Demos Staff +

Polly Mackenzie

Chief Executive

Polly is the Chief Executive of Demos.

Polly started her career as a business journalist. In  2004 she became a Policy Adviser on housing and local government for Edward Davey MP. She then worked for Nick Clegg from 2006 to 2015, helping to write the 2010 Coalition Agreement, and serving as Director of Policy to the Deputy Prime Minister from 2010-15.

After leaving Government, Polly established the operations of the Women’s Equality Party, and then went on to found the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, a charity working to break the link between financial difficulty and mental health problems. She lives in South East London, and has three children.


Maeve Thompson

Director of External Affairs

Maeve is the Director of External Affairs at Demos, responsible for the organisation’s public profile and communications activities.

Maeve previously worked in senior leadership and communications roles at national charities Grandparents Plus and the Canal & River Trust, as well as in the private sector.

She has a BA in Chinese Studies from the University of Manchester and an MSc in International Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.


Harry Carr

Head of Research

Harry is Director of Innovation at Demos, developing new research capabilities.

Before joining Demos, Harry was a political pollster at Ipsos MORI, before becoming Head of Sky Data, conducting public opinion research for Sky News.


Alex Krasodomski-Jones

Director, CASM

Alex is director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media. He has authored more than a dozen major reports on digital election integrity, content moderation practices, digital regulation and the intersection between tech and politics. He leads the centre’s visual analytics practice, and provides written and televised comment for the BBC, CNN, Wired, the Spectator and other outlets.

He leads Demos’s effort in the Good Web Project, a coalition of civil society organisations working to articulate, measure and advocate for an Internet governed on open, liberal and democratic principles. His focus is on building an evidence base, both for what good practice looks like in the architecture and practices of future online spaces, and of public and government consensus around that future.


Heather Williams-Taplin

Director of Operations

Heather is the Director of Operations at Demos.

Heather has worked in research, policy and senior leadership roles including for the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the LGBT Foundation. She is interested in living standards, participation and equality. She has a degree in English Literature from the University of Warwick, and a post graduate certificate in voluntary sector management.

Heather is a trustee for the charity Partners of Prisoners. She lives in Manchester.


Kitty Ussher

Chief Economic Advisor

Kitty is the Chief Economist of Demos.

Kitty was the MP for Burnley from 2005-10, serving as Economic Secretary to the Treasury in the first phase of the financial crisis, and also as a junior minister in the Department for Work and Pensions. Previously she had been a special adviser to Patricia Hewitt at the Department for Trade and Industry, and a Lambeth councillor where she chaired the Finance and Environment Scrutiny Committees.

Since 2010, she has devised and delivered public policy thought leadership projects both as Managing Director of Tooley Street Research and through think-tanks, including as Director of Demos from 2010-11. In 2017 she undertook a two-year sabbatical teaching maths in inner-city secondary schools as part of the inaugural cohort of Lucy Kellaway’s Now Teach programme. She holds an MSc in Economics from Birkbeck College, and an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) from Balliol College Oxford.


Carl Miller

Research Director, CASM

Carl is the Research Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM) at Demos.

He is interested in how social media is changing society, and how researching it can inform important decisions. This includes:

  • Digital politics and digital democracy
  • Cybercrime, and the hacking community
  • Cyber-bullying, hate crime, misogyny and abuse online
  • Information warfare and online disinformation
  • ‘Fake news’, digital and citizen journalism
  • Automated decision-making, Internet governance and digital addiction
  •  Building new methods and technology to study social media data

He researches and writes widely on these issues, including for Wired, New Scientist, the Sunday Times, the Telegraph and the Guardian. He is a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London.

His first book is The Death of the Gods: The New Global Power Grab. An examination of the new centres of power and control in the twenty-first century, it was published by Penguin RandomHouse in August 2018.

Carl’s website is

And he Tweets @carljackmiller


Stephanie Lenz

Digital Content and Production Officer

Steph is the Digital Content and Production Officer at Demos. She manages the content production process around our research – including designing reports, infographics and social media graphics.

Prior to joining Demos, Steph worked in communications at the Institute for Development Studies for the International Centre for Tax and Development programme. She also worked as a freelancer and has graphic designed for various Students’ Unions in the UK.

She holds an MA in Media Practice for Development and Social Change from the University of Sussex and a BA in International Development with Economics from the University of East Anglia.


Josh Smith

Senior Researcher, CASM and Chief Technical Officer, Demos

Josh is a a software developer and researcher, with a particular interest in the application of natural language processing to social research. He has worked on a wide range of technologies, from hardware to web design, most recently holding a position at IBM as a Python developer and systems administrator.

He has a BSc in Philosophy and Mathematics from the University of Warwick.


Shaya Satheesh

Junior Developer

Akshaya is a Junior Developer at Demos and loves to design, build, and bring her creative vision to life through technology. Prior to Demos, she started her career as a Personal Trainer at Nuffield Health Gym, before deciding to switch to coding and programming. While building cool software is her primary job function, Akshaya also enjoys dabbling in various sports and watching crime documentaries.


Joanne Ainley

10 Today Project Coordinator

Joanne is a communications professional with experience in journalism, PR, marketing and project delivery.

She began her career as a local newspaper reporter and later moved into the voluntary sector where she promoted community projects, secured grant income and engaged with stakeholders to shape service provision.

She is currently helping to deliver the 10 Today project which supports older people to stay active.


Josh Tapper

Senior Communications Officer

Josh is the Senior Communications Officer at Demos.

He works on all things press and media, communicating Demos’ work to a range of audiences – including the public, policy makers and politicians.

Josh is a former civil servant, having previously worked in the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet Office as Assistant Campaigns Manager.


Ben Glover

Deputy Research Director

Ben is a senior researcher at Demos.

His research interests include housing, welfare reform, social care and local economic growth.Prior to joining Demos, he worked as a policy advisor on the civil service fast stream and in Parliament for an MP.


Ellen Judson

Senior Researcher

Ellen is a senior researcher at CASM, the digital research hub at Demos, where her work focuses on rights online and information environments.

She has worked on projects including investigating state-aligned gendered disinformation, the tactics of information operations, public attitudes to and experiences of technology, and protecting privacy and anonymity online. She leads CASM’s engagement with civil society on the UK Online Harms proposals.

Prior to joining Demos, she worked in campaigns for civilian protection in conflict zones, and in research and policy on mass atrocity prevention.

She holds an MA from UCL in Legal and Political Theory and a BA from the University of Cambridge in Philosophy


Rose Lasko-Skinner

Senior Researcher

Rose is a senior researcher at Demos, where she leads a range of social policy projects including Demos’ Workshift Commission. Her research interests include food, welfare and employment.

Prior to joining Demos, Rose worked at the think tank Reform and before that as a Research Fellow at King’s College London’s Global Health Department.

Rose holds a BA in Social Anthropology and Geography from SOAS.


Andrew Phillips

Research Trainee

Andrew is a Research Trainee at Demos, working on a range of topics including climate change and public services. His interests include citizen engagement, democratic innovation and long-term policymaking in government.

Prior to joining Demos, Andrew was a Research Assistant in the public services team at the Institute for Government. While at the Institute he worked on a project analysing devolved public services, focusing on comparative health care policy and performance in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. He has also worked as a researcher at a think tank in Cambridge, and as a tutor in ancient languages.

Andrew holds a BA in Classics from the University of Oxford.


Maiyoraa Jeyabraba

Research Trainee

Maya is a Research Trainee at Demos, working on a diverse range of topics, including social care, welfare reform, and local economic growth.

Prior to joining Demos, she worked in the third sector on the Rohingya Crisis conducting research on malnutrition in refugee children. In addition, she also wrote extensively for 47 Roots and continues to host her own podcast, Cracking Coconuts, in which she discusses contemporary South Asian issues.

Maya holds an MSc in International Relations from the University of Essex and a BA in Politics and Economics from the University of Nottingham.


Ciaran Cummins

Research Trainee

Ciaran is a research trainee at Demos interested in deliberative democracy and the future of the web. Previously, he worked in investigative journalism and campaigning. Alongside this, he has documented the work of people facilitating philosophical discussion outside of academia at his site, The Public Life of the Mind. He holds an MSc from LSE in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences and a BA from UCL in Philosophy.


David Weir

Technology Director, CASM

Prof David Weir is a Professor of Computer Science and co-director of the Text Analysis Group ( He has been on the editorial board of the Computational Linguistics journal, an area chair for several major natural language processing conferences, and the Principal Investigator on 3 EPSRC, 1 ESRC, 4 InnovateUK, 1 Police Knowledge Fund & 1 NSF project. His recent research includes work on lexical distributional similarity, approaches to the modeling of semantic composition in distributional models of meaning, dependency parsing, and domain adaptation.

Jeremy Reffin

Implementation Director, CASM

Dr Jeremy Reffin is Implementation Director at Demos, responsible for the implementation of new technology to support the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media.
Jeremy is co-director of the Text Analysis Group ( at the University of Sussex. His focus is on applying natural language processing technology to solving real-world problems and in developing a new method of representing language in machines. He was formerly a partner at Apax Partners, the venture capital and private equity firm.

Bibi Nubir

Finance and Administrative Assistant

Bibi is a Finance and Administrative Assistant at Demos and is currently completing her Apprenticeship in (AAT) Accountancy.

She is interested in maths, finance and accounts and enjoys tutoring young people in maths and english. Before joining Demos, Bibi worked for two charities which involved helping young people through education, sports and personal development and preventing them from becoming involved in street violence.


Toby O'Brien

Office Assistant

Toby is an Office Assistant at Demos. He supports the various projects Demos, the External Affairs team and manage the office.

Before joining Demos Toby was a teacher in Hong Kong, a debating coach, and a Civil Servant working for the Wales Office where he was an apprentice.



Fellows +

Jon Nash


Jon leads the Combined Choice project at Demos.
Jon is a political scientist and software designer. He’s built technology companies and lead research projects in the US and UK. As co-founded of Mainstream, he developed a live video streaming platform with former Facebook and ABC executives, and went on to found Slight, an anonymous messaging service. His research focuses on developing an open standard for digital identity and modern methods of democratic decision making.

Suzanne Alleyne


Suzanne is a Cultural Thinker. She is the head of an eponymous cultural consultancy which combines commissioned partnerships with a cultural incubator. Her current work focuses on leadership, power, difference, and society. She is an inaugural Arts Council England Changemaker, a Fellow of the RSA, a Churchill Fellow, and the inaugural Co-Chair of What Next?. She holds an MA in Arts & Cultural Management from King’s College, London, where she is currently a visiting Research Associate and guest lecturer.

Previous to her work in the arts, Suzanne spent 25 years working across the commercial sector supporting and consulting for high profile international organisations and individuals. These include Barclaycard, Channel 4, Swatch, and Swiss Ski.


Charles Seaford

Senior Fellow

Charles leads the Power and Institutions programme at Demos.

In addition to his work at Demos he is a Co-Investigator at the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity, an ESRC funded research consortium and a Director of Represent Us, a campaigning group. His book ‘Why Capitalist need Communists: the politics of flourishing’ will be published by Palgrave in March. He was formerly Head of the Centre for Wellbeing at the New Economics Foundation, where he led projects on wellbeing, housing, industrial policy and indicators, an advisor at the UK government Sustainable Development Commission and an organisational change consultant. He co-founded Prospect magazine and has an MBA from London Business School and a BA from Oxford.


Associates and Contributors +

Tom Pollard


Tom has worked in mental health policy for over ten years. Starting out in Parliament as a researcher for an MP who chaired the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health Tom then moved to Mind, where he held a number of roles in Policy and Campaigns, eventually becoming manager of the Social Inclusion and Rights team. During his time at Mind he worked on a range of issues, including debt, access to justice and employment, but had a particular focus on benefits and back-to-work support. Through this work, he was asked by the Department for Work and Pensions to join on secondment to advise on mental health across a range of policy issues.
After 18 months at the DWP, Tom decided to gain some front-line experience and is now training as a Mental Health Social Worker. However, he remains involved in policy discussions around mental health and social security.

Trustees +

Dame Julie Mellor DBE

Chair of Trustees

Julie was appointed Chair of Demos in September 2018.

She is also Chair of the Young Foundation –  putting people at the heart of social change – and the Federation of Industry Sector Skills and Standards. She is a Trustee of Involve, the public participation charity.

Following a career in business with Shell, TSB and British Gas, she became Chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission from 1999-2005 and then a partner at PwC. From 2012-2017 Julie was Chair of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. She has served as a non-executive board member at a number of organisations including: Nesta, the national innovation body; the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Commission for Racial Equality.


Tilly McAuliffe


Tilly McAuliffe, Trustee, is the founder of the Think Media Group, which comprises a customer publishing agency Think Publishing, a book publishing company Think Books and the travel media brand, Wanderlust. 20 years old this year, the group has enjoyed consistent independent growth and employs over 100 people in London and Glasgow.
Tilly is the recipient of the Individual Achievement Award from the Professional Publishers Association and Think itself is a three time recipient of the PPA Independent Publishing Company of the Year. Tilly is also co-owner and non-executive director of Welbeck Publishing Group (formerly Carlton Books). Outside of work, Tilly is the Chair of the Liberal Democrat Business & Entrepreneurs Network and sits on the Development Board of the National Youth Theatre. Tilly has two children and two dogs and lives in North West London. Tilly chairs the Fundraising Committee.


Mohammed Aziz


Dr Mohammed Aziz, has worked as a teacher, policy officer and lawyer. He was the founding CEO/Director of the Forum Against Islamophobia & Racism (2000-3), the British Muslim Research Centre (2003-5) and the Aziz Foundation (2015-18). He served as a Commissioner at the Commission for Racial Equality (2003-7) and the Equal Opportunities Commission (2005-7); and on the Commission for Equality & Human Rights Taskforce and Steering Group (2003-6) and the TUC’s Commission on Vulnerable Employment (2006-8). He was elected Chair of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) for 2007-10 and Vice-Chair of the Equality and Diversity Forum for 2010-14. During this period, he was also a Director of FaithWise Ltd and a Consultant Senior Advisor to the UK Government on Race, Faith & Integration (2004-11). Dr Aziz was a Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University (2010-12), Director of the Centre for Policy and Public Education at the Woolf Institute, Cambridge (2012-15), an Associate Member of St Edmund’s College, Cambridge (2013-15); and sat on two national Honours Committees at the request of the Cabinet Office (2005-11). Between 2013-16, he set up and led the Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life.


James Wise


James Wise, Trustee, is a partner at Balderton Capital, the largest early stage venture capital firm in Europe, where he invests in new technologies focussed on productivity & healthcare. He sits on the board of 8 companies, spanning sectors from genomics and cybersecurity to sustainable clothing marketplaces.

Prior to joining Balderton, James helped to launch and run one of the UK’s first social venture funds, the Social Business Trust and in 2011 he served as a Specialist Adviser to Parliament on Social Enterprise and Charity. James studied at Oxford University and Manchester Grammar School. In 2019 he was mentioned as amongst the top 100 most influential people in European technology by Business Insider. James sits on the Finance and Risk Committee.


Alessandra Buonfino


Dr Alessandra Buonfino, Trustee, is an independent consultant working with governments and private investors and International Research Fellow at Said Business School, Oxford University. She is an associate at Expectation State, a consultancy working with emerging states and trustee of Water Unite, a not for profit working in water and sanitation in developing countries.

She was previously Head of International Development at Mishcon de Reya LLP, a civil servant for six years working in the Cabinet Office and the Department for International Trade and Head of Government affairs at Tesco. She started her career as an academic in international affairs and spent a number of years working in think tanks including as Head of Research at Demos in 2007. Alessandra sits on the Remuneration and Nominations committee.


Ian Corfield


Ian Corfield, Trustee, is currently Chief Commercial Officer New Day, one of the largest issuers of credit cards in the UK. Prior to this Ian was at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, where he was CEO and a Board Director of its majority owned Aussie Home Loans subsidiary for 6 years, having previously been CEO of the Retail and then Business Bank at Bankwest. Ian chairs the Finance and Risk Committee.


Matt Nixon


Matt Nixon, Trustee, is a partner at Stork & May, an advisory and coaching firm working with board level leaders in private and public sectors. His previous career includes working as a management consultant and HR leader for firms including Shell and Barclays, as well as running his own business. He now focuses on helping leaders and boards create healthy organisations and avoid hubris and damaging crises.

He has been a trustee of Demos since 2015, chairs the board Remuneration and Nomination committee and sits on the Finance and Risk committee. He is also a school governor and formerly was the Treasurer of Lead International and is involved with development at several other charities.


Advisory Board +

Jamie Susskind

Advisory Board Member

Jamie Susskind is a barrister and the author of the award-winning bestseller Future Politics: Living Together in a World Transformed by Tech (Oxford University Press, 2018), which received the Estoril Global Issues Distinguished Book Prize 2019, and was an Evening Standard and Prospect Book of the Year. With fellowships at Harvard and Cambridge, the Evening Standard has written that Jamie “could be one of the great public intellectual rock stars of our time.” Jamie speaks around the world about politics and technology, and appears regularly on the media.


Anand Menon

Advisory Board Member

Professor Anand Menon is director of academic think tank The UK in a Changing
Europe. ( He’s also professor of European Politics and Foreign
Affairs at Kings College London. He is co-author of Brexit and British Politics and co-
editor of the Oxford Handbook of the European Union.


Cat Tully

Advisory Board Member

Cat Tully is the founder of the School of International Futures (SOIF): practitioners in planning, strategy, and policy for future generations.  She advises on and teaches emergent strategy, system stewardship and strategic foresight internationally, including at the UN where she sits on the UN Learning Advisory Council for the 2030 Agenda.

Prior to this, Cat was Strategy Project Director at the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Senior Policy Adviser in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit.

Cat has degrees from Cambridge and Princeton Universities. She is a Trustee of the Foundation for Democracy and Sustainable Development (FDSD); a Global Board member of Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP); and a member of the Advisory Board for the British Foreign Policy Group (BFPG).


Deborah Mattinson

Advisory Board Member

Deborah Mattinson is a Founding Director at BritainThinks, a research agency that puts the people that matter to its clients at the heart of their thinking. Through its work for businesses like McDonald’s, Lloyds Bank and LinkedIn, for charities like Shelter and Joseph Rowntree Foundation and government and local government BritainThinks, and its international arm WorldThinks provides research based strategic advice.

Before co founding Britain Thinks, she jointly ran the Chime Research and Engagement Division. She was also pollster to Gordon Brown, firstly as Chancellor of the Exchequer, then as Prime Minister. One of Britain’s leading commentators on public opinion, Deborah frequently writes and broadcasts about the mood of the nation. In 2010, she published Talking to a Brick Wall – the story of the New Labour years through the eyes of the voter. She is currently working on a book about the Red Wall.


Geoff Mulgan

Advisory Board Member

Geoff Mulgan CBE is Professor of Collective Intelligence, Public Policy and Social Innovation at University College London (UCL), starting in February 2020.  Prior to that he was Chief Executive of Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation (an endowment which grew in worth to around £450m) between 2011 and the end of 2019.   Between 1997 and 2004 Geoff had roles in the UK government including director of the Government’s Strategy Unit and head of policy in the Prime Minister’s office.   From 2004 to 2011 he was the first Chief Executive of The Young Foundation. He was the first director of the think-tank Demos; and has been a reporter on BBC TV and radio.

He has a PhD in telecommunications and has been a visiting professor at London School of Economics (LSE), University College London (UCL) and Melbourne University, a senior visiting scholar at Harvard University and President of the Innovation Design Department at the Italian University for Design (IAAD) in Turin.   He has also been a regular lecturer at the China Executive Leadership Academy.

Geoff has helped found many organisations including Demos, the Young Foundation, the Social Innovation Exchange (SIX), Uprising, Studio Schools Trust, Action for Happiness, the Alliance for Useful Evidence, States of Change, Learn Direct, TACSI, Maslaha and Nesta Italia.  He has co-chaired a World Economic Forum group looking at innovation and entrepreneurship in the fourth industrial revolution.

He has advised many governments, foundations and companies, chairs an international advisory committee for the Mayor of Seoul and sits on advisory committees for the Prime Minister’s office in the United Arab Emirates, the Scottish Government and SITRA, the Finnish innovation agency.  He will be a World Economic Forum Schwab Fellow from 2019-22.  He has pioneered many ideas used by governments and civil society – including joined-up government, anticipatory regulation, experimentalism, social impact bonds, open innovation and creative economy strategies (these are covered in more detail in the ‘ideas’ section on this site).

Geoff’s books include ‘The Art of Public Strategy’ (Oxford University Press), ‘Good and Bad Power’ (Penguin), ‘The Locust and the Bee’ (Princeton University Press) and ‘Big Mind: how collective intelligence can change our world’ (Princeton University Press).  His latest book – on social innovation – was published in late 2019 by Policy Press.  His books have been translated into many languages including – Chinese, Arabic, Korean, Russian, Malay, Italian, Punjabi, Turkish and Greek.

Geoff has given TED talks on the future economy, happiness and education (these and others can be found in the videos section of this site).