Since 2018, I’ve led science communication for the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism as Head of Communications for SAPEA. It’s a very lively and challenging role which demands subject knowledge, creativity, hands-on communications skills, strategic thinking and (increasingly) team leadership. It’s not just about communicating the science behind our advice — it’s also about raising awareness of issues at the science-policy interface, and stimulating debate in society about the roles scientific evidence should play.
I’ve conducted choirs and trained singers for more than 20 years. I’ve been lucky to be involved with some very exciting ensembles, ranging from really top-rate chamber choirs (and associated chamber orchestras) to community and youth groups in the north of England.
I also arrange and compose, mostly for choirs, mostly unreliably and inconsistently. Some of what I produce is worth listening to.
My PhD examines conscientious objection by doctors, a topic at the intersection between public policy, religious belief and medical ethics.
I have a professional interest in the philosophy of science and an ongoing amateur fascination with the philosophies of religion, language, cognition and games.
Party of European Socialists
When I first moved from the UK to Brussels, I spent two years as Senior Communications Advisor to the Party of European Socialists. My particular responsibility was press and media relations, but I also had a role in publications, events planning, campaigns and many other areas.
UK referendum campaign
I was closely involved in the 2016 UK referendum on EU membership — on the losing side, unfortunately. Alongside being head of communications to the leader of the Labour party in the European Parliament, I was seconded as a communications advisor to former home secretary Alan Johnson, who led Labour’s campaign.
Mostly through being in the right place at the right time, I’ve had the opportunity to lead high-profile public communication campaigns on European issues in Britain — including conceiving and developing a widely-used mythbusting app during the EU referendum campaign, advising the Remain campaign for the UK Labour party, and serving as Head of Communications to a senior British MEP.
I’m now a post-Brexit Brit, living and working in Belgium.
Volunteering at festivals
Until 2015, I was a supervisor every summer at one of the UK’s biggest popular music festivals. I managed a team of about 60 volunteer stewards, with frontline responsibility for the safety of thousands of music fans.
KT-Equal was a research consortium developing technologies to improve the lives of older and disabled people. Among the partners were the universities of Sheffield, Edinburgh and Cambridge. I was their Communications Manager, with responsibility for communications strategy and projects, media campaigns and brand management, especially web and social media.
UK national museum
I ran the press office at the UK’s National Railway Museum, managing a team of staff in a busy media-facing environment. This was a year-long contract starting in 2006. We achieved extended coverage on UK national TV, front-page news in national newspapers, and a documentary for UKTV History.