Killing in the Name of God: Addressing Religiously Inspired Violence
Robin Gill explores religiously inspired violence drawing on research into public attitudes on the topic. (2018)
Lizzie Stanley joins the Theos team as Head of Communications. 04/09/2018
As I step into this exciting new role at Theos I’ve been reflecting on the path that’s brought me here.
A common thread running through my life has been an interest in ideas, and more specifically the big ideas that underpin the way we see the world. This interest, as experienced through the lens of someone with strong creative tendencies, resulted in a particular draw towards the power of the creative arts to tell stories. From a young age I found an outlet for this in song writing, at many points finding in music a language that I could use to tell my own story.
I have spent the last 10+ years carving out a career in communications, more specifically in advertising working in both media and creative agencies, developing an understanding of how to make powerful and effective content. The early part of these years I spent working in advertising agencies alongside some very talented creatives and strategists, and had my fair share of colourful experiences. The job gave me the opportunity of international travel for shoots on location and the experience of working with celebrities, children and animals (all of which the general wisdom cautions against). But having come from a family with a strong social justice conscience, and myself having a deep faith, I knew that I ultimately wanted to be telling stories, working with big ideas and creating content that contributed towards positive social impact.
A few years ago a job came up doing just that, a role in a strategic communications agency whose work focused on social change, and it allowed me to move into a field of work imminently more meaningful for me. For the last 3 years I’ve worked on projects addressing some of the most complex and challenging social issues of our time from image based abuse, youth mental health to polarisation and violent extremism. I’ve met fascinating people and had a glimpse into worlds that I would never have known about. I’ve learnt a lot about storytelling; the lenses through which we see the world, the complexity of identity, the power of our cultures and tribes, the weight of words and how we use them.
Many of the projects I worked on needed careful handling, and I’ve felt the weight of responsibility of that. Where trust has been fractured and viewpoints entrenched, I’ve seen that work which drives genuine social change begins on a human level and requires openness, transparency and a willingness to recognise where we’ve failed and where we can do better.
This, in many ways, has been the driving force that led me into the think tank space, and more specifically to Theos. For me, one of the most formative experiences I had with the power of a story was in the person of Jesus Christ. He was himself a compelling storyteller, and the themes of betrayal, defeat, redemption, sacrifice and hope which formed the threads of the story in which he himself played a lead role continue to resonate, and are more relevant than ever today.
As I join this intelligent and thoughtful team, we’ll be exploring the ways in which these stories, and the present day expression of them in real people’s lives, can be communicated today.
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.
Posted 4 September 2018
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Theos researches and investigates the intersection of religion, politics and society in the contemporary world.