Age-friendly | Microfunding

Philosophy in Pubs

'Philosophy in Pubs' brings people together in shared spaces in Sheffield to learn and discuss in an informal setting. The groups are facilitated by Rosie Carnall who uses the Philosophy for Communities (P4C) method to guide conversations; a structured but flexible process for a group to find and discuss a big question. To grow and develop this community initiative, Rosie successfully applied for Age-friendly Sheffield micro-fund monies in late 2021.

By Rowan Hall · February 14, 2022

With support from the age-friendly micro-fund, Rosie Carnall is on a mission to facilitate more open and inclusive philosophical conversations in public spaces; taking the approach out of the pub and into more community settings. Getting together and thinking together in this way produces a diversity of views which is enriching for conversation and helps promote tolerance and understanding of others. It supports greater community cohesion and is mentally stimulating.

The specialist technique, P4C, is designed to get you thinking creatively, critically, collaboratively and with care. ‘Philosophy in Pubs’ is aimed at adults of any age who are curious and want to explore big questions in the company of others in a light-hearted but respectful manner. 

The ‘Philosophy in Pubs’ group is run on a voluntary basis. Set up in 2018, the very first meeting in Sheffield attracted just one other person! Today it pulls in people of all ages and backgrounds from across the city. It moved online during the pandemic and this is now an additional monthly group pulling in local, national and international participants! Rosie restarted the in-person group at the Millowner’s Arms in Kelham Island Museum in October 2021.

Micro-fund monies have been used for outreach work to encourage participation from a wider demographic and to become more inclusive. Rosie has been able to take ‘Philosophy in Pubs’ to different audiences and has also developed a whole new strand of her work; ‘Philosophy in the Gallery’ which has become a regular, monthly, Friday morning feature at Graves Art Gallery, in Sheffield city centre, which she calls ‘Sharing the View’.

Rosie says that the funding from Age-friendly Sheffield has given her work an added credibility and opened doors for her.   Rosie admits that meeting in pubs isn’t a model that works for everyone, “on one hand meeting in a pub means open access and anyone can join in, but culturally the pub setting is going to exclude some people,” she said. The funding has helped Rosie reach new communities and spread the word, widening the appeal and accessibility of this approach. The future could be ‘philosophy in cafes’, ‘philosophy in community centres’, ‘philosophy in the library’ or ‘philosophy in the park’. 

Philosophy for Communities is here to stay in Sheffield, and you are going to be hearing a lot more about it in the months to come.  In the future Rosie is hoping that more people might be interested in training as facilitators in the P4C method, including gaining the Level 1 accreditation offered by SAPERE, which helped to shape her own professional development.

What people said:

“Look, listen and learn. It’s been very interesting listening to you all this evening” – Bay Horse Inn Pitsmoor.

“I’m new to Sheffield and it’s good to find a group like this where it’s not all small talk but you get to think and talk about big stuff” – Philosophy in Pubs participant.

“I knew as soon as I got here that I had found ‘my tribe’. It’s very stimulating but it feels safe and inclusive too” – first time participant at Mill Owner’s Arms.

What Next?

Would you like to learn more about Age-friendly Sheffield? We have been talking to people across Sheffield about what it means to be ‘age-friendly’ and how Sheffield can be a brilliant city for people to live at any age. Watch this video to get the story so far and join in the conversation through 100 Voices.

Philosophy in the pup