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Durham University

Collingwood College

Senior Common Room

Professor Jens F. Beckmann

Professor in the School of Education

Director of Research, School of Education

Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing


Jens Beckmann is Professor of Educational Psychology, and Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute at Durham, and Honorary Principal Fellow at Melbourne Business School, University of Melbourne, Australia.

Dr Jens Beckman joined Durham University, School of Education in 2011 from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia where he was Director of the Accelerated Learning Laboratory. Prior to that he worked at the University of Sydney (Australia), Yale University (USA), the University of Bonn and the University of Leipzig (Germany).

Jens is a cognitive / educational psychologist. His areas of expertise and his main foci of research have mainly been on the study and the assessment of intellectual abilities. More specifically, he conducts research in three main areas:

Dynamic Testing: Dynamic tests concentrate specifically on intellectual potential instead of the mere registration of what examinees are capable of doing at the given time of testing. He has been working extensively on the development of dynamic assessment procedures (e.g. learning tests).

Complex Problem Solving: His interest here is primarily on knowledge acquisition processes whilst dealing with complex dynamic simulations and their effects on controlling such systems. Research in complex problem solving not only allows studying learning and the acquisition and application of knowledge it can also provide a framework to address issues around instructional design.

Cognitive Flexibility: Cognitive flexibility can broadly be defined as the ability to deal with novelty, adjust to changes, and to break out of routine ways of thinking when necessary. Jens' research in this area is concerned with both conceptualisation (i.e. how to define) and operationalization (i.e. how to measure) of these practically highly relevant facets of intellectual functioning.

Dr Nadin Beckmann

Senior Lecturer in the School of Education

Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing


Nadin is a psychologist. In her research she adopts a dynamic view on psychological constructs, such as ability and personality. A dynamic view builds upon the premise of change and malleability, which can be understood in terms of responses to interventions (feedback and training) as well as development and maturation.

Her current research projects focus on the dynamic, process-oriented approaches to personality in the context of adult learning and development. Other related research interests include feedback processing, learning with simulations and assessment.

Nadin has received her doctoral degree (Dr. rer. nat.) from the Institute of Experimental Psychology at Heinrich-Heine-University of Düsseldorf, Germany, and is an Alumnus of the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes). Prior to her position at Durham University Nadin has held an Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Accelerated Learning Laboratory at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, Australia. She has also worked in research positions at the Center for the Psychology of Abilities, Competencies, and Expertise (PACE Center), Yale University, USA, and the Institute of Differential Psychology and Psychological Assessment at Leipzig University, Germany.

Professor Michael Bohlander

Professor in Durham Law School

Chair in Comparative and International Criminal Law, Durham Law School

Student Exchange Coordinator, Durham Law School

Secretary of Board of Studies, Durham Law School

Member of the Human Rights Centre

Director of Islam, Law and Modernity

Member of Law and Conflict at Durham


A major research interest of Professor Bohlander lies in informing the international debate regarding comparative criminal justice systems and general principles of law, with a particular emphasis on German law. The German Federal Ministry of Justice lists his English translations of the German Criminal Code and of the Act on International Cooperation in Criminal Matters on its official website. The translation of the German Criminal Code was translated into Farsi and published in Iran in 2010, making it the first time that the German Criminal Code became available in that language. This was followed by the translation of his monograph "Principles of German Criminal Law" which was published in Iran in 2011. His third book on German law, "Principles of German Criminal Procedure", is currently also being translated into Farsi.

Professor Bohlander's second major research focus relates to developing a genuine conversation between secular and Islamic law and legal theory, beyond a mere exchange of views and towards a deeper mutual understanding as a precondition to overcoming traditional stereotypes on both sides. Together with his Iranian colleague, Dr Mohammad Hedayati-Kakhki, he founded the research group Islam, Law and Modernity in 2011. In April 2012 he taught as the first non-Muslim visiting professor at the Faculty of Shari'ah and Law of Al Azhar University in Cairo. He has been invited to teach on the LLB programme of Qatar University's College of Law in November 2013, where he will also consult with local Islamic experts in the context of his research project on maqasid al-shari'ah i.e. the Higher Principles of Islamic law.

General research interests include German criminal law and procedure, international criminal justice (theory, practice, political and socio-legal implications), comparative criminal law and procedure, transitional justice and rule of law, Islamic criminal justice (its reform and relation to secular legal systems), and the judiciary and legal profession (comparative, international and socio-legal aspects).

Dr Thom Brooks

Reader in the Durham Law School

Associate in the Department of Philosophy

Member of the Centre for the History of Political Thought

Member of the Durham CELLS (Centre for Ethics, Law and the Life Sciences)


Dr Thom Brooks is Reader in Law and Associate in Philosophy with links in SGIA. Brooks works broadly in the areas of ethics, law and public policy. His recent books include The Global Justice Reader (2008), The Right to a Fair Trial (2009), New Waves in Ethics (2011), Punishment (2012), Rawls and Law (2012) and Hegel’s Political Philosophy (2013). Current research interests are citizenship and immigration, criminal law and sentencing policy, global justice and climate change, and British public policy. He is currently co-edited Rawls’s Political Liberalism (with Martha Nussbaum) and The Oxford Handbook of Global Justice (with Thomas Pogge).

Professor Joe Elliott

Professor, Principal of Collingwood College in the School of Education


The Principal, Professor Joe (Julian) Elliott is a former school teacher who has taught in both mainstream and special education settings. A Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, he is registered to engage in clinical practice as an educational psychologist by the Health Professions Council.

Joe is an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences and a member of the REF 2014 Education Panel. He is a former Associate Editor of the British Journal of Educational Psychology and a current member of Editorial Boards of several leading academic journals including the British Educational Research Journal, Learning and Individual, Differences and Comparative Education.

His research interests include dyslexia, achievement motivation, working memory difficulties, behaviour management, cognitive education, and psychological assessment.

He is involved in a variety of externally funded multidisciplinary research projects. One of these, the MOVE project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, aims to improve physical and mental wellbeing in secondary school-aged students in the North East of England. The project team comprises leading researchers from Durham''s School of Education, Department of Geography and the School of Medicine and Health. This interdisciplinary team is evaluating the success of two approaches designed to improve physical activity and psychological wellbeing. For further information, please see

His most recent books are:
•Elliott, J.G. & Grigorenko, E.L. (in press). The Dyslexia Debate. New York: Cambridge University Press.
•Garner, P., Kaufman, J., & Elliott, J.G. (Eds.) (in press). The Handbook of Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties 2nd edition. New York: Sage.
•Elliott, J.G. & Place, M. ( 2012 ). Children in Difficulty, 3rd edition. London: Routledge •Grigorenko, E.L & Elliott, J.G. (2012). Chtenie or chtenii (Reading about reading). Russia: Modek.

Mr Luke Evans

Member of the Department of Classics and Ancient History

Assistant Student Support Officer at Collingwood College


I am currently studying for my PhD. My thesis is a semiotic analysis of the erotic magic instructed by the Greek Magical Papyri (PGM). Erotic magic, one of the largest categories instructed by the Papyri Graecae Magicae (PGM), is performed to establish or reinforce a relationship with an erotic nature. The performance of erotic magic is reliant on the incorporation of a broad variety of ritual practices, including, for example, necromancy, binding, divination, and sacrificial ceremonies. Any analysis of the PGM will immediately notice that the manipulation of physical tools is ever-present and, as a consequence, the image portrayed of the magician is one of a tool-wielding practitioner. This statement can lead logically to the conclusion that the power of the rituals instructed by the EMP did not reside within the individual but in the manipulation of tools in the proper manner. The intention of this research is to analyse the mechanistic nature of erotic magic as instructed by the PGM. To this end, I will be applying semiotics to understand how and why tools are used in the process of a spell. I aim to show that an erotic magic spell is structurally a combination of two axes (the syntagmatic horizontal and the paradigmatic vertical), linking signs chosen from paradigm sets in sequential order along the syntagmatic axis and it is this which determines the value of the larger sign (i.e. an erotic magic spell). It is only when the tools are considered in this manner (i.e. within the context of an erotic spell) that a greater understanding of their meaning and how they were believed to function can be achieved.

Dr Julie Hodges

Programme Director (MBA Programmes), CGLEE in the Business School

Senior Teaching Fellow in Organisational Behaviour


Dr Julie Hodges is the Director of the full-time MBA programme and a senior teaching fellow in Organisation Behaviour. Julie is also an Honorary Fellow at Glasgow University. Prior to joining the Business School in 2006, Dr Hodges worked as a development and management consultant for over 20 years in a number of organisations in the profit and non-profit sectors. Her most recent appointment was with RBS as a Senior Consultant working on acquisitions and HR strategy. Dr Hodges moved to RBS from PricewaterhouseCoopers where she, as a Senior Consultant, was responsible for organisation, change, and management development for clients and for developing programmes for business transformation. Dr Hodges worked with a number of FTSE 100 companies. Dr Hodges also worked for Vertex where she was head of a commercial consultancy team. Prior to joining Vertex she worked for the British Council for 10 years as a development consultant primarily in Asia, Africa and Europe. Dr Hodges has a PhD in Organisational Change and stress management. Dr Hodges is a member of the CIPD and is also actively involved in consulting on managing with a range of international companies. She is currently carrying out research and writing papers in the following areas: leadership branding in Multinational Enterprises; business transformation and leadership; and Managerial Psychology.

Dr Róbert Mészáros

COFUND Senior Research Fellow at Collingwood College, Durham University (October - December 2013)


Dr Róbert Mészáros is an Associate professor, Institute of Chemistry, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. Prof Mészáros is an internationally recognized scientist in the area of surfactants and polyelectrolytes. He pioneered the characterization of surfactant binding and non-equilibrium complexes consisting of surfactants and polyelectrolytes. Another important and recent achievement of his is the preparation of kinetically stable systems of strongly interacting macromolecules and amphiphiles by means of non-ionic additives and sophisticated solution mixing methods.

Polymers and surfactants are two classes of molecules that are frequently used together in personal care and pharmaceutical products and in industrial processes such as water purification. The polymers and surfactants have different roles, but often interact strongly with each other and the performance of a product depends critically on these interactions. To complicate the situation further, formulations containing polymers and surfactants are frequently used under dynamic conditions (i.e. they are diluted, sprayed, spread, blown, filtered, swallowed, etc.). Despite the fact that these molecules generally act at surfaces, it is only very recently that researchers have begun to make a systematic connection between bulk and surface properties in polymer/surfactant mixtures and only for static and not dynamic properties. This Policy & Enterprise Fellowship will unite the expertise of Dr Róbert Mészáros on bulk aggregation and of Prof Colin Bain (Durham University) on dynamic behaviour at surfaces in order to build a comprehensive understanding of dynamic processes in oppositely charged polymer/surfactant systems through new theoretical models and experimental investigations. The elucidation of the connection between the bulk and dynamic surface behaviour will lead to publications in international scientific journals and form the basis of further research support. Finally, the proposed project may strengthen the links between Durham University and industrial partners since Dr Mészáros brings expertise that is lacking within Durham.

Dr Clare Stancliffe

Honourary Reader in Ecclesiastical History in the Department of History

Honorary Reader in Ecclesiastical History in the Department of Theology and Religion

Member of the Institute of Medieval and Renaissance Studies


Ever heard of the Synod of Whitby (664), and wondered how everyone could get so steamed up about the date of Easter and style of tonsure (a type of haircut which signified monastic or clerical status in the middle ages)? My current research tries to get to the bottom of what the real issues were between Continental and Insular (principally British and Irish) churchmen in the seventh century, how they changed over time, and what the repercussions were. My argument is that the repercussions were highly significant, impacting on how the events were (mis)represented by historians like Bede, and also on the formation of identities - and this was at a crucial period for identity formation. It's for a book entitled 'Celt' and 'Roman': An Evolving Controversy and its Impact of Historiography and Identity from Columbanus to Bede.

Professor Jane Taylor

Member of the Institute of Medieval and Renaissance Studies


Professor Jane Taylor is about to publish (2013-14) two books: a study of Arthurian romances in the sixteenth century in France, with Boydell and Brewer, and a translation of 'Le Petit Jehan de Saintré', a fifteenth-century romance by a certain Antoine de La Sale, with the University of Pennsylvania Press. She continues to research late-medieval, and now Renaissance, fiction, but her interests extend to chronicles and lyric poetry; she has also worked on Christine de Pizan, Jean Froissart, François Villon, Charles d'Orléans, Guillaume de Machaut ... She is currently preparing five papers for various conferences: on fourteenth-century crusades in fiction and fact; on 'detail' and its treatment in late romances; on heraldry; on the 'artes poeticae'; on tournaments. She is also preparing, with an American colleague, an on-line bibliography for Charles d'Orléans (for OUP). Her next projects will be on Henri Baude, a fifteenth-century poet, and more broadly, on paradox in late-medieval poetry - and she'd like to work on another translation, since she so much enjoyed working on things like armour and heraldry; she's actively looking for a project of this sort.

Dr Leah Tether

Member of the Institute of Medieval and Renaissance Studies


Leah has research interests in medieval French literature, digitised manuscripts, reading cultures and the history of the publishing trade. She completed her three degrees in Modern Languages at Durham University (and spent her postgraduate years as a Collingwood student). She is currently a Senior Lecturer in Publishing at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge and is the author of The Continuations of Chrétien's Perceval: Content and Construction, Extension and Ending (D. S. Brewer, 2012). 



Professor Thomas Ward

Member of the Department of Mathematical Sciences

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) in the Vice-Chancellor's Office

Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing


Tom Ward works in ergodic theory, a branch of pure mathematics that has grown from attempts to understand systems that evolve in time using ideas from probability. While the origins of the subject lie in statistical mechanics in physics, it has now become a wide-ranging discipline with strong interactions with geometry, number theory, and the wider study of dynamical systems.

Dr Mark Woolmer

Honorary Fellow in the Department of Classics and Ancient History

Member of the Centre for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and the Near East


Mark Woolmer is a Teaching Associate in Ancient History. His main research interest is the social and political history of the Levant in the first millennium BC. He is the author of Ancient Phoenicia: An Introduction (Bristol Classical Press 2011) and has written articles exploring various aspects of the religions and histories of ancient Canaan and Phoenicia. Recognised as one of the leading experts on Phoenician history in the UK, Mark recently appeared on BBC Radio Four’s flagship programme, In Our Time, to discuss the achievements of the Phoenician civilisation. He is currently working on two forthcoming volumes exploring the Phoenician civilization: A Short History of the Phoenicians (I.B. Taurus 2016), and A Companion to Ancient Phoenicia (Blackwell 2016). He is also is the early stages of a research project that seeks to explore information as a commodity in the ancient Near East. Taking as its focus the relationships between the cities of Canaan and the ‘Great Powers’ of Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon, the project examines the creation of hierarchical arrangements as a method for facilitating the exchange of information, comparing the value of this technique with other means of intelligence gathering. His most recent publication is the co-edited volume The Ancient Greek Economy: Markets, Households, and City-states published by Cambridge University Press. Mark has travelled widely throughout the Middle East, in particular Lebanon, and tries to the visit the region as often as possible.