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Theos stimulates the debate about the place of religion in society, challenging and changing ideas through research, commentary and events.

Core Team

  • Nick Spencer - Senior Fellow

    Nick Spencer

    Senior Fellow

    Nick is Senior Fellow at Theos. He is the author of a number of books and reports, most recently The Political Samaritan: how power hijacked a parable (Bloomsbury, 2017), The Evolution of the West (SPCK, 2016) and Atheists: The Origin of the Species (Bloomsbury, 2014). He is host of the podcast Reading Our Times. Outside of Theos, Nick is Visiting Research Fellow at the Faiths and Civil Society Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London and a Fellow of the International Society for Science and Religion.

  • Lizzie Harvey - Head of Communications

    Lizzie Harvey

    Head of Communications

    Lizzie is Head of Communications at Theos. She has a BA in Politics from Durham University and a background in communications with over 10 years’ experience developing content and strategic communications projects for brands, government clients and not–for–profits. Lizzie spent the last two years in Australia establishing the Sydney branch of a social change focused communications agency, and has a particular interest in the power of human stories in shaping our foundational beliefs and culture.


    To contact Lizzie for out–of–hours media matters, call 07778160052.

  • Madeleine Pennington - Head of Research

    Madeleine Pennington

    Head of Research

    Madeleine joined Theos in 2018 as a researcher on the Free Churches Commission, investigating the impact of churches on social cohesion across England. She holds a doctorate in theology from the University of Oxford, and previously worked as a research scholar in Philadelphia. She is the author of The Christian Quaker: George Keith and the Keithian Controversy (Brill: 2019) and is now working on her second book, entitled Quakers, Christ and the Enlightenment (OUP, forthcoming). Outside of Theos, she is a member of the Engaging Young Adult Friends steering group, aiming to increase age diversity among British Quakers.

  • Paul Bickley - Research Fellow

    Paul Bickley

    Research Fellow

    Paul is Research Fellow at Theos. His background is in Parliament and public affairs, and he holds an MLitt from the University of St Andrews’ School of Divinity. Paul is the author of Building Jerusalem? Christianity and the Labour Party (2010) and numerous Theos reports.

  • Anna Wheeler - Operations and Events Manager

    Anna Wheeler

    Operations and Events Manager

    Anna joined Theos in June 2015. She read Theology at Heythrop College, University of London, and later gained a PG Diploma in Theatre. She taught English and Music in Poland and Ghana and spent twelve years coordinating university programmes and working with students at Heythrop, SOAS, KCL and Imperial College. Anna’s research interests are the links between the arts, theology, imagination and puppetry.  Outside of Theos, she is a member of the Religious Drama Society, Radius. 

  • Nathan Mladin - Senior Researcher

    Nathan Mladin

    Senior Researcher

    Nathan joined Theos in 2016. He holds an MTh and PhD in Systematic Theology from Queen’s University Belfast and is the author of several Theos publications, including ‘Religious London: Faith in a Global City’ (with Paul Bickley), ‘Forgive Us Our Debts: lending and borrowing as if relationships matter’ (with Barbara Ridpath), and a chapter on Václav Havel in ‘The Mighty and the Almighty: How Political Leaders do God’ (Biteback, 2017). He currently acts as theology adviser and rapporteur to the Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) at the Church of England. His research focuses on technology ethics (Big Tech; AI), political economy, and cultural change.



  • Hannah Rich - Senior Researcher

    Hannah Rich

    Senior Researcher

    Hannah joined Theos in November 2017 as a researcher exploring the relationship between church growth, social action and discipleship, together with Church Urban Fund. Previously, she worked for a social innovation think tank and a learning disability charity. Hannah studied French and Spanish at Durham University, including a year abroad working with faith–based organisations in Paris and Madrid. She also holds an MSc in Inequalities and Social Science from LSE.

  • Simon Perfect - Researcher

    Simon Perfect


    Simon joined Theos in 2014. He is a researcher and tutor at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), where he leads distance–learning courses exploring Muslim communities in Britain and in other minority settings. He is co–author of the book Freedom of Speech in Universities: Islam, Charities and Counter–terrorism (Routledge, 2021). Simon read History at the University of Cambridge and has an MA in the Study of Religions from SOAS.

  • Hannah Waite - Researcher

    Hannah Waite


    Hannah joined Theos in October 2019. She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Counselling and she is just about to submit her PhD thesis in Practical Theology looking at the Stigma of Bipolar Disorder in Churches across the UK, both from the University of Aberdeen. She is particularly interested in disability theology and was a founding member and community developer of Friendship House Aberdeen, a movement towards creating an inclusive community for adults with and without disability. She is working on Theos’ Religion and Science project.

  • Abbie Allison - Communications and Events Officer

    Abbie Allison

    Communications and Events Officer

    Abbie joined Theos in August 2019. Prior to this, she worked as a community fundraiser for a national homelessness charity based in the North East of England. She holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of Bristol. Abbie is particularly interested in the power of diversifying content so that it is accessible to a wide range of people.  


  • Emily Downe - Creative Content Designer

    Emily Downe

    Creative Content Designer

    Emily joined Theos in July 2019. She graduated with a MA in Documentary Animation from the Royal College of Art and achieved her BA in Illustration Animation at Kingston University. Alongside working as Creative Designer at Theos, she works independently as an animation director, specialising in documentary short film. Emily has a passion for visual communication; expanding research through visual metaphor and engaging design.

  • Pete Whitehead - Research, Events and Communications Assistant

    Pete Whitehead

    Research, Events and Communications Assistant

    Pete joined Theos in February 2021 as Research, Events and Communications Assistant. Previously, he worked for a democratic engagement organisation, focused on engaging young people in politics and connecting them to their elected representatives. He studied English at Queen Mary University of London, and holds an MSt in Medieval Literature from the University of Oxford.



Associate Fellows

  • Jonathan Chaplin - Associate Fellow

    Jonathan Chaplin

    Associate Fellow

    Dr Jonathan Chaplin is a member of the Divinity Faculty of Cambridge University and a Senior Fellow of Cardus, a Canadian public theology think–tank. He was first Director of the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics from 2006–2017. He is a specialist in political theology and he has taught at higher education institutions in the UK, Canada and the Netherlands. He is author of two Theos reports, and of Faith in Democracy: Framing a Politics of Deep Diversity (SCM 2021).

  • Barbara Ridpath  - Associate Fellow

    Barbara Ridpath

    Associate Fellow

    In recent years, Barbara Ridpath has combined her education in economics and work in finance and regulation with her interest in theology and ethics. She served as Director of St Paul’s Institute at St Pauls Cathedral from 2014–18, and then as a member and subsequently Chair of the Ethical Investment Advisory Group of the Church of England. She is the co–author of two Theos publications and also serves as a non–executive director of two financial organisations, and on the International Advisory Board of the Institute for Business Ethics. 


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