Steve Bramall BSc MA PhD
Philosopher Thinking Partner
Hello, I'm Steve. I'm a freelance philosopher. I help people, places and projects grow and thrive by engaging the philosophical dimension.
Engaging the philosophical dimension is a fancy way to say that I collaborate with individuals, groups and organisations to help identify what's really at the heart of what they are trying to do, to think critically, creatively and clearly about what things mean and why they matter, to reflect deeply and effectively about ideas, processes and purposes. Engaging philosophically means I get to help people to make significant, valuable, sometimes profound changes.
I've been engaging this way successfully for over 30 years. As well as helping individuals and businesses, I've helped museums, galleries and parks, schools, universities and colleges, charities, youth groups and community groups. I've used philosophical tools and techniques in lots of different sorts of provision - from educational leadership training to community project facilitation, garden design to gallery transformation, in the arts, in science and in business.
Whatever the context, my method is consistent. I always work for significant valuable outcomes, always collaborate as a dialogue for thinking partner, always engage practical philosophy methods and insights.
I didn't always run my own philosophy business. I started out as an academic in Philosophy of Education at the University of London and in Macau. I got my PhD and taught and supervised post-grads. I published a fair bit, wrote courses and spoke at conferences a lot. I met loads of wonderful people and got to do very nice things. But after 12 years I wanted a change. I went freelance.
I got qualified in Philosophy for Children and have since worked for more than 16 years with the wonderful UK P4C charity SAPERE. In that time I've been a senior trainer, manager, facilitator, course designer, assessor, author and much besides. SAPERE gave me the chance to do creative work within a brilliant community and I got to help develop more schools than I can remember. I produced training courses and materials and trained and mentored hundreds of teachers and nearly as many senior leaders, lecturers and trainers.
I helped in the development of Community Philosophy - training and support for leaders in museums, charities, galleries, parks authorities, pubs, youth work and more. I co-devised the training courses and materials here, as well as providing project management, training and support. Community Philosophy has great people, great projects and great outcomes. The experience of engaging in it is very varied, sometimes challenging, always rewarding and lots of fun.
My work now often focuses on helping individuals and projects.
Philosophy helps in multiple ways. Concept analysis and value clarification usually play a part. Ancient wisdom is handy, sometimes even therapeutic. For an individual, generating the right philosophical questions can be key. For an organisation it can be developing a philosophical culture. For a project it might be getting clear about aims and values. Whatever the action, initiative, problem or possibility, there is always a philosophical dimension - and an opportunity for transforming philosophical practice.
At the heart of philosophical practice is philosophical dialogue - facilitated, tightly focused, challenging, reflective conversation that generates deep and purposeful thinking. It's the philosophical dialogue that enables changes in understanding. It's the changes in understanding that enable changes in practice.
Developing people, places and projects is a privilege. It's very enjoyable too. Where there's something good developing and we're getting stuck into philosophy, there's always a buzz.