In April 2012 the Northern Institute of Philosophy launched the Café Philosophique series, with an aim to engage the general public with contemporary research in Philosophy. The initiative was supported by the Royal Institute of Philosophy, University of Aberdeen Knowledge Exchange and Transfer and the Northern Institute of Philosophy. 

Researchers from the University of Aberdeen shared, discussed and debated their research and philosophical issues with lay members of the public in facilitated groups.

The team

Café Philosophique is organised by Dr Federico Luzzi (pictured left), Philosophy Outreach and Knowledge Transfer Officer, and involved researchers from the Philosophy Department. 

The project was also supported by Dr Heather Doran, Project Officer Public Engagement with Research Unit who offered advice and support on logistics, content and social media.

Why did we engage?

 The nature, aims and methods of contemporary Philosophy is an area that is often misunderstood. We were interested in hearing the public’s conceptions and thoughts in these areas and areas relating to our research. Also by sharing our research and bringing Philosophy researchers directly in touch with the general public were looked to help provide accurate understanding of these Philosophical areas.

Who benefitted?

 Researchers found that by participating in a Cafe Philosophique they enhanced a number of their transferable skills, in particular creativity and communication skills were improved following the finding of novel and engaging ways to communicate with the publics.  

Collaborative and constructive discussions also proved beneficial to the publics in attendance, resulting in a greater understanding and appreciation of the contemporary issues in philosophy. 

Wider Impact

The Cafe Philosophique series has successfully resulted in increased networking and enhanced knowledge transfer within the Northern Institute of Philosophy. This has not only derived from the recruiting of facilitators for the table discussions but also from the attendance of staff and researchers at the Cafes.