others. One of the lacunas of methodological engagement is the lack to address issues of fracaso, or failure, where the academic-activist him/herself has experienced deep disappointment or frustration in the way the research situation unfolded on the ground. In this article, I want to reflect on a collaborative research experience that I have been involved in and critically think through those situations that resulted in personal disappointment, as I was facing the limitations in the field of my maybe too naïve approach to collaborative research. I have so far refrained from writing about these issues, as they pose significant ethical problems in possibly identifying research partners, who are part of this story of disappointment. However, I believe that it is only through critically examining and addressing the failures and frustrations of collaborative research agendas that those disappointments may be avoided in the future. How to write about these failures is a question not easily answered.

Keywords: Methodology, Participatory Action-Research (PAR), Fals Borda, AfroColombia, black communities, Guapi, social movements, oral tradition, decimas, chance, geopolitics, political geography.