Catherine Fieschi was the founding Director and is now the Chair of Counterpoint. The firm’s founding was a reaction to the inability of traditional risk analysis to foresee any of the challenges that were erupting at the time – the Arab Springs, the turn by pluralist democracies to populist politics, and the rise in citizen resentement and voter volatility. So when Catherine founded the company as Executive Director, her primary objective was to create a research firm that would draw attention to the social and cultural dynamics that underpin political risk–and have not been taken seriously enough. Catherine’s academicwork, as well as her political advisory work has focused on mobilisation and protest – and as a political scientist she believes that comparative and multidisciplinary analysis are the crucial tools that can help leaders make better decisions, in both the public and private sectors.
In September 2019, Catherine became the inaugural Director of the Global Policy Institute at Queen Mary University of London. In her new role she will set up the institute to connect the best of Queen Mary’s research to the needs of global policy and change makers.
Prior to founding Counterpoint, Catherine was Director of Research at The British Council. Whilst there, she led the organisation’s work on the uses of ‘soft power’ in international relations, developed its work on digital culture as an instrument of social and political change, and further developed their programme on Islam and Europe.
Between 2005 and 2008 Catherine was the Director of Demos, the leading London-based think tank. At Demos, she oversaw the development of the organisation’s programme of work on radicalisation and the emergence of its work on European populisms. She also coordinated its work across the world on public service reform.
Catherine is the author of numerous journal articles, as well as essays on extremism, mobilisation and identity politics. Most recently she published Populocracy: the Tyranny of autenticity and the Rise of Populism (Agenda, 2019). In 2008 she published In the Shadow of Democracy, an in-depth analysis of contemporary populism and its impact on institutions.
She frequently provides expert analysis for both the national and international media including BBC television and radio, Sky News, and Reuters, as well as other European and American outlets. A former contributing editor for Prospect Magazine, Catherine has a regular column in the Chatham House magazine, The World Today.
Catherine holds a PhD in Comparative Political Science from McGill University. She is fluent in several languages and has lived in Italy, Senegal, France, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.