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Philosophy, Late - but still thought-provoking


February was Sheffield's first Philosophy Late at the Museum. It was made even later by an ill-timed snowfall, which meant the event had to be postponed by a week. Still, nearly 150 people came along to talk and think together. It was a joyous and inspiring time, living up to the ambition of our title: When thoughts take flight


As well as philosophical enquiry sessions with themes including happiness, freedom, creativity and clutter, we had ongoing drop in sessions throughout the evening that enabled people to engage their thinking through creative and collaborative activities. These included making a bird or a freedom journal, adding to a collage about gender stereo-typing or thinking about what makes a home a home.


We asked people what they had enjoyed most about the evening and comments included:

  • Deep conversations with strangers.

  • I didn't have to know anything about famous philosophers. Listening to others - fascinating!

  • Being able to engage in interesting thorough philosophical discourse again - it's been too long!

  • The variety of different tables/areas to stand/sit and share ideas with strangers from different ages and backgrounds. There was a good energy and openess to learning. Please do this again! Thank you.


As part of my drop in activity, I invited people to think about where they experience freedom and add a marker flag to an abstract map. The map included representation of urban, nature, sea, sky and imagination.

It was striking to me that flags were placed in all the different environments.

I found myself wondering if dreams are a place of freedom, and explored this in conversation with visitors to the map.

"I suppose it depends what your dreams mean to you," someone said. And another added "And whether you need to be making a choice to be free."


Many thanks to all my colleagues in Think Together Sheffield for coming along on this adventure.

Huge admiration for Sheffield Museums - your staff and volunteers are amazing. And behind it all, the Society for the Furtherance of Critical Philosophy - we owe you so much gratitude for the kickstart funding to make it all happen at all.

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