Our Philosophy

Our Philosophy is a community discussion project and accessible reading group, led by survivors for survivors. Monthly sessions will each focus on a different philosopher or text. No previous experience of philosophy is required - we welcome self-identifying female survivors who think deeply, feel strongly and want to nourish their ability to communicate.


To develop Our Philosophy, we will engage with and learn to think critically about philosophical theories in a practical, non-academic way - such as feminist theory, critical race theory, social class theory (Marxism). We hope that participants will develop their critical thinking skills; engage with the practice of consciousness-raising; and bring theory into real-life, healing contexts.


Our Collaborators

Our Philosophy will be led by Eilidh Harris, a Theology and Religious Studies Masters student at the University of Glasgow.

This project is a partnership with the Glasgow Zine Library, a library, archive and community space that hosts a year-round accessible programme of workshops and events. Participants will connect with the library and archive and attend a talk from the Zine Library about grassroots publishing and writing in community context.


Our Philosophy will engage with a wide range of topics. You can find out more about the different theories we will engage with in the Reading List below. 

Last month's discussion about anger led us to think about how we can express ourselves creatively, for example with protest art. Therefore, this month's session (25/08/22) will be inspired by Cynthia Freeland’s chapter from But is it Art? Introduction to Art Theory called ‘Gender, Genius and Guerrilla Girls.’ The discussion will focus on how it is possible for art to be valuable for social change, asking questions such as: In what ways can art be productive for activism - such as raising awareness or challenging stereotypes – and can you think of any examples? How does the identity (e.g. gender, sexuality, race, class) of an artist affect their art? How can we work to rebalance power and dominance in creative industries?

Do you have a topic that you would like to discuss? Reproductive rights? Climate change? Your wages? Your favourite movie/book/band? Maybe you attended our pilot event 'Remembering bell hooks' and want to discuss something further? Please get in touch and let us know!

We are aware that the themes discussed may bring up subjects that are sensitive for some attendees. You are always welcome to take breaks at any point during sessions and there will be an experienced support worker present.


Q: I'm not sure that philosophy is for me?
A: These are non-academic sessions that require absolutely no previous experience. We hope to encourage people who may not have engaged with philosophy before, or may even think it isn't for them! We simply hope to create a space where you can share your ideas and might learn from others.

Q: Will there be a lot of reading?
A: We will try not to send too much reading out for each session. Also, don’t worry if there are bits you don’t understand – just skip over them! We strongly encourage you to read the texts, but if you aren't able to you're still welcome to join us. You might want to just consider the discussion questions instead.

Q: Will I be made to talk in discussions?
A: No! No one will be called upon directly to talk during discussions. You would be very welcome to come along and just listen if that's what you're most comfortable with. We understand that discussion groups might be new for some people, but we hope that you still might get something out of hearing what others have to say.

Q: Do I have to come to every session?
A: It would be lovely to see you every time, but each session will stand alone, so feel free to try one out and see if you like it. You only need to sign-up to one session at a time. Sessions will happen monthly, on the last Thursday of every month at the Glasgow Zine Library.

Q: What happens if I find a topic difficult or triggering?
A: There will be an experienced support worker present at every session who you are welcome to use at any time. You are also always free to take a break for yourself during the sessions - there is a separate space at the Glasgow Zine Library that you can use and you can step outside if you need to as well.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to get in touch!

Reading List

Texts will be provided for participants. You can view all of our core and suggested reading below in a list which will grow as the sessions continue.

Feminist theory: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminist-philosophy/

Critical race theory: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/race/

Social class theory: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/marx/#AlieHumaFlou

Critical disability theory: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/disability-critical/

Article in Theology in Scotland by facilitator, Eilidh Harris, on how art can fight injustice: https://ojs.st-andrews.ac.uk/index.php/TIS/article/view/2423/1831


Week One: Remembering bell hooks (15/05/22).

  1. bell hooks. All About Love: New Visions (2016) – especially chapters 1 - Clarity: Give Love Words, 6 – Values: Living by a Love Ethic and 8 – Community: Loving Communion, available online at https://wtf.tw/ref/hooks.pdf

  2. bell hooks. Communion: The Female Search for Love (2002) – especially chapter 9 – Sisterhood: Love and Solidarity, available at Waterstones for £9.99. 

  3. [VIDEO] bell hooks and Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black) discussion: https://youtu.be/9oMmZIJijgY

Week Two: Amia Srinivasan and the Aptness of Anger (29/07/22)

  1.  Amia Srinivasan, 'The Aptness of Anger': https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jopp.12130

  2. Cambridge University Union public debate between James Baldwin and William F. Buckley, 1965: https://youtu.be/5Tek9h3a5wQ

Week Three: Cynthia Freeland and Art, Identity & Activism (25/08/22)

  1.  Cynthia Freeland’s chapter from But is it Art? Introduction to Art Theory called ‘Gender, Genius and Guerrilla Girls’: https://academic.oup.com/book/524/chapter-abstract/135277097?redirectedFrom=fulltext

       This chapter has a reference to sexual assault on page 134 in the context of Artemisia             Gentileschi.

                                     Thank You!

                                 This project is funded by the

      Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector.