Wonder Ponder at the 18th International Conference of the International Council for Philosophycal Inquiry with Children (ICPIC)
Wonder Ponder's Visual Philosophy for Children author Ellen Duthie will be taking part in the 18th International Conference of the Internacional Council for Philosophical Inquiry with Children (ICPIC) to be held this week in Madrid (opening on Wednesday 28th and ending on Saturday 1st of July).
Under the theme 'Philosophical Inquiry with Children Coming of Age: Family resemblances' the conference aims to offer "an open discussion covering all the different approaches to the implementation of the community of philosophical inquiry in formal, non-formal and informal education. [...] After nearly 50 years of engaging children, adolescents and adults in a community of philosophical inquiry in different (formal, non-formal and informal) educational settings, a wide variety of methods and styles have been used that share some common features and a family resemblance.".
Ellen has shared with us what she will be doing at the conference:
On Thursday morning, I will be presenting my paper "The Wonder Ponder Visual Philosophy for Children’s Independently Narrative but Thematically Connected Visuals as Stimuli for Philosophical Inquiry”, where I will explore the specific qualities of Wonder Ponder visual philosophy scenes in terms of how they operate to stimulate dialogue compared to other types of stimuli commonly used in philosophical practice with children, such as Lipman's philosophical novels or quality picture books chosen for their potential for philosophical inquiry.
At the crossroads between philosophy, art and literature, Wonder Ponder boxes use thought-provoking visuals to encourage readers to explore philosophical issues (cruelty, identity and freedom in the three boxes published to date), aiming to foster independent, deep and playful thinking. Each box contains 14 striking, independently narrative but thematically connected scenes for thinking about and engaging in philosophical dialogue on a given issue. It also includes a further 3 blank scenes for readers to contribute to the book as authors and artists and, innovatively, as thought-provokers.
I will suggest that, by virtue of being both deliberately philosophical and deliberately literary, the Wonder Ponder material interestingly incorporates advantages of other existing stimuli.
Like Lipman’s philosophical novels, Wonder Ponder scenes and sets of scenes are designed with philosophical intention, even though the result is far closer to the picture book form than the novel form. The advantage of being able to design material with philosophical intention is that it allows you to purposefully pack the material with philosophically stimulating potential. I will explore the differences and similarities between engaging with text-based philosophical stimulus and image-based philosophical stimulus in these two cases.
On the other hand, like picture books, Wonder Ponder scenes are designed and developed with literary intention. The advantage of creating material with literary intention is that it allows authors to bring out the deep connections between philosophy and literature in ways that are interestingly effective for stimulating philosophical inquiry with children. I will explore the differences and similarities between engaging with a picture book and one Wonder Ponder scene, and between a picture book and a full set of Wonder Ponder scenes, as a philosophical stimulus.
In addition, the visual philosophy scenes in the Wonder Ponder boxes add one important advantage of their own in terms of thought and dialogue stimulation: the possibilities arising from comparing and contrasting.
Although individually narrative scenes, the scenes included in a given Wonder Ponder box are designed to prompt questions and thinking by themselves, but also to prompt thinking through comparison and in conjunction with the other scenes in their box. Thus, each box tells 14 stories with connections, both literary and philosophical, incorporating an interesting and relatively unexplored territory within the range of stimuli for philosophical inquiry: the possibility of comparing and contrasting complex, yet easily and immediately grasped scenarios from an early age and making connections between different fields and issues.
Besides presenting, I am also part of the Organizing Committee of the conference, which aims to be a fully bilingual conference (with sessions combining English and Spanish presentations and workshops), so our work's cut out for us!
I'm very much looking forward to seeing some friends again and to meeting many others. I'm hoping -I'm sure- that this will be a stimulating opportunity to share and learn from each other.
The conferences and some of the presentations and symposia will be broadcast live at https://www.youtube.com/c/RafaelRoblesLoro.
See you in Madrid!