A Brush with Philosophy

‘A Brush with Philosophy’ was created by Vanessa Brassey while researching and writing up her PhD. Struggling to make sense of a wealth of technical information and eager to slow down and really pay attention to important conversations, Vanessa started to painting portraits of her key colleagues, mentors and supervisors. The goal each time was to capture a Eureka moment – or a moment that encapsulated the essence of these long running conversations. Sometimes the discussions unfolded over several years. These initial portraits will soon be catalogued below along with phase II of the project.

Having completed her doctorate, Vanessa joined the Philosophy Department at King’s College London as an AEP lecturer. This coincided with the need to conduct all learning online, remotely, distanced and apart. She decided to continue her initial project by recruiting philosophy experts in several fields to offer a 15-minute free consultation with anyone who wanted to think over a thorny issue. The conversations were held and hosted on zoom and participants would have their portraits painted. Initially expecting to get a handful of positive responses, there were a whopping 30 sessions run in June 2021.

A huge thanks must go to Giulia Corti, Dr Jake Wotjowicz, Dr Zoi Aliozi, Dr Paula Romero, Dr Jenny Judge and Professor Aaron Wedlend for offering their time so generously. We were delighted that Charlotte Kearsley and Alice Wright both contributed portraits (as the numbers mounted). And of course, we were ecstatic about the wonderful participants who responded, engaged with the primer puzzles and met with their experts.

The project is continuing. Stay tuned for news and we will be uploading the portraits soon.


(Call for participation 2021 now closed)

Good Love. No Anxiety. Maximum Moral Growth.

What’s the problem?

You tell us.

We are offering a unique opportunity to clarify your thoughts and explore ways to love better, understand anxiety or maximise your moral growth, by talking to an analytic philosopher. In this way, you’ll be able to test whether philosophy really works!

We are seeking participants for five episodes of “A First Brush with Philosophy“, a 15-minutes philosophical discussion session so you can disentangle a thorny issue. For instance, why do we think morality must be impartial when loving someone is so obviously partial? Does that mean love can’t be moral? Do we love beautiful things, or does our love of something make it beautiful? In our secular age, has Love been deified in order to fill a gap? What is Anxiety? Is Anxiety essential for life well-lived? What is moral growth? How may I maximize my moral growth? Should I maximize my moral growth or can I be a little bit naughty sometimes and still be good?

The production involves a conversation between you and a philosophy expert attended also by a portrait artist.

We want you to…

…by registering your interest and meeting up with our fabulous team for a mere 15 minutes.

Did you know that philosophers are experts in problem solving?

Not only can they solve problems, they’re also a dab hand at finding them – or at least articulating worries in ways that allow us to address them. We’re offering a unique opportunity for you to go straight to the source of expertise and work through some slightly irksome problem or conceptual worry that you be lurking locally, but you can’t quite tease out.

✔︎ Free discussion ✔︎ Free clarity ✔︎ Free brush with philosophy

✔︎ Zoom meeting ✔︎ Range of topics ✔︎ Range of times

How does it work?

(1) You pick a date and time

We speak to the philosophers and match you up with the perfect expert.

We organize a 15-minute discussion so you can enjoy a first experience of the benefits philosophical dialogue brings. The meeting takes place and is recorded on Zoom while your portrait is painted recording the ‘a-ha’ moment.

You’ll receive a one-page primer to frame the discussion.

(2) You pick a topic

Topics on Love


Topics on Anxiety


Topics on Moral Development

(3) We match you up and arrange the zoom call

Ready to get started?