Biography and skills
I describe myself as a professionally curious writer and researcher. I combine a sociological sensibility with an ability to engage with diverse communities and individuals.
- Prolific published writer of both academic and popular content. Author of 4 books.
- Publications draw on long experience of offline and online research, involving ethnographic and archival work.
- Research methods lecturer, assisting students with dissertation research.
- Big picture thinker with the ability to spot the telling detail and distinguish signal from noise.
- Constantly expanding range of expertise, based on a burning desire to know more about the range of human experience.
- Editor of both non-academic and academic publications
- Experienced at presenting information in accessible ways, both written and oral.
- Veteran freelancer, handling multiple projects simultaneously and delivering them on schedule.
Since receiving my PhD in sociology in 2001, I have sought to further my passion for research and writing and to communicate that passion with others. I have taught at a variety of universities, specialising in the teaching of research methods to graduate students. As a freelance researcher, I have published accessible research-based reports. As a writer, my publications range from academic journal articles to newspaper features and op-ed pieces. A burning curiosity about the social world has led me to expand my areas of expertise: from his work on global extreme metal scenes (the topic of his PhD), to Jewish communal politics, to the Luxembourg water skiing scene, my guiding thread is a desire to know more. I am at my most fulfilled when immersing myself in an archive, interviewing an informant or observing a community gathering and I seeks out clients and projects that enable him to do this.
EMPLOYERS, CLIENTS AND PROJECTS
I am a senior lecturer at Leo Baeck College and an associate lecturer at Birkbeck College. I direct the European Jewish Research Archive at the Institute for Jewish Policy Research. I am also working on a book on denialism to be published by Notting Hill Editions in 2018, and an edited collection on Jews and heavy metal, also to be published next year by Punctum books.
As a freelance writer I have contributed reviews, articles and op-ed pieces to publications including The Guardian, New Humanist, Open Democracy, New Statesman and Society, Jewish Chronicle, The Forward, Haaretz, Jerusalem Post, Jewish Quarterly, and The Tablet.
I have published four books:
Uncivil War: The Israel Conflict in the Jewish Community (David Paul Books 2014)
Judaism: All That Matters (Hodder 2012)
(With Ben Gidley) Turbulent Times: The British Jewish Community Today (Continuum 2010)
Extreme Metal: Music and Culture on the Edge (Berg 2006)
I’ve also co-edited a number of other books.
I have taught and held fellowships at the Open University, Oxford University. The School of Oriental and African Studies and Durham University as well as at universities in Germany, Finland, Sweden, Israel and Australia. As a freelance researcher I have produced reports for a number of British Jewish institutions and interfaith dialogue organisations.
I edited the Jewish Quarterly (a literary magazine) in 2014-15 and have been an editor or editorial board member of a variety of academic journals.
I am available for freelance writing assignments and for research consultancy.