Ecologist and Public Engagement Officer
Connor is an Ecologist and Science Communicator currently working for The Royal Parks. He has a background in research and has led over a thousand students on academic fieldtrips across Southeast Asia. Growing up in the British countryside, he has always felt connected to the outdoors and has a particular fondness for dung beetles and other less-appreciated insects. Following his interests, Connor now runs an educational programme across London’s parks, aiming to connect people with nature and help them learn to love bugs.
Senior Teaching Fellow in Podiatry
Dr Emma Cowley is a podiatrist who has worked clinically with people and their foot health conditions for over 25 years. Emma is currently conducting research with citizen scientists on the public perceptions of feet to unveil the hidden narratives of the foot and inform education, policy and healthcare practices.
Emma is a Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of Southampton, current Dean and fellow of the Faculty of Podiatric Medicine, Royal College of Podiatry, fellow of the Faculty of Podiatric Medicine, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, Chartered Scientist and Fellow of Advance HE.
Founder & CEO of ArchAI
Iris is the founder of ArchAI, a startup that is de-risking land development by automatically detecting geo-risks including archaeology. She built the company on the back of her PhD which focused on the use of deep learning for archaeological site discovery based on earth observation data. Her PhD followed undergraduate and masters degrees in Archaeology. Iris taught herself how to code and do machine learning. She demonstrated the value of the AI technology with a case study on the Isle of Arran where the AI found over 130 true sites, verified by Historic Environment Scotland experts. With ArchAI Iris has received numerous grants including from Royal Academy of Engineering and the European Space Agency. ArchAI has built the technology to a national coverage and its customers include the Forestry Commission and the National Trust.
Anti-racism campaigner in Southampton
Jayanti has worked for the last 50 years to promote anti-racism in Southampton and Hampshire, for which he was recognised with an MBE in 2020. He has long been active in Southampton’s Race Equality Council, and was joint co-ordinator of Black History Month in Southampton from its start in 2005. He remains active with the present team. He is an ambassador for Southampton’s 2025 city of culture bid. Jayanti says: “My skin colour is Brown, I have lived in Southampton for 50 years and NO, I am not an expert in far-flung places abroad or different cultures. I AM YOUR NEIGHBOUR.”
Jayanti graduated from the University of Southampton in 1971, then conducted
research in Medical Engineering/Physics at Southampton General Hospital (1974-1985).
He set up a software development and training company in 1985, and is its Managing Director.
He’s been the Director of Positive Message Ltd since 2005 and an Employment Tribunal Member since 1992 (a Ministerial appointment).
Associate Professor of Public Health
Nisreen is a British–Iraqi public health researcher at the University of Southampton. Her research considers maternal and child health.
Nisreen’s own experience contracting Covid-19 inspired her to become a more public-facing health campaigner. She used social media to communicate public health messages, and led a call for long Covid to be counted and reported in national data. Her efforts resulted in the broader medical community paying more attention to long Covid. She was awarded an MBE in 2021 for this work, and in 2020 was selected as one of the BBC's top 100 Women.
Nisreen has also spoken out about equality of treatment of women and ethnic minorities in academia and the public sphere.
Chef, Author & Restauranteur
After winning BBC's MasterChef, Shelina worked on various TV projects such as Lorraine, This Morning, Sunday Brunch and The Food Network. Her first book, Sunshine on a Plate, was published in 2013 and contains recipes inspired by Mauritius. It won Gourmand Book Best in Africa cookbook. Her second book, The Sunshine Diet, was published in 2015.
Shelina opened her own restaurant, "Lakaz Maman", a Mauritian Street Kitchen in Southampton in 2016. The Telegraph described it as ‘very heaven’ in 2020. Shelina is passionate about diversity and equality, and she is very proud of her restaurant's all-female management team. Shelina is chair of Southampton's 2025 City of Culture bid.
Shelina has appeared on John and Lisa’s Weekend Kitchen, Saturday Kitchen and Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas as well as being a regular judge back on MasterChef. She is also a panellist on the esteemed Radio 4 The Kitchen Cabinet chaired by restaurant critic Jay Rayner.
Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology
Thomas is a Clinical Psychologist. He has worked in the NHS for several years with adults with mental health problems and now works at the University of Southampton as Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology. Thomas leads teaching and supervision around Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for Bipolar Disorder. Thomas has published papers about psychological mechanisms involved in Bipolar Disorder and how psychological therapies can help. He is a member of Bipolar UK commission and has helped them write reports about the care of those with Bipolar Disorder. He also has lived experience of Bipolar Disorder.
James Parkes Professor of Jewish/non-Jewish relations
Tony Kushner is Professor in the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations and History Department at the University of Southampton. He has written widely on the British Jewish experience, especially social history and comparative migration. His most recent books are The Battle of Britishness: Migrant Journeys since 1685 (Manchester University Press, 2012); Journeys from the Abyss: The Holocaust and Forced Migration from the 1880s to the Present (Liverpool University Press, 2017); and Southampton’s Migrant Past and Present (Parkes Institute, 2021). He is currently working on a study of an eighteenth century Jewish triple murderer and, with Dr Aimee Bunting, Co-Presents to the Holocaust. He is co-editor of the journal Patterns of Prejudice and deputy editor of Jewish Culture and History.