I’m a senior lecturer, so teaching students, mentoring younger colleagues, as well as leading on research activity and funding bids.
What piece of advice would you like to give to a student?
Be confident to ask for what you need, when you need it. Don’t leave it to feedback at the end of your studies.
Who was your most influential teacher or educator?
Professor Jo Boyden at Oxford University who helped me understand how to apply research to the challenges faced by humanitarians and showed, by example, how to be a great mentor.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An actor. I achieved that dream, training at the Bristol Old Vic and working around the UK and overseas. But it’s a brutal field to work in.
What’s the one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you were younger?
Happiness in life comes from within.
What was your first job?
I was one half of children’s clowning duo Beany & Poops. Beany got a better job leaving me, as Mr Poops, to soldier on with my repertoire of terrible magic tricks and corny jokes. Great training for a lecturer, though!
What’s your favourite book or album?
‘Songs in the Key of Life’ by Stevie Wonder. I saw him play live at Wembley years ago. Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross came up from the audience to join him on stage. A blissful evening.
When are you happiest?
Walking my dog in the countryside around Frome.
If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be?
Daisaku Ikeda. He’s a Buddhist philosopher and leader of the Soka Gakkai, a lay Buddhist movement. His teachings have been fundamental to my personal and professional development.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I’m a very good disco dancer – fluid hips and all that!
Tell us your favourite joke
Have you heard about the cockle that went to the underwater disco?
He pulled a mussel.
If you know of a colleague who’d like to raise the profile of their work or has an unexpected hobby, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject ‘Staff Spotlight recommendation’.