Professor Sylvia Collins-Mayo


I gained my PhD at the University of Surrey in 1997 with a thesis focused on Young People's Faith in Late Modernity. I came to Kingston University in the same year and continued my post-doctoral work exploring questions around religion and the world views of Generation Y (individuals born between 1980 and 2000). I am interested in the beliefs and values young people employ in shaping their identity and sense of purpose in life. I have researched how young people engage with the Christian heritage of Britain.  More broadly, I have written on spirituality and on how religious beliefs and practices are lived out in everyday life, including how prayer is used and understood in different contexts.  My recent research has been concerned with the role, impact and experiences of Street Pastors who work in conjunction with the police and local government to enhance the safety and wellbeing of the public as they engage with the night-time economy. In 2022 I was ordained as a priest in the Church of England, which brings my academic interests and personal life together in a variety of ways. I am currently Head of the Department of Criminology and Sociology. I teach the sociology of religion and social research methods within the Department. I am interested in supervising doctoral candidates with research projects focusing on the sociology of religion - particularly in relation to Christianity; young people's faith; spirituality; agnosticism; prayer.

Academic responsibilities

School Director Learning & Teaching


  • BSc (Hons) Applied Psychology and Sociology, University of Surrey.
  • PhD Sociology: Young People's Faith in Late Modernity, University of Surrey.
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education, Kingston University.
  • BA (Hons) Theology, Ministry and Mission, Durham University.

Teaching and learning

I have taught on a wide range of modules at different points in my career.  At the moment I teach research methods on the postgraduate Criminology programme.  I also teach the module Religion and Belief which is a Level 5 option.  

Qualifications and expertise

  • Fellow of the HEA
  • PG Cert HE

Undergraduate courses taught

Postgraduate courses taught


My primary research interests are in the sociology of religion, where I study faith and religious practice.  I have published on young people's faith; religion in public life through the work of Street Pastors; and prayer.

Qualifications and expertise

  • PhD Young People's Faith in Late Modernity, University of Surrey

Areas of specialism

  • Sociology of Religion

Scholarly affiliations

  • British Sociological Association (BSA)
  • BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group

Research student supervision

Main supervision

Other supervision


Number of items: 31.


Sharma, Sonya, Catalano, Elena, Seetzen, Heidi, Minors, Helen and Collins-Mayo, Sylvia (2019) Taking Race Live : exploring experiences of race through interdisciplinary collaboration in Higher Education. London Review of Education, 17(2), pp. 193-205. ISSN (print) 1474-8460

Collins-Mayo, Sylvia (2016) Book Review of: Religion or belief, discrimination and equality: Britain in global contexts by Paul Weller, Kingsley Purdam, Nazila Ghanea and Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor. Sociology, 50(6), pp. 1201-1202. ISSN (print) 0038-0385

Collins-Mayo, Sylvia (2012) Youth and religion: an international perspective. Theo-Web. Zeitschrift fuer Religionpaedagogik [Academic Journal of Religious Education], 11(1), pp. 80-94. ISSN (online) 1863-0502

Collins-Mayo, Sylvia (2008) Book Review of: Christian roots, contemporary spirituality by Lynda Barley and Open for you: the church, the visitor and the gospel by Paul Bond. Material Religion, 4(2), pp. 247-248. ISSN (print) 1743-2200

Collins-Mayo, Sylvia, Nash, S. and Mayo, Bob (2007) Raising Christian consciousness: creating place. Journal of youth and theology, 6(2), pp. 41-59.

Collins-Mayo, Sylvia and Hornsby-Smith, Michael P. (2002) The rise and fall of the YCW in England. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 17(1), pp. 87-100. ISSN (print) 1353-7903


Collins-Mayo, Sylvia and Dandelion, Pink, eds. (2010) Religion and youth. Farnham, U.K. : Ashgate. 278p. (Theology and religion in interdisciplinary perspective series) ISBN 9780754667681

Collins-Mayo, Sylvia, Mayo, Bob, Nash, Sally and Cocksworth, Christopher (2010) The faith of Generation Y. London, U.K. : Church House Publishing. 153p. ISBN 9780715142066

Savage, Sara, Collins-Mayo, Sylvia, Mayo, Bob and Cray, Graham (2006) Making sense of Generation Y: the world view of 15- to 25-year-olds. London : Church House. 209p. (Explorations) ISBN 9780715140512

Mayo, Bob, Collins, Sylvia and Savage, Sara (2004) Ambiguous evangelism. London : SPCK. 160p. ISBN 0281056374

Book Section

Collins-Mayo, Sylvia (2019) Dissent by default : 'believing without belonging' in twenty-first-century England. In: Hanciles, Jehu J., (ed.) The twentieth century : traditions in a global context. Oxford, U.K. : Oxford University Press. pp. 292-311. (The Oxford history of Protestant dissenting traditions, (IV)) ISBN 9780199684045 (In Press)

Collins-Mayo, Sylvia (2016) The meaning and inheritance of Anglican identity amongst young people. In: Day, Abby, (ed.) Contemporary Issues in the Worldwide Anglican Communion: Powers and Pieties. Abingdon, U.K. : Routledge. pp. 21-38. (Ashgate Contemporary Ecclesiology Series) ISBN 9781472444134

Collins-Mayo, Sylvia (2015) Evangelicals and gender. In: Smith, Greg, (ed.) 21st Century evangelicals: reflections on research by the Evangelical Alliance. Watford, U.K. : Instant Apostle. ISBN 9781909728257

Collins-Mayo, Sylvia (2015) Young people and residual Christian culture. In: Day, Abby and Lovheim, Mia, (eds.) Modernities, memory, mutations: Grace Davie and the study of religion. Abingdon, U.K. : Routledge. pp. 179-194. ISBN 9781472436177

Collins-Mayo, Sylvia (2013) Street Prayer: A case study of the use of prayer by Street Pastors. In: Giordan, Giuseppe and Woodhead, Linda, (eds.) Prayer in Religion and Spirituality. Leiden, The Netherlands : Brill. pp. 173-188. (Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion, 4) ISSN (print) 1877-5233 ISBN 9789004260481

Collins-Mayo, Sylvia (2012) Choosing my religion: young people’s personal Christian knowledge. In: Guest, Matthew and Arweck, Elisabeth, (eds.) Religion and knowledge: sociological perspectives. Aldershot, U.K. : Ashgate. pp. 149-163. (Theology and religion in interdisciplinary perspective) ISBN 9781409427070

Vincett, Giselle and Collins-Mayo, Sylvia (2010) (Dis)engagements with Christianity amongst young people In England and Scotland. In: Giordan, Giuseppe, (ed.) Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion. Leiden, The Netherlands : Brill. pp. 219-250. 1 ISSN (print) 1877-5233 ISBN 9789004187900

Collins-Mayo, Sylvia (2010) Introduction. In: Collins-Mayo, Sylvia and Dandelion, Pink, (eds.) Religion and youth. Farnham, U.K. : Ashgate. pp. 1-8. (Theology and religion in interdisciplinary perspective series) ISBN 9780754667681

Collins-Mayo, Sylvia and Beaudoin, Tom (2010) Religion, pop culture and 'virtual faith'. In: Collins-Mayo, Sylvia and Dandelion, Pink, (eds.) Religion and youth. Farnham, U.K. : Ashgate. pp. 17-24. (Theology and religion in interdisciplinary perspective series) ISBN 9780754667681

Collins-Mayo, Sylvia (2010) Secularization and desecularization in Europe and North America. In: Patte, Daniel, (ed.) The Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity. New York, U.S. : Cambridge University Press. pp. 1139-1142. ISBN 9780521820967

Collins-Mayo, Sylvia and Rankin, Phil (2010) A question of belief. In: Collins-Mayo, Sylvia and Dandelion, Pink, (eds.) Religion and youth. Farnham, U.K. : Ashgate. pp. 193-200. (Theology and religion in interdisciplinary perspective series) ISBN 9780754667681

Collins-Mayo, Sylvia (2008) Young people's spirituality and the meaning of prayer. In: Day, Abby, (ed.) Religion and the individual. Aldershot, U.K. : Ashgate Publishing Ltd. pp. 33-45. (Theology and religion in interdisciplinary perspective) ISBN 0754661229

Collins, Sylvia (2005) The resources and people of the local church: Sociological strand : resources and people. In: Cameron, Helen , Richter, Philip , Davies, Douglas and Ward, Frances, (eds.) Studying local churches: a handbook. London, U.K. : SCM Press. pp. 146-159. ISBN 0334029600

Collins-Mayo, Sylvia (2003) English Christianity, modern. In: Houlden, Leslie, (ed.) Jesus in history, thought and culture: an encyclopedia. Santa Barbara : ABC-CLIO. pp. 235-240. ISBN 1576078566

Collins, Sylvia (2001) Religion and youth. In: Smelser, Neil J. and Baltes, Paul B., (eds.) International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. Oxford : Elsevier. pp. 13051-13054. ISBN 0080430767

Collins, Sylvia (2000) Faith, ethics, young people and late modernity. In: Flanagan, Kieran and Jupp, Peter C., (eds.) Virtue ethics and sociology: issues of modernity and religion. Basingstoke, U.K. : Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 91-103. ISBN 9780333750100

Collins, Sylvia (2000) Spirituality and youth. In: Percy, Martyn, (ed.) Calling time: religion and change at the turn of the millennium. Sheffield, U.K. : Sheffield Academic Press. pp. 221-237. (Lincoln studies in religion & society, (2)) ISBN 9781841270630

Collins, Sylvia (1999) Der immanente Glaube der Jugend in der Spatmoderne. In: Friesl, Christian and Polak, Regina, (eds.) Die Suche nach der religiosen Aura : Analysen zum Verhaltnis von Jugend und Religion in Europa. Graz - Wien, Austria : Verlag Zeitpunkt. pp. 210-223. ISBN 3901908137

Collins, Sylvia (1999) Immanent faith: young people in late modernity. In: Francis, Leslie J., (ed.) Sociology, theology and the curriculum. London, U.K. : Cassell. pp. 165-174. (Theology in dialogue series) ISBN 9780304704859

Conference or Workshop Item

Collins-Mayo, Sylvia and Smith, G. (2013) Gender Differences Among British Evangelicals. In: Engaging Sociology. British Sociological Association Annual Conference; 3-5 Apr 2013, London, U.K.. ISBN 9780904569407 (Unpublished)

Collins-Mayo, Sylvia (2003) Popular culture and young people's worldview. In: International society for the sociology of religion conference; 21 - 25 Jul 2003, Turin, Italy. (Submitted)

This list was generated on Fri Jun 21 07:40:17 2024 BST.

Leadership and management

I have been Head of Department, for the Department of Criminology, Politics and Sociology (formerly the Department of Criminology and Sociology) for a number of years.  My role involves oversight of the Department, its teaching and research, and student and staff welfare.  

University responsibilities

  • Head of Department