the team

Claire Fox, IoI Director

Claire Fox is the director of the Institute of Ideas, which she established to create a public space where ideas can be contested without constraint. She convenes the yearly Battle of Ideas festival and initiated The Institute of Ideas Debating Matters Competition for sixth-formers. She also co-founded the… READ MORE

CONTACT Claire Fox



Geoff Kidder, Membership and Events Director

Geoff Kidder is Director of Membership and Events at the Institute of Ideas. He supervises the IoI’s administration and event management including the Battle of Ideas festival, runs the Institute of Ideas’ associate member scheme and convenes the IoI Book Club. Geoff is also the Institute of Ideas’ resident expert… READ MORE

CONTACT Geoff Kidder


Alastair Donald, Associate Director

Alastair Donald became associate director of the Institute of Ideas in January 2017. He coordinates planning and programming across projects including Battle of Ideas and Battle of Ideas Europe, and is co-founder of the IoI’s residential school Living Freedom which allows 18-25-year-olds to explore the meaning and ideals of freedom… READ MORE

CONTACT Alastair Donald


Rob Lyons, science and technology director

Rob is a journalist, specialising in issues relating to science, technology, health, food and the environment. He is a columnist for the online magazine, spiked, where he worked for over a decade before joining the Institute as science and technology director in 2014. His writing has featured in the Daily Telegraph,… READ MORE



Nadia Butt, National Coordinator, Debating Matters

Nadia joined Debating Matters in June 2015 as National Administrator. She is an alumnus of the competition, who participated in the very first Franklin College Debating Matters team back in 2010/11. A proud born and bred Grimbarian, Nadia left the North to complete her degree in Philosophy and Politics in… READ MORE

CONTACT Nadia Butt


Adam Rawcliffe, Partnerships Manager

Adam joined the Institute of Ideas in October 2014, having graduated from the University of St Andrews, where he studied Modern History. Adam has produced debates at the Battle of Ideas on everything from dating apps to ‘killer clowns’. A proud Prestonian, Adam competed in and won the 2010 Debating… READ MORE

CONTACT Adam Rawcliffe


Anwar Oduro-Kwarteng, Promotions Manager and Debating Matters Topic Guide Editor

Anwar has a BA in politics and an MA in politics and philosophy from the University of Sheffield, and worked for a time as a derivatives trader before joining the Institute of Ideas. He works mainly on the programming, organisation, promotion and research for IoI’s summer school, The Academy, as… READ MORE

CONTACT Anwar Oduro-Kwarteng


Charlie Bostock, Schools Administrator, Debating Matters

Charlie has been working on both the Battle of Ideas festival and the Debating Matters Competition for the Institute of Ideas. From 2011-2014 he attended the University of Nottingham, completing a BA in Politics and American Studies with a particular focus on international drug policy. He is an avid musician,… READ MORE

CONTACT Charlie Bostock


Simon Belt, Technical Consultant

Simon Belt started his IT career working in the rather restrictive environment of the civil service, moving into the more flexible and innovative international outsourcing world. Looking to implement technology the way it is meant to be deployed, rather than what suited any given contract, in 1999 Simon Belt established… READ MORE

CONTACT Simon Belt

associate fellows

Justine Brian, Associate fellow

Justine is director of schools at Civitas. She was formerly the director of the Institute’s Debating Matters sixth-form debating competition.

She believes in education and grappling with big ideas – and practised what she preaches by completing a degree in Classical Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London,… READ MORE

CONTACT Justine Brian


Joel Cohen, associate fellow

Joel co-ordinated volunteers for the UK’s toughest schools’ debating competition, Debating Matters, and was instrumental in setting up the competition in Israel. Joel is now communications manager at BeyondMe and drives the development and delivery of campaigns, which comprise communications and events activities, to support BeyondMe’s growth. BeyondMe brings professionals,… READ MORE

CONTACT Joel Cohen



Rossa Minogue, Associate fellow

Rossa was founding producer of the Institute’s Podcast of Ideas, took care of the IoI’s audio and video content, and is one of the organisers of the Battle of Ideas festival. Prior to that he was a staff writer at the online magazine spiked and before that a tour guide… READ MORE

CONTACT Rossa Minogue

David Bowden, associate fellow

David is associate fellow at the Institute of Ideas, having acted as its associate director until July 2016. In his time at the Institute he played a key role in the expansion of the Battle of Ideas at the Barbican and the development of Battle of Ideas Europe. He has… READ MORE

CONTACT David Bowden


Dolan Cummings, Associate Fellow

Dolan Cummings is an Associate Fellow of the Institute of Ideas, having been research and editorial director from 2001 to 2010. He is part of the committee that programmes the annual Battle of Ideas, and a regular participant at the festival and other IoI events. He is also one… READ MORE

CONTACT Dolan Cummings

Angus Kennedy, Convenor, The Academy

Angus Kennedy was Head of External Relations from 2010 to 2013. He continues to convene the Institute of Ideas’ educational initiative The Academy. He is the author of Being Cultured: in defence of discrimination and is currently working on a second book about our turn away from freedom.


CONTACT Angus Kennedy



Helen Birtwistle, Associate Fellow

Helen is a history teacher in a South London school. Working with the Institute of Ideas Debating Matters Competition for six years, she has been inspired to teach by the teachers, colleagues and students she worked with during her time at the competition.

Helen is also an associate fellow of… READ MORE

CONTACT Helen Birtwistle

Craig Fairnington, Associate Fellow

Craig took part in the Debating Matters Competition in 2006 before graduating with a BSc in Physics from the University of St Andrews in 2009. He helps organise the Institute of Ideas’ annual Battle of Ideas festival, where he’s organised and spoke at sessions on topics such as gay politics,… READ MORE

CONTACT Craig Fairnington



Jason Smith, Associate Fellow

Jason Smith is an Associate Fellow of the Institute of Ideas and was previously Partnerships Manager for the Debating Matters Competition.

He writes and comments, on a freelance basis, about food, farming and attitudes toward the countryside and developments in agriculture. He has been a member of the Battle… READ MORE

CONTACT Jason Smith


Shirley Dent, Associate Fellow

Shirley Dent is an Associate Fellow of the Institute of Ideas and was formerly Communications Director.

She worked as Head of Communications and Campaigns Advisor for the UK’s phone-paid regulator, where she led work on children and connected devices such as smartphones. Shirley recently set up Spark Mobile -… READ MORE

CONTACT Shirley Dent

Tony Gilland, Associate Fellow

Tony recently stood down as the director of the Debating Matters competition. Tony led DM for 10 years, overseeing its growth into a UK competition for nearly 300 schools and its expansion to India through a partnership with the British Council. As the Institute of Ideas’ Science and Society Director… READ MORE

CONTACT Tony Gilland


what's happening next

What are the rights and wrongs of school dress codes?

Tuesday 25 January, 7pm, CIEE London Global Institute, 46-47 Russell Square, London WC1B 4JP