Demos Staff +

Polly Mackenzie

Chief Executive

Polly is the Director 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.


Alan Lockey

Head of Research

Alan is head of research at Demos. He is responsible for the management of the organisation’s research programme, and, together with the Director, oversees Demos’ strategic direction and fundraising.

Before joining Demos, Alan worked for the Labour MP Tristram Hunt and was the Labour Party’s senior adviser in education policy at the 2015 election, where he also helped draft the Labour Party’s zero based spending review. He has also worked for the Innovation Unit and the educational social enterprise, Future First.

He has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an MA in Political Theory, both from the University of Manchester.

Outside of work Alan has volunteered for the charity, Debate Mate, and sings in the choir Some Voices.


Jamie Bartlett

Director, CASM

Jamie Bartlett is the Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at the think-tank Demos, where he has become one of the UK’s leading thinkers on politics and technology. 

He is also author of The People Vs Tech (2018) about the relationship between technology and democracy, Radicals (2017) about political outsiders and best-selling The Dark Net (2014) about internet subcultures, which has been translated into 13 languages. Jamie also co-authored #intelligence with Sir David Omand, which explores the use of internet intelligence by the security services and the police. His Ted Talk about how dark net technology is changing the nature of cybercrime has been viewed almost 3 million times. 

His areas of expertise range from social media monitoring and analytics (including in elections) internet culture and ‘the dark net’, crypto-currencies, surveillance technology, machine learning, automated sentiment analysis, big data, cyber privacy and law, and social media research ethics.

He is also a technology blogger for the Spectator and regularly writes about how the internet is changing politics and society, including for The Sunday Times, the Guardian, Foreign Policy, and The Telegraph.  He recently presented a major BBC2 documentary series ‘The Secrets of Silicon Valley’ about technology disruption to economies and politics.


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


Suzie Curran

Head of External Affairs

Suzie plans and promotes Demos’ events programme, including research events, Party Conferences, round-tables, briefings, public debates, private dinners, and other launch and research-led series. She also leads the External Affairs team, overseeing Demos’ Communications and Media Strategy.
Prior to joining Demos she delivered a wide range of high profile events for different organisations, most recently the National Literacy Trust.  With over 18 years of experience in the events industry, she has worked in diverse sectors including charity, agency and corporate organisations.
Suzie has a passion for social justice with a particular focus on young people in society.

Laurence Cubbon

Chief of Staff & Operations Officer

Laurence is part of Demos’ senior management team, working to ensure that Demos is a high-functioning, efficient and happy place to work. Laurence manages finance and operations whilst providing direct support to individual projects and recruitment initiatives. Laurence supports Demos’ Director in the delivery of strategic objectives, governance improvements and as a liaison to the board of trustees.

Laurence brings a multisectoral perspective to Demos having worked in the private (QinetiQ plc), public (University of Oxford) and not-for-profit (The Employee Share Ownership Centre) sectors.

He has a BA in Philosophy and Politics, from the University of Southampton, and an MA in International Studies (Distinction) from Oxford Brookes University


Josh Smith

Researcher, CASM

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


Alex Krasodomski-Jones

Researcher, CASM

Alex is a researcher of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media. His primary research interest is political extremism and its reportage on social media. He also manages CASM’s analytics capability, including data collection, analytics and visualisation.

Alex is a frequent media commentator, and writes regularly for the Huffington Post and Spectator. He led Demos’ project mapping the political Twittersphere ahead of the 2015 General Election, which was launched on BBC Newsnight.

Before joining CASM, Alex worked at Accenture Digital in visual analytics.


Sacha Hilhorst


Sacha is a Researcher at Demos.

She is interested in social issues around work, personal finance and populism. Prior to joining Demos, she worked as a journalist in Europe. She also conducted research on topics such as education, precarious work and personal debt for various NGOs. Sacha holds an Msc in Political Sociology from the London School of Economics.


Ben Glover


Ben is a researcher at Demos.

Prior to joining Demos, he worked as a parliamentary researcher for a Labour MP. Before that, he was a policy adviser on the civil service fast stream, working in several government departments in Whitehall on policy areas including digital taxation, prison reform and rail travel.

He is a long-standing campaigner in the movement to reform economics curriculum and education, first as the chair of the Post-Crash Economics Society at Manchester University and now as a trustee of the charity Rethinking Economics.


Elliot Jones


Elliot is a researcher at Demos. He is interested in how people communicate about long-term risks online and how technology can improve and individualise economic policy. He has previously conducted research on intergenerational fairness and trust between supporters of political party. Elliot holds a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford.


Caitlin Lambert

Communications Officer

Caitlin works in Demos’ external affairs team, across both Communications and Events. She works on Demos’ media engagement and social media, and supports the delivery of its busy events programme.

Caitlin has recently completed an MPhil in history at the University of Bristol.



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.

Agnès Chauvet


Agnès is a researcher at Demos. Her primary research interests are political extremism and the impact of social media and new technologies on society and politics. Agnès holds an MA (hons) in International Relations from the University of St Andrews and a Msc in Political Sociology from the London school of Economics. Outside of work Agnes plays classical guitar in various ensembles.


Andrew Gloag

Research Assistant

Andrew is a research assistant at Demos currently completing a BA in Politics at the University of York.

He is interested in political philosophy, especially contemporary theories of justice and how that translates into everyday policy decisions.


Fiona McCarthy

Research Intern

Fiona is a research intern for Demos and a postgraduate at the London School of Economics, completing a Master’s in Global Politics in December 2018. Prior to joining Demos, she worked as a research intern for the Atlantic Council, a think tank in Washington, D.C.

She is interested in the effect of misinformation on political discourse in the US and the UK, and in finding new ways to disrupt the misinformation cycle to ensure that voters are able to organise around key global issues like climate change and cyberwarfare with the right facts.


Demos Projects +

Associates and Contributors +

Rose Acton


Rose is a researcher and entrepreneur, with a particular interest in the role of technology and how it can be used to solve social problems. She is a co-founder of Adia Health, a tech start-up on a mission to revolutionise women’s reproductive health. She is a recent graduate of the social innovation programme Zinc VC, and has previously held roles at the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute and the Financial Conduct Authority. Rose holds a BA in History from King’s College London.


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.


Alessandra Buonfino


Alessandra is Head of International Development at the independent law firm Mishcon de Reya LLP where she is responsible for international strategy, partnerships and new business. Alessandra joined the Demos Board of Trustees in January 2018.

Before joining Mishcon in April 2017, Alessandra worked for the British Government. Her most recent role was to set up and grow a new unit at the Department for International Trade and within the GREAT Britain campaign to encourage investment, trade and philanthropy from overseas high net worth families. Her work covered over 20 markets – from India to Brazil – facilitating hundreds of millions of pounds worth of trade and investment in sectors as diverse as healthcare, technology and fashion. Before this role, Alessandra worked in the Cabinet Office, where she was responsible for strategic relations between 10 Downing street and a number of large corporates.

Prior to Government, Alessandra was Head of UK Government affairs at the retailer Tesco and has held a variety of leadership roles in think tanks, including as Programme Leader at the Young Foundation and Head of Research at Demos.

She studied Archaeology & Anthropology at the University of Durham and has a MPhil in Development Studies and PhD in International relations from Cambridge University. She was listed in Management Today as one of 50 Power Part Timers in 2017; she is a member of the advisory council of YES BANK’s India Fintech Opportunities Review and a mentor on their YES Fintech accelerator programme for startups.


Ian Corfield


Ian Corfield 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. Previously, Ian has also worked for HBOS in the UK and Ireland across a range of roles including 3 years as Managing Director of the HBOS Credit Cards and Personal Loans business.

With over 15 years’ experience in financial services across 3 different countries, Ian has extensive expertise in credit risk, product design, and distribution. Ian’s early career included time as a management consultant and political adviser.


Nick Claydon


Nick is the Senior Partner of Brunswick’s London office. He has a wealth of experience in advising international clients across a range of sectors on corporate reputation, financial communications and crisis management.

Nick rejoined Brunswick as a partner in 2001 from British Airways where he was head of communications, responsible for worldwide PR. Nick was previously a political consultant in Westminster, having begun his career as a parliamentary researcher. Nick is a member of the corporate board of the English National Opera and the London development board of Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centers.

His clients have included Unilever, Rolls-Royce, Burberry, Thomson Reuters, BP and McKinsey.


Damian Leeson


Damian is Director of Responsible Business at Lloyds Banking PLC, prior to which he was Director of Group Public Policy at both Tesco PLC and at Prudential PLC, overseeing the international Corporate Responsibility and Government Affairs programmes of both companies.

At Tesco he was a trustee of the Tesco Charitable Trust and a member of the Employment Policy Committee and was a member of the economic affairs committee of the CBI. He was formerly a political researcher to the Rt Hon Frank Field MP, for whom he has edited numerous speeches, articles and books.

Damian holds an MA by thesis in Byzantine History and a BA Honours in Ancient and Modern History, both from Queen’s University, Belfast. He lives in London with his civil partner.


Matt Nixon


Matt is Managing Director of Disraeli Group, a leadership and management consultancy working with senior clients in the private and public sectors on issues of organisational health and performance.

Before founding Disraeli Group, Matt worked as an HR executive for Barclays, where he was a Managing Director and Global Head of Talent, and previously for Shell, where he was Group Head of Organisation Effectiveness. In these roles he was involved with a number of high profile crises and reputational challenges, as well as working with the CEOs and senior leadership teams to improve the safety, efficiency and social impact of the businesses globally.

For Barclays, he helped set up and manage the Salz Review into the bank’s business practices in 2012, and co-led the bank’s work to respond to recommendations in talent, reward and performance management. At Shell, he led teams working all over the world on complex projects, as well as with corporate functions including Finance, HR and IT.

Matt’s career began in consulting, initially for Accenture and Metapraxis, and then for Towers Watson where he was a partner in Chicago and London. His consulting experience includes many projects working with government departments and agencies, including the DWP, Legal Services Commission, Ofcom, Railway Safety and the British Museum.

Matt has an MA in Classics from Christ Church, Oxford, where he was an Open Scholar. He is an experienced charity trustee, and a school governor.


Neil Sherlock CBE


Neil Sherlock CBE is a Senior Adviser, PwC and from 2013-18 was a partner in the firm. Neil was a special adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister from 2012-13 covering business issues and political reform. From 1999-2011 he was a partner at KPMG. Outside his professional career Neil has been Chairman of the charity Working Families, a member of Alan Milburn’s Social Mobility Commission and a member of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body.

He stood twice for Parliament as a Liberal Democrat in 1992 and 1997, was an adviser to Paddy Ashdown, speechwriter for Charles Kennedy in the 2005 election and adviser to Menzies Campbell. He was one of the team who prepared Nick Clegg for the 2010 TV debates. He jointly edited with Neal Lawson “The Progressive Century: the future of the centre-left in Britain”.

A former President of the Oxford Union Society in 1985, Neil graduated with a First in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Married to Kate (Baroness Parminter) he is the proud father of two daughters and has only twice personally achieved sporting ambitions – winning a golf tournament aged 17 and scoring a cricket half-century at a rather later age.


Advisory Board +