The place for philosophical enquiry
Think Together Sheffield is a partnership of teachers, trainers, facilitators and academics who use philosophy in their work to enhance learning, communication and wellbeing. We work in a range of contexts including schools, universities, organisations and in the community.
Our shared aim is to make Sheffield a place where people of all ages and backgrounds can think together about what matters most to them. With our training, resources, workshops, events and advocacy we want to make sure that the professionals who work with local people have everything they need to make this happen.
Think Together Sheffield was formed in 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, when the huge rupture in education and society highlighted the need for people from all communities to imagine a better future and put this into action by thinking, talking, listening and working together. In response, our group of local teachers, trainers, facilitators and academics, who had been using philosophical enquiry over many years, decided to come together to put philosophical enquiry at the heart of Sheffield life.
Philosophical enquiry began growing in Sheffield schools as early as 2005, using an approach known as P4C or Philosophy for Children, Colleges and Communities. This drive was led by Development Education South Yorkshire (DECSY) and the Sheffield Local Education Authority supported by Creative Partnerships.Between 2005 and 2010, P4C expanded rapidly in the city with the support of conferences run by DECSY at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) and courses and workshops accredited by the Society for the Advancement of Philosophical Enquiry and Reflection in Education (SAPERE). In 2006, the University of Sheffield’s student-led outreach programme, Philosophy in the City, was founded. In 2008, Thinking Space began working with local schools and cultural organisations on creative forms of philosophical education.During this period, ESCAL (Every Sheffield Child Articulate and Literate) and local schools ran annual pupil conferences at the Town Hall called ‘Let’s Talk’, where children of all ages experienced formal debating and philosophical enquiry.P4C continued to develop at SHU where student teachers were introduced to P4C, eventually obtaining qualifications in P4C through courses run by Senior Lecturer Fufy Demisse. Since 2010 many Sheffield schools, among them Bradway Primary, have developed whole school philosophy initiatives aided by the SAPERE Going for Gold Programme implemented by DECSY and other local SAPERE trainers, sometimes with input from other organisations including DialogueWorks and The Philosophy Foundation.
In recent years P4C has extended into the community with a local Philosophy in Pubs group led by Rosie Carnall. Philosophy in the City has engaged the city’s homeless people in philosophical dialogue and Thinking Space has hosted philosophy workshops on the climate crisis. Several of our freelance facilitators, among them Kate Halliwell, have worked with the University of Sheffield on public philosophy engagement projects spanning contact tracing to robotic care assistants. Meanwhile the Centre for Engaged Philosophy has led an ambitious drive to raise the profile of philosophy in schools.
Think Together Sheffield is a coalition of schools, universities and other organisations and individuals who are experienced in philosophical enquiry and committed to helping it thrive in the uncertain years ahead.