In 2007 Hale School in Perth Western Australia embarked on a bold new project to promote higher order thinking among secondary school students. The Head of Philosophy, Values and Religion, Mr Matthew Wills and the Head of Gifted and Talented, Ms Leanne Rucks created the event involving ten Perth schools.
Since then each year the event has has grown and replicated with many hundreds of schools around Australasia and the UK now involved in Philosothons. In 2011 the first Australasian Philosothon took place at Cranbrook school in Sydney New South Wales and was supported by the Federation of Australasian Philosophy in Schools Associations (FAPSA). In 2012 the first Primary School Philosothon was held at the National Art Gallery in Victoria.
Listen to an ABC Radio National Program about the Australasian Philosothon
Philosothons have been introduced throughout Australasia in the following order. Ascham College hosted the first NSW Philosothon, Ballarat Grammar in Victoria and AB Paterson College in Queensland all in 2009. The first South Australian Philosothon was hosted by Prince Alfred College in 2017 and the first Hobart Philosothon was hosted by Guilford Young Catholic College in 2018. In NZ the first Philosothon was hosted by Waikato School for Girls in 2018. Since the Templeton funding was awarded in 2017 there has been many new Philosothons started up in regional and remote parts of our country as well as a new Philosothon in Australia’s capital Canberra.
See where we are currently supporting Philosothons within Australia
In 2014 the first UK Philosothon happened at Kings College following a visit from Mr Wills outlining the model. There are many ways in which Philosothons have developed over the past 10 years with some Primary School Philosothons and some Middle School Philosothons but all have a similar format.
View this video to gain an insight into that format
In 2017 the Templeton Foundation provided a generous small grant to promote the ongoing development of Philosothons in Australasia. Over the three years of the Philosothon project many new Philosothons have been started with a focus on regional and remote schools and schools dealing with students from low socio-economic backgrounds.
The Australasian Philosothon has been run annually in different capital cities since 2013. The aim of the event is not to promote competition among schools or school students but rather to promote the development of careful, critical and creative reasoning skills. These skills are developed in students as they prepare for and participate in Philosothons.
The Australasian Association of Philosophy (AAP) became the host of the Philosothon Project in 2020. Coordinated by the AAP’s Philosophy in Community Committee (PiCC) convened by Prof. Rob Wilson of the University of Western Australia (UWA), the annual Australasian Philosothon and its local feeder events are project managed by Dr Kaz Bland (UWA). Our project officer, Monty Campbell, takes care of the complexities of scoring!
After our successful shift to the online format in 2020 and due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the 2022 Australasian Philosothon will once again be held via Zoom, further information is available here. Information regarding upcoming local philosothons is available here.
All enquiries to Kaz at firstname.lastname@example.org