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International network for

the study of spirituality

Executive Committee

David Rousseau (Chair & Company Secretary)

Dr David Rousseau is the Director of the Centre for Systems Philosophy, UK, a Research Associate in the College of Engineering in Oregon State University, USA, and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts.

His current focus is on developing a methodology, grounded in Systems Philosophy and General Systems Theory, for use broadly in exploratory research but specifically tailored for analysing exceptional human experiences.  David has been a member of the Executive Committee since 2013 and has served as the Company Secretary since 2014.  He is also a Trustee of the Alister Hardy Society (since 2018).  He has been a Trustee of the Society for Psychical Research since 2003, where he has in the past served as Treasurer and as Chair of the Research Activities Committee.  Since 2013 he has been a member of the Research Committee of the Religious Experience Research Centre in the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Lampeter, UK, and he is a co-founding Editorial Board Member of the Centre’s Journal for the Study of Religious Experience (since 2014).  He has been since 2012 a full member of the Centre for Spirituality Studies in the University of Hull, UK, where he is also a Visiting Fellow in the Centre for Systems Studies (since 2013).    He is also a member of the Scientific Council of the Bertalanffy Centre for the Study of Systems Science in Vienna, Austria (since 2015), and a past Editor-in-Chief of their journal Systema (2013-2016).  Since 2018 he has served as a member of the Editorial Board of the International Federation for Systems Research’s book series on Systems Science and Systems Engineering (Springer).  He is a past President of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (2017/18) and since 2018 the Chair of their Board of Trustees. 

He has since 2010 published more than 40 articles in the Journal for the Study of Spirituality, the Journal of Scientific Exploration, the Journal of Near-Death StudiesZygon: Journal of Religion and Science, the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, and a range of journals in Systems Science and Systems Engineering.  He contributed the chapter on “Philosophy and Spirituality” to the Routledge International Handbook of Spirituality in Society and the Professions (2019), and the chapter on “Anomalous Cognition and the Case for Mind-Body Dualism” to Extrasensory Perception: Support, Skepticism, and Science (Praeger, 2 vols, 2015).  In the last decade he has additionally contributed to four books in Systems Science and Systems Engineering.

Adam Boughey (Digital Infrastructure Manager)

 Dr Adam J. Boughey DHealthPsy, CPsychol, MBPsS, RN

Adam currently works full-time as a Lecturer in Adult Nursing and Post-Doctoral Researcher at Staffordshire University, UK.  Having originally trained as a Registered Adult Nurse in 2004 at Keele University, and worked in both primary (community) and secondary (acute) care, Adam attended Staffordshire University to retrain in psychology (2008-2011) and subsequently health psychology (2011-2019).  In addition to his nursing qualification, Adam gained a first-class BSc (Hons) in Psychology, followed by distinction for his MSc in Health Psychology.  His health psychology training was completed when he passed his viva voce examination for his Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology (DHealthPsy) in May 2019.  Since then, Adam has maintained his Membership of the British Psychological Society (BPS) (MBPsS), registration as an Adult Nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), and gained registration as a Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol) with the BPS.

 In his role as a higher education academic, Adam has been privileged to have worked with Prof. Wilf McSherry and colleagues, who have supported Adam to develop key knowledge, skills, experience, and publications in spirituality and spiritual care research.  Adam has long had an interest in spirituality and spiritual care as it pertains to nursing and healthcare in general, and is proud to continue working to support this area of academia.  Adam has been a member of the International Network for the Study of Spirituality for a number of years now, and now sits on the Committee with a key role in managing the website and other digitial infrastructure.

Cheryl Hunt (Chief Editor, Journal for the Study of Spirituality)

Dr Cheryl Hunt PhD, MEd (Continuing Education), DipEd (QTS), BA (Hons Psychol)  (University of Sheffield)

Cheryl is the Founding Editor and current Chief Editor of the Journal for the Study of Spirituality. A member of the original Steering Group for BASS (now INSS) which was convened in 2007, she has served on the Executive Committee since its inception and was elected as Vice-President in 2014. 

Cheryl worked as a practitioner in adult and community education for many years before moving into academia. Developing innovative work in the use of critical reflective practice, she has since designed and directed a range of open learning and action-research projects as well as doctoral and other postgraduate and professional development programmes. Her teaching and research interests in community education, transformative learning and critical reflection led her, via a doctoral thesis exploring the nature of 'community', into a study of spirituality informed by Gaia theory and the concept of different ways of knowing. She has since published and lectured extensively on these topics and the links between them. Her recent book Critical Reflection, Spirituality and Professional Practice (Palgrave Macmillan) further explores these links. Cheryl is currently an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, UK, where she was Director of the Professional Doctorates Programme. She is a former Executive Editor of the journal Teaching in Higher Education where she also had particular responsibility for editing the 'Points of Departure‘ section (a title she bestowed on it) which continues to encourage submissions that move away from the standard academic paper into more experimental territory. She is passionate about the use of educational processes which enable people to explore and develop their own meaning-making; to take a critical perspective which challenges orthodoxies; and to give voice to hitherto submerged knowledge which can make a difference both personally and politically.

Further information and links to selected publications:

Critical Reflection, Spirituality and Professional Practice (2021. London: Palgrave Macmillan)


University of Exeter staff

Free access - all Editorials to the Journal for the Study of Spirituality

Sophie MacKenzie (Social Media Co-ordinator)

Dr Sophie MacKenzie is a qualified speech and language therapist of 30 years, who has been teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate speech and language therapy (SLT) students since 2007. She currently works as a lecturer in SLT at City, University of London. Her main interests lie in the essence of therapy, person-centred healthcare and spirituality. Her PhD explored the stories people with severe expressive aphasia tell about their spirituality. Sophie has been a member of BASS since 2014, and was one of the co-founders of the Spirituality Scholars’ Network. She runs the INSS twitter feed (@INSSpirituality) and the Facebook page for spirituality scholars (INSS Spirituality Scholars' Network).

Helen McSherry (Honorary Treasurer)

Mrs Helen McSherry has diverse experience in project management, administration and book keeping having worked for a range of private businesses and voluntary sector organisations. Her interests in spirituality are broad and wide-ranging, encompassing religious and secular approaches. She manages the Trussell Trust food bank in Market Drayton, Shropshire and is actively engaged in the work of a number of other charitable organisations.

Wilfred McSherry (Research and Scholarship Co-ordinator)

Prof. Wilfred McSherry is a Professor in Nursing working in a joint appointment between Department of Nursing, School of Health and Social Care, Staffordshire University and the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust United Kingdom and part-time Professor at VID University College, Bergen, Norway.

Wilf has had a career in nursing working as a Registered Nurse primarily within Acute Hospital Care with a focus upon care of the older person and end of life care. His interest in the spiritual dimension developed alongside a realisation that this aspect of care was neglected and forgotten by some healthcare professionals. He has published extensively in this field with several books and many articles addressing different aspects of the spiritual dimension. In 2010 Wilf led on a piece of work for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) exploring members perceptions of spirituality.

Wilf is a founding and executive member of the British Association for The Study of Spirituality (BASS)  and a Principal Fellow of The Higher Education Academy. In 2012 he was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing for his unique contribution to nursing in the areas of spirituality and dignity. Wilf co-led (with 5 other partners) a Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership European project titled Enhancing Nurses Competence in Providing Spiritual Care through Innovation Education and Compassionate Care (EPICC) website: http://www.epicc-project.eu/

Michael O’Sullivan (Links Co-ordinator)

Dr Michael O’Sullivan has been a member of BASS - now INSS - since its birth, and of its Board of Directors since 2017. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of the INSS journal, Journal for the Study of Spirituality (JSS).

Michael is Co-founder, Executive Director, and Treasurer of the Spirituality Institute for Research and Education in Dublin, Ireland, and director of the unique MA in Applied Spirituality programme since 2005. He is a Senior Lecturer at Waterford Institute of Technology in Waterford, Ireland, a research fellow at the University of the Free State, South Africa, a member of the leadership board of the Centre for the Academic Study of Christian Spirituality at the University of Zurich, a founder-member of the International Relations Committee of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality (SSCS) linked to the American Academy of Religion (AAR), a member of the editorial board of Spiritus, the Society's journal, a former member of the board of directors of SSCS and of the steering committee of the Christian Spirituality Study Group of the AAR. He is also a research fellow of the European Institute for Spirituality in Economics and Society (SPES), a research associate of the Centre for the Study of Spirituality at the University of Hull, a member of the Spirituality in Research and Innovation Group (SRIG) at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, and a member of Spiritual Directors International.

Michael has presented at international conferences in different parts of the world, including at BASS/INSS conferences, and has published extensively. His research interests include ‘authentic subjectivity as a framework for the study of spirituality’, ‘spirituality in childhood as foundational in a life’, ‘spirituality and social transformation’, and ‘spiritual capital’. He is Irish, a Jesuit priest, and has worked in South and Central America, and East Africa.

Further information and links to selected publications:






Melanie Rogers (Spirituality Scholars' Network and SIG Co-ordinator)

Dr Melanie Rogers is a University Teaching Fellow for Advanced Practice and Spirituality at the University of Huddersfield in the UK. She is also an Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Primary Care as well as the Chair of the International Council of Nurses, Nurse Practitioner/Advanced Practice Nurse Network. She is a Queens Nurse having been awarded this title for her work in practice and education. She has worked as a nurse for over 25 years having trained at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. She has worked in many settings including acute medicine, endocrinology, gynaecology, oncology and emergency care in the UK and Canada before training to be a Nurse Practitioner in 1998.

Dr Rogers is passionate about advanced practice as a way of providing the care needed at the point of need for patients. She set up and is chair for the Spirituality & Compassion Special Interest Group at the University of Huddersfield and has successful run several large conferences focusing on spirituality and health.  Her work and research has focused on spirituality and how to provide truly holistic care to patients and her doctoral studies have led to a spirituality framework for Nurse Practitioners to help patients find hope, meaning and purpose during times of illness and challenge. She been a member of BASS for many years and co-chairs the spirituality scholars’ network. She ran the first research symposium with the network in 2018.

She has multiple publications on clinical aspects of advanced practice and spirituality, she has also co- edited book on Spiritually Competent Practice. She is currently editing a book on spirituality and advanced practice nursing.

Further information and links to selected publications: 


Linda Ross (Membership Secretary)

Prof. Linda Ross BA, RGN, PhD, FHEA 

Linda is a Professor of Nursing (specialising in spirituality) at the University of South Wales. Her PhD in 1992 was the first in Europe to explore nurses’ perceptions of spirituality and spiritual care which she published as a book in 1997. She has published extensively on the subject of spirituality, contributing to numerous texts such as the ‘Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare’ (Cobb, Rumbold & Puchalski, 2012) and ‘Spiritual Assessment in Healthcare Practice (McSherry & Ross, 2010). For the last 30 years such has led numerous research studies on spiritual care in both nursing practice and nurse education, as well as leading training workshops and seminars for healthcare staff internationally. She contributed to the Royal College of Nursing’s ‘Spirituality in nursing Care' educational resources’, and to the spiritual care guidance which accompanies the Welsh Government’s Health and Care Standards (2015).  She is a founding member and Membership Secretary for INSS and an Executive Editor for its affiliated journal ‘Journal for the Study of Spirituality’.  She is also an editor for the Journal of Health & Social Care Chaplaincy. She co-led (with 5 other partners) an Erasmus funded 3 year project to establish best practice in spiritual care nurse education across Europe (www.epicc-project.eu).

Further information and links to selected publications:http://staff.southwales.ac.uk/users/261-lross/

Joan Walton (Conference Co-ordinator)

Joan Walton

Dr Joan Walton PhD, MSocSci, DipSW, PGCert, DipSW, BA(Hons)

Joan has been Senior Lecturer at York St John University since 2014, in the School of Education, Languages and Psychology.  In her early career, she was a social worker with children and families, then a lecturer on a professional social work course.  Following this, she initiated an independent education centre which she led for 15 years, before achieving her PhD in 2008, and joining the Faculty of Education at Liverpool Hope University.  She has had a lifelong interest in spirituality, and in the various interpretations of the relationship between science and spirituality.  This has led to her taking an active interest in the phenomenon of consciousness, which, to quote Christian de Quincey, is 'our deepest mystery and our most intimate reality'.   She is a Director of the Scientific and Medical Network, a worldwide professional community for enquiry into themes bridging science, spirituality and consciousness.   

Robyn Wrigley-Carr (Book Reviews Editor, Journal for the Study of Spirituality)

Assoc Prof. Robyn Wrigley-Carr  PhD (Univ of St Andrews), MCS (Regent College), MA (Univ of London), B.Ed (Hons) (Univ of Syd), Grad Dip Spiritual Direction (Univ of Div), ATCL.

Robyn is Associate Professor in theology and spirituality at Alphacrucis College, Sydney, Australia. She joined the Editorial board of the Journal for the Study of Spirituality in January 2018 when she assumed the role of Book Reviews Editor. Robyn gained her PhD in 2013 at the University of St Andrews having researched the religious philosopher, Baron Friedrich von Hügel, as a spiritual director. Robyn’s Masters thesis (Regent College, Vancouver) was a study of ‘self-knowledge’ in the writings of the 16th century mystic, Teresa of Avila. As part of her Regent degree, Robyn was an exchange student at the University of Oxford. Since her doctorate, Robyn has engaged in research of Evelyn Underhill, a significant writer in mysticism and spirituality in the first half of the twentieth century. Robyn discovered and edited Evelyn Underhill’s Prayer Book (2018) and recently published The Spiritual Formation of Evelyn Underhill (2020). Examining the impact of von Hügel and Underhill on Douglas Steere (a Quaker writer in spirituality), is an area of forthcoming research, supported by an Elizabeth Ann Bogert Grant from the Friends World Committee/Section of the Americas. In addition to research in historic spirituality, Robyn researches spiritual care for people with dementia at aged care homes in Sydney. She was invited to give a keynote address about her research at the 8th International Conference on Ageing and Spirituality at Canberra, Australia in October 2019.

Robyn is passionate about spirituality having lectured in the area for over two decades. She is also a spiritual director and leads spiritual retreats in both Australia and the UK.

Further information and links to selected publications:


   About the network

The INSS is a unique international network for people interested in bringing the study of spirituality to life through research, scholarship, education and practice.


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