Wolfe Mays Essay Prize 2021: ‘Engaged Phenomenology’

The Wolfe Mays Essay Prize will be awarded each year by the British Society for Phenomenology (BSP) and the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology (JBSP).

The prize is open to PhD students and Early Career Researchers (ECRs). The winner for 2021 will receive a cash prize of £500 and have their essay published in the JBSP. Full details of eligibility, submission, and evaluation criteria are below. The topic for the year 2021 is ‘Engaged Phenomenology’:

‘Engaged Phenomenology’ seeks to complement the approaches of applied and critical phenomenology by investigating embodied lived experience through a plurality of voices, encouraging dialogue between phenomenology, as a philosophical approach, and other disciplines, in addition to practitioners and individuals outside the academy. The aim is to engage phenomenological approaches across a variety of contexts (e.g., healthcare, medicine, education, design, art, psychology, architecture, community spaces, etc.) with the hope of opening up the phenomenological approach to individuals and communities outside of traditional philosophical spaces for the encouragement of dialogue, interaction and deeper understanding of the complexities of embodied lived experience across a diversity of contexts, while also being alert to the socio-political realities and power relations which frame experience.

‘Engaged phenomenology’, as an approach:
> heeds the situatedness of lived experiences across diverse cultural and environmental lifeworlds
> invites us to hold the notion of plural lifeworlds together with wider phenomenological questions about lived possibility, power relations, and the condition of having and being in a lifeworld which feels open to us and to which we are open
> challenges assumptions around narrativity and privileged articulacy in phenomenological methods, embracing new ways of listening and attending to people’s lived experiences in their specificity and relationality
> is mindful of how experience is lived through constellations of relations with others, rather than only seeking individualised (depoliticised) first-hand accounts
> considers the transformative potential of research participants sharing their experiences in meaningful ways, rather than merely assessing their ‘utility’ in academic terms.

The 2021 prize topic is taken from the theme of the BSP 2020 Annual Conference Online, by Jessie Stanier, Wellcome Centre, University of Exeter.

Key Dates
> Essay Prize theme announced: September 2020
> Entrant submission opens: November 2020
> Entrant submission deadline: 31 May 2021
> Jury meets and outcome communicated: November 2021

Full eligibility, submission, and evaluation criteria

> Submissions must be from members of the BSP
> Submissions are accepted from PhD students and ECRs (within 5 years of doctoral completion)
> Submissions will not be accepted from the BSP Executive or the JBSP Editorial Committee
> Submissions must address the topic set for 2021: ‘Engaged Phenomenology’
> Submissions should be no more than 8000 words, inclusive of tables, references, figure captions, footnotes
> Submissions should contain an unstructured abstract of 150 words

The prize will be awarded to an outstanding essay addressing the topic, the winner being selected by a Prize Jury. The prize will be judged by a jury composed on an annual basis from the BSP Executive, the JBSP Editorial Committee and Editorial Advisory Board, and independent reviewers. The prize is a monetary award of £500 and publication in the JBSP. All shortlisted submissions will be considered as submissions by the JBSP.

Submitting your essay to the prize
Submissions are now closed

Prize results
> The winner of the 2021 prize is Dr Rosa Ritunnano, MD (University of Birmingham & University of Melbourne – Priestley PhD Scholarship). Read the full announcement. Read the essay.
> The runner up is Magnus Ferguson (Department Philosophy, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA). Read the essay.
> Read more on the approach of engaged phenomenology from Jessica Stanier (Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health, Politics Department, University of Exeter, UK) who set the theme for the essay (as well as our 2020 and 2022 conferences; and read more on the prize in the ‘Editor’s Introduction‘ by Keith Crome & Darian Meacham, where all these texts are reproduced.

Questions should be addressed to the JBSP editor-in-chief by emailing [email protected].