8th International Colloquium

Philosophy in the Community

Thursday 12 to Sunday 15 September 2024
Holgate Centre, Grey College, Durham University, Durham, UK

The Society for the Furtherance of Critical Philosophy (SFCP, UK), Philosophisch-Politische Akademie (PPA, Germany) and Gesellschaft für Sokratisches Philosophieren (GSP, Germany) are pleased to announce that our 8th International Colloquium on dialogical practice and dialogical philosophising will be held in the historic city of Durham in the UK. The Colloquium will be held in collaboration with Durham University’s Centre for Social Justice and Community Action. The theme will be ‘Philosophy in the Community’. Further details of the theme and programme can be found here: full details

FORM for registration

The event will start with dinner on Thursday 12th (check-in and tea/coffee available from 16.00) and end after lunch on Sunday 15th September. The cost will be £250 for three nights (12th, 13th, 14th September) with all meals included. The non-residential rate (meals only, no accommodation) is £150. The fee has been generously subsidised by SFCP, PPA and GSP. Reduced fees and full bursaries for fees and travel will be available on application. Additional nights before and after the colloquium can be booked at Grey College at your own expense, if required.

The aim of the colloquium is to create space for dialogue amongst participants, with a focus on group discussion and other collaborative activities. Numbers will be limited to about 35, and all participants will be expected to stay for the full event, engage actively in the colloquium and have experience of, and a commitment to, dialogical practice.

If you wish to apply for a place, please complete this form.

If you are offered a place, you will then be sent a link by Durham University to complete your registration and payment. We will respond to applications as quickly as possible, and certainly within one month.

If you have any questions about the colloquium or difficulties with the form, please contact: Sarah Banks,

Abstracts of workshops, dialogues and posters

Session 2: Workshop 1. Evaluating themes around ‘managing challenging situations’ developed through dialogical practice by the trainee medical community during the COVID pandemic (2020 – 2021), Miriam Armstrong and Mike Jones, UK

This workshop will examine approaches to managing challenging situations (e.g. breaking bad news) developed, through dialogical practice, by trainee consultant physicians during the COVID pandemic (2020-2021). The aim of the workshop is to review the approaches developed by doctors from lay and patient perspectives using a combination of small group work and wider discussion. The purpose of the review is to consider where, and how, lay and patient perspectives might diverge from those of doctors and consider whether further joint dialogical practice between medical and patient communities, or other approaches, might be beneficial.

Session 2: Workshop 2. Creative connections in community arts-based philosophical inquiry, Rosie Carnall, UK

The workshop will be based on my philosophical enquiry work in community settings, including galleries and pubs. We will start by looking at an artwork together and using it as the stimulus for a series of philosophical thinking activities. These will develop shared thinking and an ideas bank on the theme of community. Following this, there will be the opportunity for participants to develop their thoughts through a simple creative response activity. The final stage of the enquiry will bring the creative expressions together to create a communal response on the theme. We will close with time for a short review and questions.

Sessions 3, 4, 5: Socratic Dialogues (choose ONE for all 3 sessions)

Socratic Dialogue 1: What do we mean when we say we respect someone or something? Anu Virtanen, Finland

As children we are taught to respect our parents and teachers, other people’s feelings and rights, school rules, our home country and its laws, different cultures. We come to value the respect for these things and may also expect the same from others. Respect has great importance for life in the community. Our lives together go better if we have respect for each other and can discuss issues in mutual respect. Many people also experience a lack of respect and there are calls to respect for nature and members of racial, ethnic, gender or sexual minorities. What do we actually mean when we say or call to respect someone or something?

Socratic Dialogue 2: What is courage? Paolo Dordoni, Italy

To be citizens in a community sometimes requires taking a position and having courage to look at the consequences of our action, both for us and the others affected by us. For instance, taking a position to defend some rights; to be actively engaged in politics; even sometimes to decide who to vote for… What kind of courage is required to be a responsible member of a community? Is there anything that makes this courage peculiar? Depending on the example we choose, we could put our attention on some aspects related to our understanding of courage.

Socratic Dialogue 3: Topic to be confirmed, Sára Pokorná, Czech Republic


Poster 1: The history of the Society for the Furtherance of Critical Philosophy (SFCP), Dieter Krohn, German

This set of posters offers a fascinating account of the origins and development of the Society for the Furtherance of Critical Philosophy in the UK, including photographs of key members and reproductions of archival material.

Poster 2: Socratic dialogue for developing wisdom in teacher education, Anu Virtanen, Finland

This poster focuses on an action research project that aims to apply and develop Socratic dialogue for teaching wisdom in primary school teacher education. Through this approach, students seek to identify and resolve ethical dilemmas in the everyday

Sessions 7 & 8: Workshop 1. Dialogical plays/Introducing dialogue/Dialogical activities, Evelina Ivanova, Bulgaria

In the workshop some activities will be presented which promote dialogical attitudes and skills. Participants will have opportunity to explore the activities and reflect on their experience. The activities were designed and developed in the frame of the Erasmus+ project “The Power of Consensus”, a partner project between Sokratovske rozhovory, Czech Republic, Plovdiv University, Bulgaria and Collegio Archivescovile, Italy.

Sessions 7 & 8: Workshop 3. Towards dialogue through shared experience, Sára Pokorná, Adam Lalak, Lukáš Mareš, Eliška Havlová, Czech Republic

The workshop will focus on exploring the impact of experiential activities on understanding within a philosophical dialogue. The Institute of Living Philosophy works with principles of experiential pedagogy and combines them with philosophical dialogue. Participants of the workshop will have an opportunity to experience a designed activity and to lead a dialogue based on that activity. In the second part of the workshop, we will conduct an inquiry into the question “How does a shared experience influence understanding within a dialogue?”

Session 9: Poster 3. Developing dialogical practice in the medical community during the COVID pandemic, Miriam Armstrong and Mike Jones, UK

This poster and short talk will highlight how dialogic practice was used to engage trainee consultant physicians in making sense of their COVID experiences. The objectives are to outline:

  • How the programme was developed
  • Introduction of the online format
  • Preparation for communicating with trainee and trainer audiences
  • Additional support provided for trainees post-dialogues
  • Evaluation.

Session 9: Poster 4. Promoting dialogue with health care professionals: hints from Socratic Dialogue and from moral deliberation in the ethical discussion of clinical cases, Paolo Dordoni, Italy

This poster will briefly show two different ways to cope dialogically with moral dilemmas in clinical practice: moral deliberation and Socratic dialogue. Whereas the first one represents a modality to transform, when possible, dilemmas into problems by cultivating practical wisdom and our implicit knowledge; the second one offers a chance to deepen into some essential matter related to the case by enforcing our competence in reflecting and searching together. This poster can also be connected to the workshop given by Evelina Ivanova “Dialogical plays/Introducing dialogue/Dialogical activities“ because of one of the activities related to dilemmas was developed in the Erasmus+ Project, “The Power of Consensus”.

Session 10: Workshop 1. Working with the business community through shorter dialogical exercises, Anna Bromley, UK

I will explore the integration of Socratic dialogue into a business environment. I aim to provide participants with a view of how to engage with business professionals and encourage critical thinking and reflective insight. It would be good to cover practical approaches to implementing Socratic dialogue in a business setting and address common obstacles such as time constraints and participant engagement. I would like the session to be interactive and make use of dialogical exercises to reveal people’s thoughts and ideas. This workshop aligns with the colloquium’s theme ‘philosophy in the community’ by demonstrating the versatility of Socratic dialogue in a business context.

Session 10: Workshop 2. Freedom and fellowship, Kresten Thue Andersen, Denmark

After an introduction to Socratic dialogue viewed through the analogy ‘Into the forest’ the participants are invited to investigate their upcoming questions in the relation between freedom and fellowship. The analogy ‘into the forest’, which I have formulated in an article from 2019, visualizes both the interaction of the participants and the aim of Socratic group-dialogue: The analogy is meant to support the sense of being together in the dialogue and that the upcoming wonder becomes common.

While sitting, standing, and walking together the participants enter dialogues with one another and together, and during the session the participants change dialogue-partners. The two words ‘freedom’ and ‘fellowship’ will be the basis of the participants upcoming ideas in the session. In the end, if time allows, we will formulate different analogies and metaphors that may inspire the group. 

Session 10: Workshop 3. In dialogue with nature, Rachel Kellett and Sarah Banks, UK

This dialogue will start in the wood near the college, weather permitting. The topic is the relationship between humans and the ‘natural world’. We aim to work together to identify a question for a dialogue linked to topics such as: the meaning of ‘nature’, whether humans are part of or apart from nature, what it means to argue that nature has or should have rights, and what responsibilities humans have for nature. Participants will be invited to notice features of plants, trees, soil, rocks, birds, animals and have conversations together. Having formed a question we will seek a relevant example to explore the question further in a short dialogue indoors. We will reflect on the role of the senses, emotions and bodily movement in the process. The idea of community pervading this dialogue is the ecological community.