Who we are

The Mindfulness Initiative was founded by Madeleine Bunting and Chris Cullen in November 2013. Our partners are the four mindfulness training and research centres in Oxford, Exeter, Bangor and Sussex UK, as well as the Mental Health Foundation, and we benefit from an advisory group comprising some of the most experienced mindfulness scientists and practitioners in the UK. Our patrons are Jon Kabat Zinn and Ruby Wax, and our director is Jamie Bristow, who took over from previous co-chairs Madeleine Bunting and Ed Halliwell in May 2015. The Mindfulness Initiative has a talented team of associates and supporters contributing to our work, coming from the fields of mindfulness research and wider academia, mindfulness teaching and wider education, policy and advocacy (government and NGOs), corporate communications, fundraising, digital marketing, web development and design. We are grateful for the generous support of The Lostand Foundation and The Mindful Trust, among others.


Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat-Zinn is founding Executive Director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He teaches mindfulness around the world, having developed Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in the late 1970s.

Ruby Wax

Ruby Wax is a comedian. She has completed a masters in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy at the Oxford University Mindfulness Centre., and is author of Sane New World: Taming The Mind. She works to promote understanding of the brain, campaigning for greater mental health awareness and destigmatization.


Katie White, OBE

Katie is an independent Campaigns Advisor currently working on wellbeing and climate change. She was previously an advisor to the Labour Party and the European Campaigns Director for ONE. Prior to that, Katie co-led the campaign for a climate change act in the UK. That campaign is noted as one of the most successful campaigns in generations. This led to Katie joining the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to set up and lead a “war room” to prepare the UK Government, in advance of the 2009 UN Conference in Copenhagen. Katie was awarded an OBE in 2013.

Ed Haliwell

Ed Halliwell is a mindfulness teacher and writer. He is co-author of The Mindful Manifesto and Mindfulness: How To Live Well By Paying Attention. He leads mindfulness courses, workshops and retreats in London, Surrey and Sussex, as well as in organisations, and is on the faculty of the School of Life.

Executive Core Team

Jamie Bristow, Director

Jamie initially contributed to the Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group's inquiry whilst he was Business Development Director at the digital mind-health platform, Headspace. He was then asked to take over as Director of the Mindfulness Initiative in spring 2015 to complete the production of the Mindful Nation UK report, orchestrate its launch and lead on the advocacy of its findings. He complements this work as a mindfulness teacher and consultant. In the past, Jamie has been a software developer, advertising executive, climate change campaigner and global brand director.

Liz Bassett, Communications

Liz is a writer, researcher, and meditation practitioner. She joins us from the FutureDharma Fund, where she was Communications and Donor Care Manager. Prior to this, Liz worked for over 10 years in Cancer Services, where she was able to bring her awareness practice into her role as a radiotherapist. In her earlier career, Liz worked in publishing and the charity sector before completing her PhD on community and the internet.

Byron Lee, Criminal Justice Policy Lead & EDI Advisor

Byron Lee is a mindfulness teacher and Director of training at the Happy City Initiative in Bristol. His work also involves mindful leadership, compassionate inclusion and transformative change.

Chris Tamdjidi, Financial Director

Chris is the co-founder and Director of the Kalapa Academy and Kalapa Hotels. He has spent the last 10 years focusing on leadership development especially in the fields of mindfulness, authentic leadership and personal transformation. He is currently leading the world’s largest study on mindfulness in working life.

Jenny Edwards CBE FRSA FFP, Health Policy Lead

After stepping down from a successful four years as Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, Jenny is working part-time on a number of projects including leading the development of a health policy strategy for the Mindfulness Initiative.

Vishvapani Blomfield, Mindfulness Initiative Wales

Vishvapani Blomfield teaches mindfulness courses in Cardiff and is developing a programme for offenders in Wales on probation and in prisons. He is a Buddhist writer and teacher and a regular contributor to Thought for the Day.

Chris Cullen, Parliamentary Liaison

Chris Cullen is a teacher at the Oxford University Mindfulness Centre. He leads mindfulness courses for MPs and Peers in the Houses of Parliament, for musicians and actors at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and students at Oxford University. He is co-founder of Mindfulness in Schools, and also has a psychotherapy practice.

Project Team

Dan Nixon, Researcher

Dan Nixon is a freelance writer, researcher and consultant. A former senior analyst at the Bank of England, his recent writing includes an essay on the attention economy that was featured on the front page of The Sunday Times, in The Economist, FT, Mail Online, Express and Evening Standard, and was discussed on Talk Radio and BBC Radio 4. Dan has also written about mindfulness and what it means for economics and consumerism, which was picked up by the FT, Times, Guardian, Quartz and CityAM.

Menka Sanghvi, Researcher

Menka is an experienced design thinker, researcher and innovation specialist working on mindfulness, compassion and wellbeing projects. She is also a passionate photographer, and the founder of the mindful photography initiative Just Looking. Over the past 15 years, Menka has worked on developing, scaling and funding social innovations at organisations such as the United Nations, UK Government agencies, Oxfam and Unilever. She was also a co-founder of the Impact Hub's global network that today continues to support thousands of social entrepreneurs to be creative and collaborative.


Mark Williams

Mark Williams is a Wellcome Principal Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, and Professor of Clinical Psychology. He co-developed Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for prevention of relapse and recurrence in major depression.

Madeleine Bunting

Madeleine Bunting is a writer and journalist. She founded the Mindfulness Initiative in November 2013 with Chris Cullen, and is an associate of the Oxford University Mindfulness Centre. She has written three books and is a regular commentator and broadcaster for amongst others, the Guardian, BBC and the Tablet.

Rebecca Crane

Rebecca Crane directs the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice (CMRP) at Bangor University and has played a leading role in the development of the centre since it was founded in 2001. Prior to this she worked for 15 years in the mental health field as an Occupational Therapist and an integrative counsellor.

Jonathan Rowson

Jonathan is the former director of The Social Brain Centre at the RSA. A chess Grandmaster, Jonathan was British Champion for three consecutive years 2004-6. He recently founded Perspectiva, a think-tank examining complex problems in the external world from the perspectives of our inner worlds; integrating systems, souls, and society for the common good.

Marion Furr

Marion Furr was Director of Ministerial Business and Parliamentary Accountability in the Department of Health until July 2016, and led the DH staff health and wellbeing programme. She trained as a mindfulness teacher with both Bangor and Oxford universities and has introduced mindfulness to over 3000 civil servants.

Willem Kuyken

Willem Kuyken is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Oxford and Director of the Oxford University Mindfulness Centre. His work is focused on mood disorders and evidence-based approaches to mood disorders. His research and teaching are primarily on mindfulness-based approaches.

Florian Ruths

Florian Ruths is a consultant psychiatrist in adult mental health at the Maudsley hospital in London. He is clinical lead for mindfulness-based therapy at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

Richard Layard

Richard Layard is Well-Being Programme Director (Well-Being) at the Centre For Economic Performance, London School of Economics. He is one of the first economists to work on happiness and a member of the House of Lords.

Dylan Schlosberg

Dylan is an experienced and successful digital and internet entrepreneur. He is active in charitable work which seeks to support mindfulness research and reach people who could benefit most from mindfulness practice.

Dr Tim Lomas

Tim Lomas is a lecturer in positive psychology at the University of East London, where he is the associate programme leader for the MSc in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology. Tim has published numerous papers and books on topics including positive psychology theory, mindfulness, linguistics, and gender.

Vidyamala Burch

Vidyamala is co-founder and Director of Breathworks - an international mindfulness teacher training and delivery organisation specialising in mindfulness for pain, illness and stress. She has published several books and is internationally regarded as an expert in the field of mindfulness for pain given she draws on her own experience of pain following spinal injuries.

Past Associates

Kate Cavanagh, Health Care

Isabelle Umugwaneza, Operations Manager

Joanna Cook, Advisor

Emma Wardropper, Workplace

Sarah Post, Workplace

Rachel Lilley, Workplace

Bridgette O'Neill, Health Care

Amanda Conquy, Production

Mark Ovland, Criminal Justice

Nina Ross, Fundraising

Tessa Watt, Workplace

Dean Capon, Stakeholder Communications

Amanda Bailey, Education

Leonie Schell, Workplace