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Phil McLoughlin was born Phil Barker in Dunfermline in 1946. He worked as a foundry labourer, railway porter and jute millworker and psychiatric nurse between 1964 and 1975. Despite no formal training in art his work was exhibited as part of the Scottish Young Contemporaries in 1968. Around this time he was awarded a prize by the RSA and set up an artists collective in Dundee. In 1978 he gave up art to train as a psychotherapist going on to pursue an academic career. He was awarded a doctorate in Philosophy in 1985 and went on to work in universities in England, Australia, Japan and Ireland as a professor, psychotherapist and author. He returned to painting in 2007 as 'Phil McLoughlin' to much acclaim. He was elected a professional member of the Society of Scottish Artists in 2012.