Leigh Bennett A Curriculum Vitae of Sorts

Who is Leigh?

Leigh is a researcher in the field of politics and international relations, and also a part time teacher.

He has a wide range of interests that include politics and technology, music, and photography.

Leigh has spent much of his time moving all over the world, having lived in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, the UK, the USA. He currently resides in Stockholm, Sweden.

He currently interns at International IDEA, conducts market research for Opticom International Research, and still has time to teach English to professionals.

Keep scrolling to find out more about...

  • Research Areas
  • Teaching Background
  • Skills
  • Contact Details

Experience

Research

Women's political representation is the most recent area of research Leigh has been engaged in. While interning at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) Leigh worked on the Quota Project, a database that tracked the numbers of women in parliaments around the world. The work on the project included research on issues of representation which face women all over the world.

Currently, Leigh has been assisting IDEA's Signature Publication team with marketing and promotion ideas and helping to put together an agenda for their launch event.

In the academic realm Leigh’s Master’s level research included the political economy of Singapore, security issues between the US and China, and environmental politics. His undergraduate focus was primarily focused on political theory, specialising in social contract theory. As an undergraduate he won a summer scholarship to investigate how local councils in the UK used the internet to promote models of citizenship and democracy.

Leigh has recently been engaged in market research for a consultancy based in Stockholm conducting interviews and desk research in different industries, such as the chemical and paper industries.

Teaching

Even with the high level of English in Sweden, there is still a need for ESL teachers. Leigh currently teaches English to professionals in different industries, including finance and banking, and engineering.

While in Asia, Leigh taught English in China and Hong Kong. He started teaching English as a second language, before moving on to teaching History and Literature. He helped design short term curricula on writing development, as well as programs to aid students to integrate better in British and American universities.

To help aid his teaching, Leigh moved from Shanghai to Guizhou, a small province in south west China in an effort to learn Mandarin. Being outside of a major city proved to be as much of a learning experience as it was fun.

Administration

Leigh has been involved in several administrative roles, particularly in the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. He was the General Practice recruitment and assessment administrator for the Oxford Deanery for almost two years, and was an administrator in a General Practice surgery before moving to China.

He also worked odd jobs in the Oxford Brookes Careers Centre while completing his undergraduate studies.

Food and Beverage

Leigh has being working in the food and beverage industry on and off since he was 15. His first job as a cashier in a McDonald's was not the introduction to the professional kitchen he had hoped for but gave him a sense of hard work and getting stuck in.

At the age of 18, he moved to Surrey and began working in a hotel. He trained as a hall porter, waiter, bartender, and had a few stints in the kitchen. Not one to let his skills go to waste, Leigh has worked in bars and restaurants in several British cities, and tended bar in Stockholm for a year too.

Skills

Communication

Having lived all over the world, Leigh has always learned how to adapt his style of communication, or whether it is teaching classes to kids or adults, or trying to explain more complex ideas. Being a foreigner wherever he goes, Leigh has always used this as the basis of respect and co-operation with whomever he works with.

Software

Leigh is a proficient user of a multitude of software tools. He began teaching himself about computers when Windows gave up on an early draft of his undergraduate thesis and he vowed to only use open source software from then on (a vow he has since rescinded...). He began with a simple Linux distribution, before eventually discovering Arch Linux. In order to get around proprietary software, he has taught himself to use programs such GIMP, in place of Photoshop, and Audacity rather than Audition.

By getting used to learning how to use different kinds of software as a hobby, Leigh has gained a skill in being incredibly adaptable with most things that cross his path. While not a programmer in any way, he is not afraid of the terminal or a Bash Shell.

Every idealist must make some sacrifices, but through various jobs Leigh has learned to accept close source software and is skilled user of the Microsoft Office suite, G Suite, and various Adobe programs. He can work on MacOS, but only when he has to.

Social Media

Leigh has not always been the most avid user of social media, but he has always seen the value in it - he even checks on Google+ every now and then. Over the years he has had his own photography blog, a blog on politics and culture, and more recently has started a podcast with friends, looking at the more humorous side of politics. Engaging with social media to generate traffic is a must in these areas, so Leigh learned as much as he could of Wordpress, Blogger, and Soundcloud as his publishing sites, while using Twitter and Facebook to generate interest. He has used Google Analytics to get a better understanding of users in an effort to boost engagement. When someone explained Hootsuite to him, he thought it was a godsend.

Personal Interests

Photography

Leigh has had a strong interest in photography for a number of years, ever since he was given an old manual Olympus camera. He prefers to take photos on film, but enjoys digital photography as well. The backgrounds of these pages are all photos he has taken over the years and a further small selection can be seen here.

Technology

Because Leigh taught himself a lot about Linux in particular he took a lot of interest in the RaspberryPi microcomputers as side project. He built his own media centre for watching television and movies, as well as a streaming music player out of old speakers, and ethernet connection, and some spare parts. This set him on a road to being rather keen on turning his apartment into a connected home, much to the chagrin of his wife. In his spare time Leigh extolls the virtues of root privileges on Android phones, and the merits of science fiction to anyone who will listen.

Politcs

While it may seem obvious that someone who studied politics at the BA and MA level would be interested in politics, it really is a large part of who Leigh is. He developed an interest in politics at a young age, reading books such as Brave New World, 1984, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and The Plague by the age of 13. He is still trying to get through an unabridged copy Marx's Capital.

Leigh's current focus in politics outside of work is the intersection of political upheaval, economic uncertainty, and technology. While the idea of robots will always be 'cool', Leigh worries more than he should about the future of employment for unskilled workers. His first podcast episode, recorded with old university friend, discussed the idea of robots stealing jobs. He avoids using automated check-outs as much as he can.

Music

While living in Guizhou, China Leigh played the guitar and bass in a band which he formed with two other teachers from his school. He has been a musician since he was a teenager, playing in several bands throughout his days in high school and university.

Halloween in Guiyang (left). Studio practice (right)

Contact Leigh

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All photos are my own.

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