This year Women In Parenthesis is celebrating the life of the Philosopher Mary Midgley, who would have been 100 this year. To commemorate her birth and her remarkable achievements as a philosopher, we plan to publish a special collection of poetry born of the conversations between the philosophers and poets Mary's biscuit tin has brought together.


One of our aims is to encourage more and different kinds of thinking. We are inviting young people, across the world, to send us an illustrated poem. The poem can explore any aspect of Midgley’s work and the worksheets below will help get you started. We will pick some to share on our Instagram page @notesfromabiscuittin and a selection could be published in the collection.



How to take part

To submit a poem, and have a chance to be included in the collection, please complete the following 4 steps.

  1. Download the Gaia and Philosophical Plumbing worksheets. By completing these sheets you will learn about Mary Midgley’s philosophy, and why philosophers need poetry.
  2. Write a poem inspired by Midgley’s philosophy. You might like to illustrate it.
  3. Take a photograph of your poem. Perhaps you would like to include your favourite biscuits in the photo!
  4. Upload the photo via this website.
  5. Download your certificates for completing the worksheets.


*If would like to share the poem via instagram or twitter account do so using @notesfromabiscuittin or #notesfromabiscuittin. Please note, if you wish to have your poem considered for publication you must also upload it via this website.*

Download the worksheets

These worksheets are aimed at children and teenagers aged 6 and up.
See the Notes for parents carers and teachers for more details with links to curricula.

Mary Midgley was interested in the way that our thinking can go wrong. She thought that philosophy (the kind of thinking that philosophers do) was a bit like plumbing. Download a worksheet and find out why!

Mary Midgley cared deeply about the natural world and was a pioneering environmental philosopher. She embraced Gaia theory, the idea of the earth as a living organism like a plant or animal.

Notes for teachers and parents

For more information about how these worksheets align with national curricula in England & Wales, Scotland and Ireland, and USA grades, see Notes for Parents and Teachers.

Keep in touch

One of the aims of Women In Parenthesis is to encourage more and different kinds of thinking. A crucial part of this is encouraging women and girls to see themselves as thinkers, creators and philosophers. Sign up to our newsletter to keep in touch and hear more about our projects and activities.

The Poetry Collection

We plan publish the Notes From a Biscuit Tin Young Poets Collection in 2022. Make sure your parent, guardian or teacher leaves their contact details so we can let you know if your poem is selected for inclusion.

The Collection will form a permanent part of the Midgley archive at Durham University.

Information & resources

For more information on Mary Midgley and her philosophy, please see the following links:

About Notes from a Biscuit Tin

Young Poets is part of 'Notes from a biscuit Tin', a year-long celebration of Mary Midgley’s philosophical vision.

Mary Midgley Themes

A guide to the main themes of Mary Midgley's work in the Special Collections of Durham University Library Website.

For questions please email
We hope you will take part in this very exciting project!
We look forward to reading your poems.

Submit your poem

Young Poet details

Legal guardian / teacher details

Upload your file

Keeping in touch

Legal guardians submitting poems thereby give Women In Parenthesis permission to publish their child's work in internal and external publications, newsletters, presentations, websites, social media and local/national newspaper articles. The work itself will always remain the intellectual property of the young person. We will always obtain consent from the young person in addition to this.

Teachers submitting work on behalf of a pupil thereby give Women In Parenthesis permission to contact them should further permissions from the child’s legal guardian be needed. For example, in order to publish the child’s work in the manner set out in the previous paragraph, or for any of the uses described in the remainder of these terms.

By submitting this work you consent to signing up to a Young Poets mailing list. All of our mailing lists are managed through Mailchimp. To unsubscribe from this list at any time follow the unsubscribe link found at the bottom of all communications.

Young Poets submissions may be placed in digital form in the Midgley Archive at Durham University Special Collections.

This submission may inform reflection on the impact and significance of the research of Women In Parenthesis. We would like to be able to consider how our worksheets may have informed the content or the approach of the poem submitted. If you do not want us to reflect on the submission in this way, please inform the project manager by email:

We may wish to use this submission to evidence the impact of our research. We may wish to share a digital image of the poem via the website. The poem may be included in teaching and promotional material. Should we wish to use the poem in any of these ways, we will contact you directly to seek your consent or that of the legal guardian.

You can change your preferences on any of the above, or seek further information at any time, by email:

Successful submissions will receive a confirmation email. If you experience problems with this submission form or do not receive a confirmation email, please contact us at


You can download and print your own certificates when you have completed the worksheets.


We would be extremely grateful if parents, guardians & teachers could help us by completing a brief (5 minute) survey which will help inform and improve our practice. As a thank you for your time and thoughts, we will send you an electronic copy of Mary Midgley’s unpublished radio talk, ‘Rings and Books’. This talk was written in 1953 and reflects on family life and philosophy.