Philosothon Expansion in the UK


The Ian Ramsey Centre is pleased to announce a new two-year project, starting 1 July 2019, that will support philosothon expansion in the UK, thanks to a grant of $233k from Templeton Religion Trust (TRT) (grant ID: TRT0267).

A philosothon is a competitive event for schools that is designed to give training and experience of communities of inquiry into big questions. In contrast to traditional debates, the grading rewards co-operation and insights. The proposed project aims to expand the philosothon approach, first developed in Australasia, into the United Kingdom (UK). The immediate objective will be to provide training in co-operative philosophical inquiry to school students by means of funding sufficient for 10 events, including a national event. The longer-term objective will be to provide training and incentives for teachers by means of introductory presentations, downloadable materials, the experience of bringing students to philosothons, and the opportunity to host philosothons, including bidding for sub-grants. We expect at least 100 teachers to gain such experience, and hence be well placed to continue philosothons after the project has finished.

The outputs will be delivered by an established partnership between the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion and Academy Conferences, which runs conferences for schools and whose founder, Julie Arliss, has run some pilot philosothons. The strong group of advisors includes Matthew Wills, who oversees the philosothon project in Australasia, Laura D'Olimpio, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy of Education at the University of Birmingham and SAPERE, the national charity supporting Philosophy for Children in the UK. Other advisors include Prof. Alister McGrath, Andreas Idreos Chair for Science and Religion at Oxford; and Rev. Mark Smith, who has run pilot philosothons at King’s School in Taunton.

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