Phillip received a BA (Hons) in History and English from the University of Sydney in 2006 before going on to the MPhil in Early Modern History at the University of Cambridge (2007-08). In both degrees he worked on the career and life of the English poet Matthew Prior (1664-1721). Phillip was a scholar of St John's College, Cambridge, where Prior had been a fellow for most of his life and to which he left a large part of his personal library, a significant part of the research leading to the masters dissertation. Following this Phillip had a six year career as an art handler at two international auction houses, which allowed him to expand on his interest in art and material culture.
Now returning to his studies to begin the combined MA/PhD programme, his current interest is in books and libraries as sources of information and misinformation for people interacting with the Atlantic world.