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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 a couple of 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 is Head of Research at Theos. She holds a doctorate in theology from the University of Oxford, and previously worked as a research scholar at a retreat and education centre in Philadelphia. She is the author of ‘The Christian Quaker: George Keith and the Keithian Controversy’ (Brill: 2019), ‘Quakers, Christ and the Enlightenment’ (OUP, 2021), ‘The Church and Social Cohesion: Connecting Communities and Serving People’ (Theos, 2020), and ‘Cohesive Societies: Faith and Belief’ (British Academy, 2020). Outside of Theos, she sits on the Quaker Committee for Christian and Interfaith Relations.

  • Elizabeth Oldfield - Head of The Sacred

    Elizabeth Oldfield

    Head of The Sacred

    Elizabeth is host of The Sacred podcast. She was Theos’ Director from August 2011 – July 2021. She appears regularly in the media, including BBC One, Sky News, the World Service, and writing in The Financial Times. She is a regular conference speaker and chair. Before joining Theos in August 2011, Elizabeth worked for BBC TV and radio. She has an MA in Theology from King’s College London.

  • 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 publications, including the Theos reports ‘Religious London: Faith in a Global City’ (with Paul Bickley) and ‘Forgive Us Our Debts: lending and borrowing as if relationships matter’ (with Barbara Ridpath). He is also co–author of ‘The Question of Surveillance Capitalism’(with Stephen N Williams), a chapter in ‘The Robot Will See You Now: Artificial Intelligence Issues Facing Christianity’ eds. John Wyatt and Stephen N Williams (London: SPCK, 2021). Nathan is also a visiting lecturer at St Mellitus College, London. His research, speaking and writing focus on technology ethics, political economy and theology of culture.



  • 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 2015. 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 2019. She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Counselling and a PhD in Practical Theology both from the University of Aberdeen. She is particularly interested in mental health, disability and 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 and works closely on the production of The Sacred podcast. 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. 


  • 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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