Dr Sunny Dhillon


Prior to joining the Education Studies team in November 2021, Sunny spent five years as a learning developer at the University of Leeds, as well as at BGU, where he also worked as a Visiting Tutor in the Theology, Ethics and Society department. Sunny conducted his doctoral research through the Philosophy department at Cardiff University, focussing on the concept of utopia through the works of Friedrich W. Nietzsche, Ernst Bloch and Theodor W. Adorno. Owing to his background in Continental Philosophy, combined with Critical Pedagogy, he is well-placed to help students critically investigate the ostensibly virtuous practice(s) of formal education.

Sunny’s research interests include Critical Theory (The Frankfurt School), Nietzsche, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Utopia, Philosophy of Education and Critical Pedagogy. His current research projects explore the crises of liberalism as they relate to the practices of HE in the UK, and the role of gameplay and satire as potential responses to this context.

Office number: Skinner 119

ORCiD: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6632-701X

Blog: https://dsdhillon.medium.com/

Contact Dr Sunny Dhillon


PhD Philosophy – Cardiff University (2020)

Fellowship of Advance HE (2019)

Association for Learning Development in Higher Education Certified Practitioner (2017)

Trinity Cert-TESOL – TEFL Lab, London (2014)

MA Ethics and Social Philosophy – Cardiff University (2010)

BA Spanish – Cardiff University (2009)

Professional Recognition

Blog editor for the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (since 2024)

Guest editor for the International Society for Research on Solitude (2024)

Co-editor of Solertia (Bishop Grosseteste University student journal) (since 2022)


Member of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain

Member of the Sikh Academics and Researchers Network

Member of the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education

Peer-reviewed journal articles

‘Confronting well-being and mental health in the therapeutic university: Implications for educators, students and the curriculum’ (co-authored with Dr Clare Rawdin), Studies in Higher Education (2024), 1 – 12. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2024.2337805

‘The Home Beyond Home’: Balbinder S. Bhogal in conversation with Sunny Dhillon, Sikh Research Journal, 8(2) (2024), 30 – 55. https://sikhresearchjournal.org/index.php/srj/article/view/7/3

‘Adorno, Jiddu Krishnamurti, and Critical Theory: Negative Dialectics and Non-identity Thinking’, Comparative and Continental Philosophy, 15(3) (2024), 181–194. https://doi.org/10.1080/17570638.2024.2317125

‘The Trickster Archetype: education to stupefy’, Journal of Philosophy of Education (accepted for publication, TBC).

‘Utopia as akairological rupture’, The European Legacy (2023), doi: 10.1080/10848770.2023.2204643.

‘You must be having a laugh: humour to transgress’, Other Education, 11:1 (2022), pp. 42 – 58.

‘An Immanent Critique of Decolonisation Projects’, Philosophical Inquiry in Education, 28:3 (2021), pp.251-258.

‘The Dionysian Free Jazz of John W. Coltrane’, Telos, Spring (2020), pp.139-156.

‘Whose wellbeing is it anyway’, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education (October, 2018).doi: 10.47408/jldhe.v0i0.460

Dave Chappelle’s Block Party’, Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics, 10:1 (2013), pp.41 – 52.

Book chapters

‘Critical self-reflection in Learning Development’, in How to Be a Learning Developer in Higher Education, eds. Carina Buckley and Alicja Syska (Oxon: Routledge, 2024), pp.109-117.

‘Don Quixote contra Faust: Ernst Bloch’s Abstract or Concrete Utopia?’, in Yesterday’s Tomorrows: On Utopia and Dystopia, eds. Pere Gallardo and Elizabeth Russell (Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014), pp. 293 – 306.

Non-peer-reviewed articles

Revolver and Nietzschean Self-War’, Philosophy Now, Issue 119, April/May 2017

Dave Chappelle’s Block Party’, Philosophy Now, Issue 99, November/December 2013

Black Swan: Dionysus dances with Apollo’, Philosophy Now, Issue 86, September/October 2011

Online articles/blogs

Sikh Panjabi Scholars (curator and editor) https://medium.com/@sikh.panjabi.scholars

‘Life was a constant struggle, a battle for survival’ Asia Samachar (18 November 2023).

Rethinking – and maybe abolishing – graduations’, WONKHE (21 June, 2023)

Our desk-based higher education is not good for our health and our diversity’, WONKHE (22 June, 2022)

An Immanent Critique of Decolonisation Projects’, Convivial thinking (25 September, 2021)

‘Mind the gap: a platforms problem’, Copyright Licensing Agency (5 July, 2021)

‘Why neoliberal universities can’t expect their libraries to facilitate decolonisation’, Copyright Licensing Agency (14 April, 2020)

Decolonisation isn’t as simple as many people think’, WONKHE (21 February, 2020)

Book reviews

Xenofeminism‘, Philosophy Now, Issue 141, Dec 2020/Jan 2021

To Be Born: Genesis of a New Human Being’, Philosophy Now, Issue 128, Oct/Nov 2018

Podcast interviews

Applying game theory to education - time to play a different game? (Education Masterclass, October 2023)

Whose wellbeing is it anyway? (Association for Learning Development in Higher Education Podcast, September 2022).

‘A gentle dissolve: knowledge, wisdom and letting go’, International Society for Research on Solitude Conference, Bishop Grosseteste University, April 2024.

‘Finite and infinite games: how to play differently in Higher Education’, Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (PESGB) Annual Conference, University of Oxford, March 2024.

‘Ernst Bloch and Utopia’, Punjab University Patiala, Centre for Diaspora Studies, March 2024.

‘Critical Self-Reflection in Learning Development’, London Metropolitan University, Association for Learning Development in Higher Education, January 2024.

‘Spotlight: Professionals Working in the Third Space’, Association of University Administrators (AUA) Annual Conference, University of Warwick, July 2023.

‘Sikh Scholars in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences’, Sikh Scholars Network UK, University of Warwick, June 2023.

‘The Trickster archetype: education to stupefy’, Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (PESGB) Annual Conference, University of Oxford, April 2023.

‘Keynote: The Dionysian Free Jazz of John W. Coltrane’, The 44th Implicit Religion Conference, Bishop Grosseteste University, May 2022.

‘Embedding academic literacies at PG level within the School of Environment’, Digital Education Service conference, University of Leeds, July 2021.

‘Bridging the feedback gap’, Student Education Conference, University of Leeds, January 2020.

‘Student engagement through a Virtual Learning Environment’, Researching, Advancing and Inspiring Student Engagement, Newcastle University, September 2019.

‘Thinking critically in Learning Development’, Association for Learning Development in Higher Education, University of Exeter, April 2019.

‘The Wellbeing Agenda’, Association for Learning Development in Higher Education, University of Leicester, March 2018.

‘John Coltrane and Utopia’, Research on the Rise Conference, Bishop Grosseteste University, September 2017.

‘Marcuse and Hip Hop’, The Frankfurt School and Music International Conference, University College Dublin, July 2014.

‘Coltrane: Free-Jazz and Utopia’, Paths to Utopia Symposium, Cardiff University, June 2013.

‘Dave Chappelle’s Block Party and Marcuse’, Philosophy and Film Society, Cardiff University, November 2012.

‘Ernst Bloch and Utopia’, Utopian Studies Society International Conference, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain, July 2012.

‘Ernst Bloch: Abstract or Concrete Utopia?’, South Wales Philosophy Conference, Gregynog, Wales, March 2012.

‘Nietzsche, Music and Language’, South Wales Philosophy Conference, Gregynog, Wales, March 2011.