Welcome to friends of wine women and philosophy (wwp)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Making New Links

Remember back in March when, to mark the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, we posted a call to action on this blog - urging wwp members and friends to use this year to bring to light the story of a woman who came before us, and whose life might run the risk of being lost to history if we didn't do something concrete to mark and record that life? Out of this call to action came the inauguration of the wwp Philosophy Club and our first six-week series connected to it, entitled The Invisible Matron. When the series drew to a close at the end of May, the lives of 9 hitherto uncelebrated extraordinary women had been recuperated by partipants and brought into dialogue with our philosophical discussions around voice, liminality, and the aging female body.

On a more personal note, and in that same post, Linnet spoke of a personal project that she was undertaking in the hope of finding out more about three shadowy female relatives in her family - one of whom was her paternal grandmother who had lost contact with her father back in 1930 when he was just two years old. Beyond knowing her name, Linnet knew nothing of this woman and had never even seen a photograph of her. Six months later, the photograph of a beautifully flapperesque Hylda Louise sits on Linnet's mantelpiece, and the pieces of her grandmother's colourful life are slowly falling into place. Among these pieces is the discovery of two half-siblings that Linnet's father never knew he had. Linnet is travelling to England next week to meet one of them, and will no doubt know a lot more about her grandmother by the time she returns. At wine women and philosophy we speak a lot about things we can do to open the door to more imaginative futures...In this case, a subscription to ancestry.com has closed the door on an imagined past and opened the door to a whole new family!

And speaking of making links...While Linnet is in London she will be attending a philosophy discussion put on by Philosophy For All entitled "What are you thinking about?". She will also be meeting with PFL founder and the editor of Philosophy Now magazine, Anji Steinbauer, to talk about teaching philosophy in an adult education context, about designing philosophy programs with women in mind, and about the creation of an exciting new London-based initiative that brings philosophy to the public - the London School of Philosophy.

Remember those field trips back when you were in elementary school?...Does anybody smell the whiff of a wine women and philosophy field trip to London in the works?...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Manifesta for a new day

Dear valued members and friends,

We have been doing some serious thinking about a new direction for wwp. As you will gather from the manifesta that appears below, our current emphasis is much more on the teaching of philosophy than on activity-based getaways. For those of you who know us and our history, we welcome your input. For those of you who have yet to discover wine women and philosophy, we will be interested to hear if our ideas appeal to you.

Members may be interested to know that the manifesta as a literary form and rousing call to action will be the focus of our December salon evening. More details about this event will follow soon. In the meantime, don't forget our upcoming salon evening on October 27th which takes the form of a debate between those age-old tropes assigned to women: 'The Good Girl' and 'The Bitch'.

wine women and philosophy manifesta

Wine women and philosophy is a philosophy school with a difference. What makes us different? In a nutshell, we turn living rooms, wine bars, and country retreats into classrooms. We cater solely to women. And we find ways to make philosophy pertinent to women's lives.

We don’t promise that philosophy will save your life…But we are convinced that it will make your life a lot more interesting. This is how we do it.

As educational entrepreneurs we put women first.

  • we admire women who have the courage to walk through the door and who are prepared to take the risk of learning something new
  • we treat every woman as a person who thinks unlike any other person, and who has thoughts, ideas and sensibilities that can enrich learning for others
  • we ask ourselves constantly how we can meet women’s educational aspirations and give them a learning experience that they value
  • we believe that every woman who challenges herself to learn something new opens the door to a new way of engaging with the world.

As committed professionals we design unique educational experiences that take seriously each woman's creative and reflective side.

  • we create friendly teaching and learning environments in convivial locales
  • we provide a safe place for women to find their voice around the issues they care about and to be opened to issues that they might care about in the future
  • we are developing a challenging, rigorous and fun way to learn which encourages everyone's contribution
  • we embrace a feminist pedagogy that challenges authoritative 'expertise' ; that values and builds on women's individual life experiences and backgrounds; and that seeks to broaden the idea of what education is and who gets to participate in it.

As hands-on philosophers we are dedicated to adventurous thinking.

  • we bring the word ‘excitement’ into the teaching and learning of philosophy
  • we employ innovative teaching methods that breathe a breath of fresh air into your life
  • we speak from the heart and work hard to make sure that our words aren't empty, or overly laden with jargon
  • we champion more imaginative futures for ourselves and for those with whom we teach and learn.

As dynamic animators we are proud to offer a philosophy program that is accessible, vibrant and well thought through.

  • we start with a topic: past topics have ranged from Funny girls in film to the trope of the Invisible Matron ; from How we look at photographs to Finding your body in your favourite poem
  • we then link a theme to that topic: for example, our look at family photographs becomes a way to explore the place of nostalgia and memory in our lives; our dip into your favourite poem opens the door to discussing the difference between reading poetry for what it says (the realm of representation) and discovering within that poem the traces of a living, breathing body (the workings of affect)
  • we introduce, next, some philosophical concepts to highlight connections between topic and theme, and to build a shared language that helps to prompt our collective working of ideas and individual understandings: Roland Barthes' notion of punctum, for example, builds a bridge between the piercing effect that a detail in a photograph can have on us and its triggering of a memory pang; Julia Kristeva's interpretation of the rhythmic and womb-like chora, for example, enables us to better grasp how certain styles of writing are more bodily than others
  • we use props!...drawing on a variety of conversational forms, playful exercises and artifacts we turn abstract concepts into grounded insights, taken-for-granted assumptions into interesting questions. In this way, a cookie cutter and a piece of dough become a way to understand how ‘the male gaze’ works ; sifting through a box of seemingly random objects illuminates a post-structuralist line of flight.

As a passionate team dedicated to enriching women’s lives through philosophy, we love those things that make us feel alive.

  • aha! moments
  • questions, questions, questions…
  • messy thinking, u-turns and loose ends
  • friendships blossoming out of shared learning experiences
  • an individual woman suddenly discovering her 'inner philosopher'
  • a growing number of women realizing that philosophy is for them.

Interested? Excited? Want to know more? We are eager to tell you about our salon series, our philosophy club, our membership schemes, our activity groups, and our up-and-coming educational offerings in a wine bar near you!

Email Linnet or Rona at wwpgetaway@live.com