Simon Kidd

I studied philosophy, psychology and logic at University College Dublin, and subsequently undertook postgraduate research in philosophy, being awarded a Master degree in 1994. My postgraduate dissertation was titled ‘Language and Ideology: The Significance of Hermeneutics and Semiotics for the Theory of Ideology’, and it involved an analysis of major figures such as Hegel, Marx, Heidegger, Gadamer, Ricoeur, Habermas and Eco.

During my student years, I acquired a personal interest in Asian and Middle Eastern philosophies and, in 1995, I moved to Cambridge where I was accepted as an MPhil student (preparatory to PhD research) at King’s College. The late John Cooper, a Persianist at the University’s Centre of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, with a strong interest in Sufism, provisionally offered to supervise my research. Perceiving my interests, he recommended that I produce a survey of the secondary literature on a mid-17th-century Persian text called the Dabestan. I spent the summer of 1995 in the University Library, completing this task. My application for funding from the British Council was unsuccessful, however, and I was unable to pursue my formal studies.

While in Cambridge, I worked in bookselling and publishing. I cut my teeth as an editor at The Running Head, and later specialised in document analysis and digital encoding at Griffin Brown. In addition, from 1996 to 1999 I was Assistant Director of the Science and Human Dimension Project, a ‘public understanding of science’ program based at Jesus College and directed by writer, John Cornwell.

I moved to Australia in 2003 and became a citizen in 2005. Between 2003 and 2008 I was the primary carer for my two children, although I also worked part-time as circumstances permitted, first as a philosophy tutor at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle, and later in Extension at the University of Western Australia. In 2008 I was employed as a full-time senior research officer at UWA, reporting to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Education. In this role I was the executive officer for several committees and working parties, and was closely involved in the University’s major Review of Course Structures, culminating in 2009 in the Future Framework.

In 2009, Matthew Wills, Head of Philosophy, Values and Religion at Hale School, invited me to be a Community-of-Inquiry (CoI) facilitator at the Philosothon, the inter-school philosophy competition that he had started in 2007. I became a regular facilitator at this event, and was asked by Matthew to be Chief Facilitator in 2010, and to stand in as a CoI judge in 2012. In 2013 he invited me to be a moderator at the Ethics Olympiad trial, in which Hale students competed with two US schools via video conference.

In 2009 I also completed Level-1 training with the WA Association for Philosophy in Schools (APIS). I was elected to the APIS committee at the 2009 AGM, and held the position of Secretary from 2010 to 2014. This involvement with APIS consolidated my understanding of Philosophy-for-Children (P4C) pedagogy, as well as providing some insight into the implementation of the Philosophy and Ethics course in the WA curriculum.

I completed a Master of Teaching degree at UWA in 2011 and I have been working in primary, secondary and tertiary education since that time. My positions have included teaching in the Philosophy, Values and Religion department at Hale (2011 and 2017); full-time classroom teacher in the upper primary (Years 4–6) at Perth Montessori School (2012 to 2015 inclusive); and sessional tutoring at the University of Notre Dame Australia in Fremantle (2018).

In 2018 I became Treasurer of APIS and Secretary of the Federation of Australasian Philosophy in Schools Associations (FAPSA).