Thanks to generous contributions from the Leeds4Life Foundation and the School of PRHS, Minorities and Philosophy here at Leeds were able to put on a two day SAPERE accredited teaching training for 21 students and staff members.
The training was delivered by Grace Lockrobin from Thinking Space. Over the course of the two days she introduced us to both the theory behind and the practice of philosophising with children and adults new to the subject. We started by exploring the concept of a “Philosophical Community of Enquiry”, the rules of engaging in it, and tools to facilitate it. Our next step was to come up with our own ideas for a stimulus – these are interesting or provocative materials that stand at the centre of every enquiry. They ranged from story books, dilemmas, and newspaper articles, to videos, and art works. We then discussed ways to plan a lesson around such a stimulus. At the end the focus turned to ways of reflecting, together with the learners, about the content and success of an enquiry. Throughout, Grace provided us with many enjoyable classroom activities that not only ensure children and novice learners are interested and engaged but also foster basic critical thinking abilities.
Not only did all of the participants of the training achieve accreditation, they also got the opportunity to improve their communication skills, team work, leadership, problem solving, planning and organisation. We learned a lot about appropriate ways to communicate our specialist subject knowledge to a non-expert audience, especially when they are as young as primary school age. This also included our ability to be creative when solving problems of how best to shape our approach to a given target audience. Throughout the training we worked a lot in pairs and small groups. Not only did this mirror a technique we can use ourselves in the classroom but also helped us to receive constructive feedback from our peers. We talked a lot about how to lead an enquiry, including how to trade off being present enough to guide, but absent enough to give others the room to develop their own ideas. Finally, the focus on how to go about planning a session helped us to improve our organisational skills.
This training will enable the participants to benefit the school children and people in the wider community that MAP@Leeds are currently working with. They will be able to deliver more engaging and successful sessions to sixth form students at Allerton High School, pupils and undergraduates participating in the IntoUniversity scheme, and the adults attending the monthly philosophy club of the University of the Third Age (U3A), Leeds. This will also help us to advertise our access programme to more local schools and organisations in the future. Initial research suggests that young children exposed to philosophy lessons can make significant gains in reading, writing, and maths as a result. This means that promoting our scheme not only helps students develop as teachers, but also benefits pupils across the curriculum. Lastly, for those of us engaged in university teaching this has helped us to reflect on our current teaching practices and how we can make our tutorials a more active and engaging place.
Thanks to everyone that helped us make this possible!
(Photo credit: Elizabeth Watkins/Thinking Space)
MAP@Leeds is back for the new academic year with a new theme and new events!
This year, we want to focus on MAPping controversies in academia. Our goal is to take a step back and examine ourselves and the academic environment in which we function. Some questions that we hope to consider include, but are by no means limited to: What are MAP@Leeds’ main aims? Have we made progress towards achieving any of these? Do these aims automatically exclude people who do not share them, and is it a problem if they do? In recent years, has there been change for the better regarding diversifying philosophy, and how would we measure this? What motivations might there be for diversifying (e.g. one’s department, one’s syllabi) besides diversity for its own sake? What do we think about the current debate regarding free speech/giving or denying platforms in academia?
Our first event of the year wanted to start tackling some of these questions and in that spirit we gathered to watch and discuss Rae Langton's TEDxCambridge talk on the point of free speech and a BBC Newsnight debate on free speech in universities. We also had a lively reading group focused on the issue of epistemic exploitation, reading Nora Berenstain’s 2016 paper on the topic. Please watch this space if you want to get all the news about our upcoming events on the new theme!
This year we are continuing to work with local high schools and have already started to deliver A-level and AS-level philosophy lessons again at Allerton High School. Our collaboration with Leeds U3A philosophy club is also still going and throughout the summer and the autumn talks on animal rights, free will, personal identity, and global poverty & just war, have been given by some wonderful Leeds philosophy PhD students.
Until the merry holidays, we’ll be doing some more work in high schools, we are happy to be able to provide free accredited training in the Philosophy for Children (P4C) teaching method to Leeds PRHS students and staff, and we will meet with Carrie Jenkins (UBC) for a working lunch to discuss her book on the metaphysics of love, What Love Is: And What It Could Be.
And last but not least, we are proud to welcome a new member in our team! The wonderful MA student Erika Hawkins has joined us as treasurer.
We are also very happy to announce that our very own John Parry has become one of the co-directors of MAP UK (joining our events officer Emily Paul, who has also been a co-director of MAP UK since 2016).
Don’t forget to join our Facebook group and follow our Twitter page if you want to be updated on all our upcoming events! Thank you for being with us last year and we are looking forward to see many of you at our events this academic year too!
It's been a hell of a term for MAP@Leeds!
We've had four successful reading groups, on gender, aesthetics & oppression, and implicit biases. Two of those were with the impressive Anne Eaton and Kengo Miyazono on their own papers, and we really enjoyed picking their brains! We've even got undergraduates involved in the reading groups, linking in with the University of Leeds 'Feminist Philosophy' module, so that we're engaging with all groups in the university. Coming up, we've got interesting reading groups planned for the Summer term, with a notable mention of Carrie Jenkins' new work on the metaphysics of romantic love What Love Is: And What It Could Be.
We're also in schools! We've teamed up with other PhD students in Leeds to deliver four engaging philosophy sessions for AS-level students at Allerton High School. This has supported the wonderful teaching staff at the school in delivering with their first class of AS Philosophy students, and has provided context for why philosophy is important in the modern age. We're delighted to announce that we're continuing on this format with Allerton High in the next academic year, expanding our remit to supporting both the AS and A2 curricula. We're also expanding! Working with the Uni. of Leeds' Students Into Schools scheme, we're hoping to do similar work with 1-2 other schools in the Leeds area next academic year.
Alongside this, we're giving talks in the community! We've partnered with the Leeds U3A philosophy club to provide interesting introductory philosophy sessions to a great group of people no longer in employment. Based in Inkwell Arts Cafe, we're giving monthly talks on a variety of topics. So far, we've had the wonderful Christina Nick and Alison Toop speaking on ticking bombs and trolley problems. We're hoping to continue this relationship with the U3A in the long term, and we've already booked talks up until September this year with expressions of interest in further talks. Coming up in the next few months are researchers discussing free will, animal ethics and the ethics of suicide and euthanasia. Interesting stuff!
Another thing that's happened this semester is that we've expanded our conference grant terms to include claims from all Leeds students who identify as a member of an under-represented group going to any philosophy conference. We hope that this will allow our funds to be used more widely and in such a way that increases support for minority students in philosophy. We're excited to announce that we've had three successful applications on these new terms so far! If you're interested in applying, applications available here.
In terms of the number of events we've held, 2016/17 is already our most productive year to date! This academic year has also seen the creation of our website and Twitter account, which you should follow for updates! Thanks to everyone that's been involved.
On The Horizon
Fast approaching is our postgraduate-led conference on 'Philosophical Perspectives on Disability' on May 9th, with a keynote from the great Jackie Leach Scully. We've received some interesting abstracts so far, and look forward to reading through them in detail. But you've still got time to send an abstract in! Our CFA deadline is March 31st. More info here.
We're delighted to announce that we've been invited to speak with the MAP UK team at Manchester's 'The Profession We Want: Practical Efforts to Improve Philosophy' conference. We're very excited to share our experience of trying to improve representation in academic philosophy and engagement with the wider community, particularly from a postgraduate perspective. Looking forward to contributing!
Other than that, we've got a whole host of events being planned for the Summer term and beyond! As usual, we're going on the Easter hiatus to plan more events (and catch up on research!), so we'll be back in action around April 24th.
Watch this space for updates on our progress, follow us on Twitter, and contact us if you want to get involved!
We're excited to announce that MAP@Leeds is working with the University of the Third Age (U3A) Leeds philosophy club to provide introductory sessions on a range of philosophical topics. U3A is a national self-help organisation (made up of local groups) for people no longer in full time employment providing educational, creative and leisure opportunities in a friendly environment.
The U3A Leeds philosophy club meets at the amazing Inkwell Arts Cafe (ran by Leeds Mind) on the third Monday of every month (except August & December). We'll be giving talks and organising external speakers (from both PhD students and academic staff) throughout 2017. We're delighted to be working with such a friendly and engaged group, and providing meaningful contact with philosophy academics in the community!
More info: U3A UK, U3A Leeds & Inkwell Arts
Interested in attending?
Please contact the U3A organisers here. (Be aware that there's a small admission fee.)
Interested in speaking?
Contact us now! Our current schedule is available here.
Uni. of Leeds student?
Attending a philosophy conference?
WE COULD HELP!
We are delighted to be able to expand our conference attendance grants to include all University of Leeds students that identify as members of under-represented groups wanting to attend any academic philosophy conference/workshop. Successful applicants will now fulfil one of the following criteria, either:
Please see our application form for the full terms. We are very grateful to the School of PRHS for enabling us to offer this support.
Funds will be made available in two rounds (October-March and April-September) to ensure funds are available across each year. Funding will be granted on a first-come first-served basis, with a £50 per person, per application upper limit available. More than 1 application is permitted per round, but new applications will be given priority. Confirmation of funding for additional applications will not be given until the end of the funding round (and is dependent on available funds).
Please see our funding page for an application form, and email your completed applications to: PRHSmaps@leeds.ac.uk.
As of today, MAP@Leeds has started supporting the teaching of AS Philosophy at Allerton High School in Leeds. As this is the first year in which the school has offered its pupils the opportunity to study philosophy, our role is to support the teacher in finding the best ways to engage the pupils with the challenging material.
Throughout January-March 2017, we will be running four sessions in which both MAP@Leeds and other University of Leeds PhD students travel to the school and deliver interactive sessions. The aim is to teach the pupils how to apply the theory that they have encountered in their classes to larger ideas and problems in the real world. In this way, we hope to show the pupils the relevance and applicability of the more abstract thoughts and arguments in their curriculum. By sharing our enthusiasm about the subject, we want to spark the pupils’ interest and curiosity in philosophical enquiry in general. We are hoping to expand this kind of collaboration to other schools in the wider Leeds area in the coming months.
Teacher in the Leeds area? Please get in touch for Philosophy support sessions!
Email us at PRHSmaps@leeds.ac.uk
The University of Leeds Minorities and Philosophy (MAP) chapter would like to cordially invite you to attend its second conference, to be held on Tuesday 9th May 2017. Our theme will be the philosophy of disability. Given that the interest in the philosophical aspects of disability is fairly new, there still are a lot of issues which need to be explored, including but not limited to:
Call for Abstracts: Students who are currently undertaking or have recently completed a Master’s or a Doctoral programme are invited to submit abstracts ranging from between 400 to 600 words. They should be prepared for blind review, and should have an anticipated presentation length of 30 minutes (which will be followed by a 20-minute Q&A session). Submissions are to be sent to PRHSmaps@leeds.ac.uk by March 20th, 2017. We ask that submissions be in a standard file format (no cloud services please). The selected presenters will be notified of their acceptance by April 9th, 2017. It should go without saying, but we highly encourage submissions from those who are traditionally under-represented.
Keynote Speaker: We are delighted to announce that the conference will end with a talk on disability, ethics, and epistemology, given by professor Jackie Leach Scully, from Newcastle University.
Funding: We are able to offer the presenters optional free accommodation with the current postgraduate students from the philosophy department of the University of Leeds and, depending of the funding we will secure, we can hopefully also cover some of their travel costs (details to come on our conference website).
We are dedicated to running an inclusive and accessible event. Should you have any specific requirements, please contact the conference organizers and we will do our very best to accommodate your needs. This event will be run in accordance with the BPA/SWIP-UK Good Practice Scheme.
Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the MAP@Leeds Team:
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/300942200096306/