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Junior Fellows

Gerald Aiken

Gerald Taylor Aiken is a ‘chercheur’ at IPSE (Identités. Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces), Université du Luxembourg. He studies and writes on the role of community in the transition to low carbon futures. He has degrees from St. Andrews University, the Centre for Human Ecology, Strathclyde University, and St John’s College, Durham University. He has taught Geography at Durham and Leeds Universities and also at secondary school level at Banff Academy. He spent five years as a Resident Tutor at St John’s, during which time he gained a PhD in Geography, was MCR president, did some teaching in Cranmer Hall, won a rowing pot, and had some amazing tutees and conversations in and around the Haughton Dining Hall.


Dr Jonathan Berry

Dr Jonathan Berry is the founding director of Fjelltopp, a social enterprise working with the United Nations to build technology for public health and international development. Before this, he was the Technical Team Lead for a group of software consultants contracted by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The team built an electronic public health surveillance system for the Ministries of Health in Jordan, Madagascar and Somalia. The project's novel approach of using tablet computers to facilitate case-based reporting, with integrated support for the clinician during the consultation, has proven extremely popular. The relatively new software system is already aggregating data across more than 500,000 consultations, with 159,000 detailed case reports submitted. Jonathan's PhD in Computer Science, here at the University of Durham, involved a large scale investigation into the responses of individuals to stereoscopic 3D media.


Dr Dorothea Bertschmann

Dorothea Bertschmann is from Switzerland, where she was as brought up and educated. She read Theology in Bern and Oxford, developing early on a special interest in Church History and New Testament Studies. After her ordination in 2002, she served a rural parish in the Swiss Reformed church. From 2007 to 2012, she did further academic work in Durham, first a Biblical Masters program followed by a PhD, which was supervised by Prof. Barclay and Prof. Insole. Her thesis was published this summer as “Bowing before Christ, nodding to the state? Reading Paul politically with Oliver O’Donovan and John Howard Yoder”. This October, Dorothea happily started her second year as a lecturer in New Testament at the Theology department in Durham. Her special interests are in Pauline Theology, Political Theology, Reception History, and Theological Ethics.


Dr Mehmet Demirtas

Mehmet Demirtas was born on 05 April 1974. He graduated from the Faculty of Divinity of Dokuz Eylul University, Turkey and obtained his MA and PhD degrees in the Philosophy of Religion Department and Institute of Social Sciences at Dokuz Eylul University. He has been working as an Assistant Professor inthe Philosophy of Religion Department at the School of Theology of Gaziosmanpa┼ča University, Turkey.



Dr Tim Drye

Tim Drye has been practicing commercial statistical analysis since leaving academic posts in 1996. Throughout this time, he has been identifying the impact of social interactions on the analytical outcomes, particularly challenging the implicit assumptions within most standard analysis that focuses on individual behaviour and attributes=. Allowing for models that allow for interactions between individuals allows for the possibility of phase transitions in collective behaviour and the identification within populations of different forms of behaviour prorogation.

Tim has applied these approaches in a wide range of environments, and identified collective characteristics in the propagation of different forms of behaviour within populations. This includes the uptake of consumer products, criminal behaviour online, the purchasing of counterfeit goods, the identification of uncontrolled debt and unhealthy lifestyles and outcomes. He continues to work within the commercial sector whilst looking to understand more long term behaviour change within an academic context.


Mr Jack Hepworth

Jack Hepworth joined St John’s as an undergraduate in October 2012, graduating with a First in History in 2015 and taking an MA by Research in 2016. Jack was awarded a Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship for Academic Excellence in 2014-2015 and the Gibson Prize for History in 2015. He is currently undertaking doctoral study on a Research Excellence Academy scholarship at Newcastle University, preparing a thesis on ‘The Dynamic Heterogeneity of Irish Republicanism since 1968’. His research locates Irish republicanism within the context of contentious politics during and after ‘the global ’68’. He also has research interests in Irish migration to the north-west of England since the mid-nineteenth century, and the cultural and political dimensions of music and sport in Ireland. In January 2018, Jack founded and convened the Bigger Picture Forum in college.


The Revd Dr Robert Jaggs-Fowler

Robert Mark Jaggs-Fowler earned his MBBS in 1985, practicing as a GP and NHS Medical  Director until 2018. A Major in the Royal Army Medical Corps (Territorial Army) for eleven years, he retired in 2000. With a 53-year commitment to the St John Ambulance and Order of St John, he held various leadership positions.

Robert directed residential homes for the elderly from 1996-2007, achieving notable awards for the company. As a writer, he contributed to regional newspapers and magazines, winning prizes for fiction and poetry. A member of the Society of Authors and the Royal Society of Literature, he published two academic books, a novel, and two poetry collections.

From an academic perspective, Robert holds degrees in medicine and surgery (MBBS), medical law and ethics (LLM), spirituality, theology and health (MA), and a doctorate in theology (PhD). Both the MA and PhD are Durham degrees, gained whilst a member of St John’s College. His is currently editing his thesis for publication as a book, as well as researching a theology of the Russian writer, Anton Chekhov.


Ms Lena Maria Lorenz

Lena Maria Lorenz joined St John's in 2016 to commence the MSc programme on spirituality, theology and health. During her previous university degrees (BA and MEd) in theology and special needs education, she was intrigued by the academic research on the link between spirituality/religion and health and the psychotherapeutic and pastoral application of the same. Lena then came to Durham with the aim to study this field in more depth. In early 2018, she returned to Germany to work as a teacher in special need education, to pursue further training in psychotherapy and counselling, and to continue her PhD studies looking at chronic pain, self-identity and spiritual experiences.



Revd Steve Muneza

Steve Muneza is the Director of Formation and Mixed-Mode Training at Cranmer Hall. He is currently completing his PhD on ‘Ethical Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Development’ with Lambeth Palace Research Degrees. He has also been serving as an Associate Minister and Curate in the Durham North Team of Churches. Before moving to Durham, he was involved in developing the Bujumbura Christian University in Burundi.

Steve obtained his Masters in Global Issues in Contemporary Mission, and his undergraduate degree in Applied Theology, at Redcliffe College, University of Gloucestershire. Previously, he trained in Telecommunications Engineering in Nairobi, Kenya. He has worked in Christian development as well as in business consultancy work in East Africa where he experienced first-hand the transformative power of God’s Word within the marketplace. He is interested in the intersections of ‘seemingly’ competing spaces; sacred vs secular, physical vs spiritual, local vs global, and theory vs practice.


Rachel Scarfe

Rachel Scarfe first came to St John’s in 2007 as an undergraduate to study mathematics, graduating with an MMath in 2011. After graduation, she worked for four years for an economics consultancy in the City and then studied for an MSc in economics at the University of Edinburgh in 2016. She became more and more interested in economics during her MSc studies and am now studying at Edinburgh for a PhD. She is part of the MacCALM (Credit and Labour Market Foundations of the Macroeconomy) project at the University of Edinburgh which brings together academics and policymakers to focus on how malfunctions in labour and financial markets seem to be at the root of the financial crisis. Her main interest is in zero-hours jobs and part-time work, particularly the effect of changes in technology on labour markets, and how this relates to previous historical changes.


Ricky Whitefield

Ricky Whitefield is an anthropologist and theologian. After an initial degree in Theology at Durham (2014-18), Ricky moved to Oxford to pursue an M.Phil. in Theology (2018-20) with a focus on nineteenth and twentieth century intellectual history, particularly in the work of Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) and Paul Tillich (1886-1965). He then returned to Durham to join the lay-monastic community of St Antony’s Priory by which time he was also employed as a Junior Research Fellow (JRF) with teaching responsibilities in the Department of Theology and Religion. During this period, Ricky’s interests have broadened and crystallised around anthropology, psychology, and theology; and these developments have now been formalised through a part-time MA in Social Anthropology at Durham (2022-24) which he is completing concurrently. Meanwhile the project on which the case for Ricky’s early JRF appointment was made, namely Faith, Storytelling, and Skill in a Complex Society, has now entered its final stages. The details of its results are yet to be disseminated. Alongside his JRF project, and the MA degree, Ricky’s current writing projects include a co-authored volume, with Douglas Davies, on Ecology, Memory, and British Storytelling; a co-edited four-volume set with Mark Sandy et al on Death, Loss, Memory, and Mourning in the Long Nineteenth Century, 1780-1914 (Routledge); a co-edited volume on Closure; and an assortment of articles emerging out of his archival work on the neglected contribution of anthropologist Geoffrey Gorer (1905-1985). In September 2020, Ricky was elected Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute and, a year later, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 2024, Ricky was appointed Fellow of the Institute of Medical Humanities, Durham University. Ricky’s full University profile can be found here.