Demos Staff +

Polly Mackenzie


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 is Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media. His principle research interests are:

• The use of social media by political movements and law enforcement agencies
• Social media monitoring and analytics
• Internet culture, dark net, crypto-currencies
• Surveillance technology, machine learning, automated sentiment analysis and big data
• Privacy, law, social media research ethics, reform to RIPA 2000

Jamie’s work focuses on the ways in which social media and modern communications and technology are changing political and social movements, with a special emphasis on terrorism and radical political movements.

The Centre for the Analysis of Social Media is a collaboration between Demos and the University of Sussex. The Centre combines automated data extraction and sentiment analysis with social science statistics, analysis and ethics, to produce insightful and robust policy research.

In 2014, Jamie published The Dark Net with William Heinemann about hidden internet subcultures. He writes frequently in a number of national and international outlets, including The Telegraph, The Guardian, and the Sunday Times. He is currently working on his second book, ‘Radicals’ which will be released in 2017.

Prior to working for Demos, Jamie was a research associate at the international humanitarian agency Islamic Relief and conducted field research in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Jamie holds Master’s Degrees from the London School of Economics and the University of 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 politics, and how it can be used to inform decisions. This includes:
– Social media and the General election
– Digital democracy
– Building new methods and technology to study social media data
– Understanding events through social media
– Cyber-bullying, hate crime, misogyny and abuse online
– Bitcoin and crypto-currencies
– Identity and belief in a digital world
– Evidence-based decision-making using real-time social media research, modelling and prediction

Carl writes on social media and the 2015 General Election for the Sunday Times, and is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Policy Institute, King’s College London. He studied History at Cambridge, and holds the top MA distinction (2009) in War Studies from King’s College, London. Carl is currently writing The Death of the Gods, power in the digital age – published in August 2018 by Penguin RandomHouse.


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. Her research interests include populism and citizenship.

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.


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.

Miranda Barrie

Intern, CASM

Miranda is currently an intern for the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM). She is completing her BSc in Urban Studies with minors in public policy and Spanish. Prior to Demos, Miranda interned for the Santiago Regional Government and U.S. House of Representatives. She has experience working in U.S. political campaigns, most recently as a member of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 digital team. 


Tom Speight

Research Intern

Tom is currently a research intern at Demos. His general interests involve contributing to a strong evidence base behind improving social policy.

Tom’s background is in biomedical science. He is currently completing a PhD in medical immunology at the University of Edinburgh, helping to develop new technologies to diagnose and monitor lung disease.


Demos Projects +

Philip Collins

Joint Chief Executive, Demos Projects

Philip Collins is the chief leader writer at The Times.

He was previously Chief Speech Writer to the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in 10 Downing Street.

Between 2000 and 2004, he was Director of the Social Market Foundation (SMF), an independent think-tank and charity. Prior to that, Mr. Collins spent five years as an investment banker, ending his time in the City as the top ranked equity strategist in the smaller companies sector. He has also worked as a political assistant to Frank Field MP, for the Institute of Education at the University of London and for the BBC and London Weekend Television.

Mr. Collins has published two novels with Harper Collins and a number of academic books on broadcasting policy and public service reform. He is married with two sons and lives in London.


Kieran Brett

Joint Chief Executive, Demos Projects

Kieran is a Director at Improving Care, a consultancy which specialises in transforming health and social care systems. Prior to founding Improving Care, Kieran was Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for Health, working on key reforms in the NHS and social care systems. Between 2007 and 2009, he ran a successful consultancy supporting NHS clients to deliver large-scale performance improvements such as the 18-week target.

In 2005 Tony Blair appointed Kieran as his Special Advisor on home affairs working in Downing Street; in the previous three years he worked for Professor Sir Michael Barber as a senior member of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit. From 1999 to 2002, Kieran worked for the Audit Commission and specialised in performance improvement in local government. Before 1999, he spent 13 years working in local authorities.

He specialises in developing policy and strategy which is deliverable and has proven impact in people’s lives.

Kieran holds an honours degree from Oxford University where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics and an MA in Politics and Social Policy from the University of Nottingham, where he was awarded a scholarship.


Advisory Board +

Trustees +

Associates and Contributors +

Duncan O'Leary

Research Director

Duncan oversees Demos' research programme, and, together with the Chief Executive, oversees Demos' strategic direction and fundraising. more