We are John Foster, Myfanwy Williams and Faye Tucker, three philosophers who have been working with schools across the North-West since 2004. In addition to being experienced philosophers, we have wide-ranging and diverse experience in primary, secondary and higher education.
We met one another whilst working and studying at Lancaster University Philosophy department, where John has taught for many years. John’s commitment to outreach work in schools and colleges has involved many students and colleagues at Lancaster. However, one-off projects with Miffy and Faye turned into long-term collaborations, and fuelled by a shared passion for taking philosophy out of the academy we found we enjoyed working together too much to stop!
Whilst we are building on many years’ experience working with schools, teachers and pupils, and university students, Second Thoughts is the beginning of a new journey for us. We are seeking to embed sustainable ways of utilising a philosophical approach in classrooms and communities, and look forward to exploring diverse projects with partners old and new.
As well as being SAPERE accredited, John is a qualified secondary school teacher and teaches philosophy in schools and universities. He has long had a passion for doing philosophy with children and young people, and led the Lancaster University philosophy outreach programme, MindOUT, for 13 years, taking philosophy into upward of 70 schools in the North West. John has developed innovative ways of working with university undergraduates to deliver philosophy in schools at primary and secondary levels, and has helped to develop a series of programmes on doing philosophy in schools for the BBC. Alongside teaching, John continues to write and has published two books, The Sustainability Mirage and After Sustainability, on the philosophical and political aspects of environmental issues. He lives in North Cumbria where he enjoys hill-walking and thinking and can still sometimes manage to do both at once.
Myfanwy (also known as Miffy) is a freelance researcher, and has worked on philosophy for schools since 2004; you can read about her commitment to raising the profile of philosophy in schools at her guest blog on the subject for Daily Nous. Miffy is SAPERE accredited and is now on the SAPERE trainer pathway. Having completing her BA Philosophy at Queens’ College, University of Cambridge, she spent time in Scotland pursuing her study of art. She then gained a studentship to study for an MA degree at Lancaster University, working on ethical issues raised by new genetic science. At Lancaster, Miffy took a summer job working with John on a Philosophy ‘gifted and talented’ summer school for KS4 students, and they have worked together on and off ever since. Upon completion of her MA Miffy won a Wellcome Trust Biomedical Ethics doctoral studentship, and moved to the University of Manchester to research her PhD in Philosophy of Psychiatry. In 2008 she completed her thesis examining explanations of mental illness, titled ‘Explaining Depression’, and went on to work as a university-based Widening Participation professional for 6 years. Miffy is also a qualified Taekwon-do instructor, and has been involved in instructing children for many years. In addition to philosophy and martial arts, Miffy has a longstanding interest in visual arts and has recently returned to her studio-based art practice at her home in the Wirral.
Faye first encountered philosophy during her undergraduate degree in art. After traveling and teaching English in Europe and Asia, Faye returned to studying and completed her MA Philosophy in 2014, writing her dissertation on the impact of marketing on young people’s autonomy. She is currently working on a PhD in philosophy at Lancaster University, focussing on questions about adolescence, and has published on adolescent medical consent. She teaches philosophy to undergraduates and has taught philosophy at A-level. Faye has worked alongside John as part of the MindOUT programme since 2013, helping to deliver school- and community-based sessions, and is SAPERE accredited. Faye and Miffy have both worked as philosophers on the EC funded I.Family project, helping to deconstruct and explain the public policy implications of research into childhood obesity. Faye lives in Lancashire with her husband, who is a primary school teacher, and their two boys.