I joined the University of Birmingham in 1993 as a Lecturer in the Sociology and Anthropology of Religion in the Department of Theology. My disciplinary home is Social Anthropology but I have always been excited by the possibilities of interdisciplinary work and have brought this to bear in my work on the study of Christian Worship and in the understanding of the nature of religious discourse within contemporary Britain. Much of my work, and that of my research students, has been based on the anthropological methods of ethnography and it is in this detailed and extended study of real life situations that I believe religion can be most fruitfully understood. More recently I have been working closely with colleagues in the Heritage and Cultural Learning Hub exploring the way in which text, performance and media environments intersect with, and reinterpret the nature of academic and religious discourses. I am also a co-lead for Religion and Culture within the Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS).
Since joining the University I have played an active role in the organisation and management of activities. I have been very actively involved on a national level with questions of academic quality and took up the role of Head of Department of Theology and Religion in 2002 and Head of the School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion in 2008. I have also acted as Head of the School of Historical Studies (2008) and Head of the College of Arts and Law (2010). My current role as Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor includes responsibilities as Deputy to the Provost and Vice Principal including planning and human resources, and a leadership responsibility for community relations within the University.