Exploring the practice of public philosophy.
Grace Lockrobin is the Founding Director of Thinking Space, a social enterprise that creates interesting and inclusive spaces for people of all ages to think philosophically together.
In our discussion Grace explained how Thinking Space developed, her views on the relationship between philosophy and education, the value of community philosophy, and much more.
Grace Lockrobin. Image by Grace Lockrobin.
"I strongly believe that philosophy does the most good when it’s out there in the wild."
Sacha Golob. Image by Sacha Golob.
"Some of the most interesting or unusual [questions] are going to come with this kind of context. You've got a whole range of people with radically different lives and radically different commitments. And then when you take that into a gallery context, it's amplified because it's not just you and them, it's you and them and all these objects. And so you've got this kind of triangular relationship."
Briana Toole. Image by Briana Toole.
"Corrupt the Youth is like a living, thriving, organism. We're changing all the time. I think this programme will look very different in five years, because the kids we work with will be very different in five years."
Brennan Jacoby. Image by James Champion.
"The challenge for me is to always be doing "real philosophy", which is to say an authentic and rigorous pursuit of truth and wisdom, but in a way that provides practical help to real professional challenges. That is the challenge but it's also the thing that makes it do real work for people. "
Barry Lam is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Vassar College and the host and creator of Hi-Phi Nation, an innovative philosophy podcast that "turns stories into ideas."
I spoke to Barry to learn more about what led him to start Hi-Phi Nation, his experience of creating the show and what it has taught him about the relationship between philosophy, journalism, storytelling and much more.
Barry Lam. Image by Melissa Surprise.
""In every one of these areas [of reporting] you'll find a connection to philosophy. [...] A little bit everywhere, that's sort of what Hi-Phi Nation is. "
Justine Kolata has recently completed a PhD at Cambridge, where she researched conceptions of Bildung (self-cultivation) and Die Schöne Seele ('The Beautiful Soul') in German philosophy.
She is also the founder and director of The Public Sphere Salons, an organisation that works to revive Enlightenment salon culture. I spoke to Justine to learn more about the organisation and her experience of running salons.
Justine Kolata. Image by Justine Kolata.
"The salon was a microcosm of life; the grief, the beauty, the intellectual thirst, the banality, the joy, the courage and weakness of humanity were all represented, but in a concentrated form that seemed to spontaneously induce personal revelation. False ideas and prejudices could not be left unexamined. "
Graeme Tiffany is a researcher, trainer, lecturer and education consultant working in the UK, with special interests in detached and street-based youth work, youth social policy, informal education, democratic education, participation and the use of philosophical tools to support learning.
I spoke to Graeme to learn about his pioneering work in Community Philosophy, which empowers people in any context to be active citizens and to generate ideas at a grassroots level.
Graeme Tiffany. Image by Graeme Tiffany.
"Can we have people who are present, on an ongoing basis, in communities, helping people to learn how to use philosophy in their own spaces and places? "
Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij is a reader in Phiosophy at Birkbeck College, London researching immigration attitudes, prediction markets and epistemic values, virtues and norms.
In 2015-16 Kristoffer set-up and ran a philosophy in prison programme in South London. I spoke to him to learn about his experiences of this work.
Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij. Image by Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij.
"I thought less and less about the supposed boundaries of philosophy and was simply liberated by the fact that, as a philosopher [...] you have a lot of latitude in terms of what you work on and how you decide to work on it."
Ty Branch is a PhD student at the University of Waterloo, Canada, researching the philosophy of science communication.
I spoke to Ty to learn about her public philosophical experiences, including working as a philosopher-in-residence/field philosopher in an architecture firm and in a big data analytics organisation.
"If you do philosophy "in the field" the problems that [you] could decide to tackle are really enormous. I also love that they intersect in ways that you can't see when you're doing textbook philosophy"
Ty Branch. Image by Ty Branch.
Kilian Jörg is a philosopher and artist based in Vienna and Berlin whose research focuses on ecological epistemology and the intersection of art and philosophy.
He is the founder of Philosophy Unbound (PU), a collective which organises regular open stages for performative philosophy. The Public Life of the Mind spoke to Kilian to learn about his experiences with PU.
Kilian Jörg. Image by Anna Lerchbaumer.
"Philosophy is a struggle for bringing something into a concept, in a way, and it's very limiting if you have just one kind of form for it"
Carrie Jenkins. Image by Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Chloé de Canson. Image by Chloé de Canson
"There's a quiet desire for some other place for philosophy to exist in the world"
Todd Altschuler. Image by Stephan Sagmiller