Colleges, School and Institutes
My early training was at the University of Cambridge, where I read theology. Born and raised in Wales, I returned home after my first degree to work for a time in local government, before taking up theology again for my doctoral research. I undertook my PhD at the Department of Religion and Theology at Trinity College Dublin, as an IRCHSS national scholar, and later as a Long Room Hub Postgraduate Fellow. The research considered the work of Paul Ricoeur in order to think about the ethics of intercultural encounter between self, other and institution. I put this approach into dialogue with the theology of Thomas Aquinas on analogy, and the work was published as the monograph With and For Others in 2016.
From there I took up a post at the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, where I was Director of Studies, and Affiliated Lecturer with the University of Cambridge, where I lectured in political theology. My time at that Institute intensified my commitment to amplifying women’s voices in theology and widening access to theological education. Much of my work there was focused on practical theology, a discipline which takes seriously the contribution of women and other lay voices in practice as a constitutive part of the landscape of theological and public reasoning.
Since May 2019, I have brought that commitment to my work here at Birmingham, which includes directing the Professional Doctorate in Practical Theology, and teaching on themes of identity, and religion and society.
I understand theology to be a fundamentally practical endeavour, concerned with questions of responsibility, just institutions, and moral life in a plural society. Such questions are places where conceptual and contextual theology are necessarily mutually informing. My research consequently focuses on meeting points between theology, politics and practice.
There are two strands to this work. This first is my established and ongoing work on Paul Ricoeur, whose understanding of self, other and institution offers ways to make sense of diverse questions of contemporary life, such as the rise of political populism, diversity within the political community, and the role of religion in public reasoning. Frequently this work also attends to the question of disciplinary distinctions.
The second strand assesses a constellation of contemporary issues through the lenses of political theology. Most recently that has included work on development theory, relating the work of Catholic Social Thought and the capability approach. I am beginning to expand that work from CST into questions of care, labour and justice. While continuing to draw on public theology to frame my contributions to these questions, I situate my own perspective within the resources of Catholic theology.
Willingness to take PhD students
I welcome enquiries from potential students in the areas of practical theology and political theology, and I have a particular speciality in hermeneutics and the work of Paul Ricoeur.
I am especially keen to discuss proposals for the professional doctorate: a programme designed for projects investigating areas of professional practice theologically, including education, ministry, politics, healthcare, the charity sector, and chaplaincy.