Executive Committee

BISA is run by a board of trustees who make up our Executive Committee. The majority of trustees are elected by you – the members – however we have some trustees who are co-opted to take on specialist roles. All of our trustees are unpaid. Because we’re a registered charity, our trustees are legally responsible for our management and administration. They have expertise and interests that represent the main areas of our activity and a breadth of experience from the wider world. You can find out more about becoming a trustee on our elections page.

Our staff attend the Executive Committee meetings so they can give advice based on their individual expertise. This also ensures they can focus on the priorities of our trustees.

Professor Mark Webber
Professor Mark Webber, Chair
University of Birmingham

Mark is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham. He was formerly Head of the School of Government and Society at Birmingham, and Head of the Department of Politics, History and International Relations at Loughborough University. He is a NATO specialist and a one-time scholar of Russia and the former Soviet Union. Recent work in these areas has been published in International Affairs, European Journal of International Security, Review of International Studies, European Security, West European Politics, and Journal of European Integration. He is co-editor (with Adrian Hyde-Price) of Theorising NATO: New Perspectives on the Transatlantic Alliance (Routledge 2016) and is currently completing a co-authored book (with James Sperling and Martin Smith) entitled What’s Wrong with NATO and How to Fix It. He is also co-editing (with James Sperling) the (Oxford) Handbook on the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Professor Ruth Blakeley
Professor Ruth Blakeley, Vice-Chair
University of Sheffield

Ruth is Professor of Politics and International Relations at the University of Sheffield. Her research interests are in international security, terrorism and political violence, and human rights. Her research on the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation programme has had considerable impact, through litigation on behalf of torture victims at the European Court of Human Rights, and through various police and government level investigations into the role of the UK’s intelligence and security services. She was lead editor of the Review of International Studies from 2015-2019.

Professor Kyle Grayson
Dr Kyle Grayson, Secretary
Newcastle University

Kyle (PhD York University, Canada) is a Professor of Security, Politics, and Culture and Head of Politics at Newcastle University. Currently he is also the Secretary of BISA. He is formerly an editor-in-chief of the journal Politics and currently is associate editor of Critical Studies on Security and co-editor of the Popular Culture and World Politics book series (Routledge). Kyle joined the board of trustees as a co-opted member in 2016 and has since become the Secretary, a role with responsibilities to represent the interests of members, be our ‘conscience’, and serve as the Conference Programme Chair.

Dr Danielle Beswick
Dr Danielle Beswick, Treasurer
University of Birmingham

Danielle is a Senior Lecturer in International Development at the University of Birmingham, and a UK Parliamentary Academic Fellow based part-time with the House of Commons Select Committee on international development. Her current research focuses on UK Conservative Party engagement with international development. Her parliamentary fellowship explores how committees can get beyond their ‘usual suspects’ when taking evidence to scrutinise government policy. Danielle’s latest publication is an edited collection with Jonathan Fisher and Stephen Hurt, Britain and Africa in the Twenty-First Century: Between Ambition and Pragmatism (Manchester University Press, 2019).

Professor Richard Beardsworth
Professor Richard Beardsworth
University of Leeds

Richard was recently appointed Professor of International Politics and Head of School at the University of Leeds. He was previously E.H. Carr Professor and Head of Department at the University of Aberystwyth. His interests lie in international theory, innovative statecraft and global politics. His recent publications (articles, book chapters, essays) rehearse a Weberian and republican account of ethical responsibility towards global challenges that re-aligns national and global interests and duties. His co-edited book (with G. W. Brown and R. Shapcott) The State and Cosmopolitan Responsibility was published in 2019 by Oxford University Press. He writes regularly on online platforms on political leadership and climate change and is presently writing a short manuscript on political responsibility, leadership and climate change.

Dr Ross Bellaby
Dr Ross Bellaby
University of Sheffield

Ross is a Senior Lecturer in Security Studies at the University of Sheffield’s Politics Department. His research focuses on designing ethical frameworks for the intelligence community and for cyber-activity. His ethical framework is set out in his book, The Ethics of Intelligence: A New Framework (2014). This work is further developed in papers on counter-terrorism and the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program (2017), the justifiability of cyber-intelligence (2017), the ethical obligation of whistleblowing (2017), and the need for more dark web technology to protect against state surveillance (2018).

Hassan Elbahtimy
Dr Hassan Elbahtimy
King's College London

Hassan is a Lecturer at the War Studies Department in King’s College London and affiliate researcher at Sciences Po (France). He holds a PhD from the War Studies Department (2013) and has published extensively on the Middle East and Arms Control issues including in the Journal of Strategic Studies, Security Studies, Foreign Affairs, and the Nonproliferation Review among others. In 2019, his research was awarded the McElveny Grand Prize by the Nonproliferation Review. Hassan is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK and the co-chair of the BISA Nuclear Working Group.

Naomi Head
Dr Naomi Head
University of Glasgow

Naomi is a Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Glasgow and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Institute of Conflict, Cooperation and Security at the University of Birmingham. Her current research explores the politics of emotions and empathy with a focus on contexts of occupation and war. She is currently writing a monograph based on her Leverhulme Research Fellowship, ‘Empathy under Fire? “Hearts and Minds” and the Politics of Empathy’.  More broadly, her research interests include narratives of war and conflict, feminist, cultural and international relations theory, and critical pedagogies.  Naomi has co-convened the BISA Emotions in Politics and IR Working Group since 2018 and joined the BISA Executive as an elected trustee in 2020.

Ben Kienzle
Dr Ben Kienzle
King's College London

Ben is a Senior Lecturer in the Defence Studies Department at King’s College London. In this position, he is one of the academic tutors at the Royal College of Defence Studies, the senior college of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom. He is also an Associate Researcher at King’s Centre for Science & Security Studies (CSSS) and a member of the Observatory of European Foreign Policy, an international research group based in Barcelona. Ben studies international security co-operation and is particularly interested in the control of nuclear weapons, European defence and Brexit.

Vicki Squire
Professor Vicki Squire
University of Warwick

Vicki is a Professor of International Politics at the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick. Her research cuts across the fields of border, migration, citizenship and critical security studies. Vicki is author of The Exclusionary Politics of Asylum (Palgrave, 2009) and Post/Humanitarian Border Politics Between Mexico and the US: People, Places, Things (Palgrave, 2015), and Editor of The Contested Politics of Mobility (Routledge, 2011). She is currently completing a monograph based on her Leverhulme Research Fellowship - Human Dignity and Biophysical Violence: Migrant Deaths across the Mediterranean Sea - as well as a co-authored monograph as Principal Investigator of the ESRC project Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat: Mapping and Documenting Migratory Journeys and Experiences. Vicki is a frequent contributor to The Conversation and openDemocracy, and tweets @vidkowiaksquire.

Elspeth Van Veeran
Dr Elspeth Van Veeran
University of Bristol

Elspeth is a Senior Lecturer in Political Science in the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies. Specialising in the security cultures, politics and foreign policy of the United States, and in particular on the visual and material dimensions of meaning-making in security discourses, she has published work on torture, US detention practices at JTF Guantanamo, and on art and conflict. Her more recent work is an exploration of secrecy cultures, invisibilities and ignorance, and the practices of ‘manhunting’ and navigating across new geographies of secrecy in the second decade of the Global War on Terror.

Julia Welland
Dr Julia Welland
University of Warwick

Julia is an Assistant Professor of War Studies and Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Warwick. Her current research uses feminist insights to explore the emotional landscape of war and militarism. She has been a BISA trustee since January 2017 and previously co-convened the Gendering International Relations Working Group.

Co-opted members

Juliet Dryden
Juliet Dryden (BISA Director)

Juliet has worked in the field of international relations for the last 25 years specialising in programme management, international development/humanitarian affairs and donor relations.

Juliet has previously worked at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), the London School of Economics (LSE Ideas) and for 15 years with the United Nations in Cairo, Gaza and Jerusalem (UNRWA, UNOCHA, UNOHCHR). Her most recent position prior to joining BISA was at the West Asia - North Africa (WANA) Institute in Amman where she was the Director of Programmes. Juliet holds an MA in International Relations from the University of East Anglia.

Outside of BISA, Juliet loves reading political biographies, outdoor swimming, spending time with her family and living a quiet life after years of living dangerously!

+44 7753 688648
Jon Gorrie
Jon Gorrie
Restless Development

Jon is a trustee and Chair of the Audit Committee of Restless Development, an international development charity focusing on youth leadership and empowerment. He is also a trustee of the SCI Foundation which runs the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, aiming to eradicate debilitating parasitic infections affecting 200 million people worldwide. He is currently studying anthropology at Oxford Brookes University. Jon was previously a Director at KPMG where he led assurance and advisory engagements in international development, focussing on monitoring, evaluation, value for money and audit with major donors and NGOs.

Dr Jennifer Medcalf
Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Jennifer is Head of the Defence and International Security Research Group at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. DISRG, part of the FCO Research Analyst cadre, provides policy-focused research, analysis and advice on a range of defence and international security issues. Prior to joining the FCO, Jennifer worked at the University of Bath as Lecturer in Politics and then for the Ministry of Defence as Senior Lecturer in Defence and International Affairs at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

Tom Vaughan
Tom Vaughan, PGN Chair
University of Aberystwyth 

Tom is a third-year ESRC-funded PhD student in the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University. Tom’s research examines how ‘local’ configurations of nuclear technopolitics and the norms and structures of the global nuclear order interact and inform one another, via an empirical study of South Africa's nuclear experience. His work draws mainly from International Relations, but is also strongly influenced by transdisciplinary insights from Anthropology, Science and Technology Studies, and Geography. Tom holds degrees from the University of Bristol and Aberystwyth University and has taught a range of undergraduate seminars on security, strategy, and conflict. He serves as the Postgraduate Officer of the BISA Global Nuclear Order Working Group.

Honorary President

    Richard Whitman
    Professor Richard G Whitman
    University of Kent

    Richard is Professor of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent. He is also an Associate Fellow and former Head of the Europe Programme at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House).

    His current research interests include Brexit and especially the future foreign and security and defence policies of the UK and the EU.

    He was Chair of BISA from 2017-2018 and previously served as Vice-Chair and as a trustee. He became the BISA Honorary President in 2019.

    Sub-committees

    The Executive Committee members form a number of sub-committees that consider matters of strategy and implementation relating to their specific areas of expertise. The sub-committees advise the Executive Committee and operational staff. Our staff attend all the sub-committees so they can use their expertise to advise the committee. The BISA Chair, Vice-Chair and BISA Director have ex officio membership of all sub-committees.

    Equality, diversity and inclusion

    Equality, diversity and inclusion is considered across all the committees. Dr Elspeth Van Veeran, our EDI representative is available to advise all committees and staff on these matters where required.

    Governance

    Considers strategic developments, future challenges, opportunities and risks, elections and key issues arising from the day-to-day running of the Association.

    Members

    • Mark Webber (Chair)
    • Richard Beardsworth
    • Danielle Beswick
    • Ruth Blakeley
    • Jon Gorrie
    • Kyle Grayson
    • Elspeth Van Veeran

    Finance

    Responsible for the oversight of budgets and financial management (including journals and books series).

    Members

    • Danielle Beswick (Chair)
    • Richard Beardsworth
    • Ruth Blakeley
    • Jon Gorrie
    • Kyle Grayson
    • Mark Webber

    Research and Publications

    Responsible for the oversight and management of the Postgraduate Network (PGN), working groups, research workshops and initiatives, prizes, bursaries and journals – Review of International Studies (RIS) and the European Journal of International Security (EJIS) – as well as our book series published by Cambridge University Press. This sub-committee also considers, in the first instance, proposals for any new BISA publications.

    Members

    • Ruth Blakeley (Chair)
    • Hassan Elbahtimy
    • Kyle Grayson
    • Naomi Head
    • Ben Kienzle
    • Vicki Squire
    • Mark Webber
    • Julia Welland
    • Tom Vaughan

    Learning, Teaching and Outreach

    Responsible for the development, promotion and performance of our Learning and Teaching agenda. This includes oversight of our L&T Working Groups, ensuring that L&T is represented in all our activities. They also consider our outreach agenda.

    Members

    • Ross Bellaby (Chair)
    • Danielle Beswick
    • Ruth Blakeley
    • Naomi Head
    • Ben Kienzle
    • Tom Vaughan
    • Mark Webber

    Communications and Engagement

    Responsible for our communications and publicity strategy. Their aim is to ensure our communications are current, topical and of benefit and interest to you, and that we engage with the wider community in the promotion of International Studies.

    Members

    • Mark Webber (Chair)
    • Richard Beardsworth
    • Danielle Beswick
    • Ruth Blakeley
    • Kyle Grayson
    • Vicki Squire

    Conference

    Responsible for the smooth and successful running of our annual conference, including making arrangements for plenary panels and satellite events.

    Members

    • Kyle Grayson (Chair)
    • Ruth Blakeley
    • Hassan Elbahtimy
    • Elspeth Van Veeran
    • Mark Webber
    • Julia Welland

    Membership

    Responsible for recruitment, engagement and retention. Their aim is to facilitate increased membership numbers and diversity.

    Members

    • Kyle Grayson (Chair)
    • Ross Bellaby
    • Ruth Blakeley
    • Elspeth Van Veeran
    • Mark Webber

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