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, 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 Lost and Foundation and The Mindful Trust, among others.


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 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.


Jamie Bristow took over from Madeleine Bunting and Ed Halliwell as Director of the Mindfulness Initiative in May 2015. Jamie is a mindfulness teacher and consultant, currently engaged by the Oxford Mindfulness Centre. He was formerly Headspace for Teams Director at Headspace.

Advisory Group

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.

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.

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. He is the Director of the Oxford University Mindfulness Centre.

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

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.

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.

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 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.


Amanda Bailey is Chief Operating Officer at Bright Futures Educational Trust (BFET). She is involved in training delivery on behalf of the Mindfulness in Schools Project nationally and internationally. A qualified accountant, she has also worked in senior management for Marks and Spencer, United Utilities and PwC.

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.

Kate Cavanagh is a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of Sussex. Her research interests include increasing access to psychological therapies, including mindfulness-based interventions, in particular via e-mental health. Kate is the University of Sussex lead for the Sussex Mindfulness Centre.

Amanda Conquy managed the literary estate of Roald Dahl since the author's death until earlier this year, and played key roles in the creation and running of Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity and the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre. She was formerly editorial director at William Heinemann.

Joanna Cook is a lecturer in Medical Anthropology at University College London. Her research ethnographically explores mindfulness practices in the UK, with a particular focus on Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy.

Bridgette O’Neill is a mindfulness teacher and supervisor, and a consultant clinical psychologist. She is an associate of the Sussex Mindfulness Centre and an associate tutor with the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice (CMRP) at Bangor University. She teaches MBSR/MBCT to the public in the third sector.

Mark Ovland is a director of Mindfulness CIC and currently spearheads a movement to bring mindfulness more fully into the criminal justice system. He has been teaching mindfulness for four years and during this time has helped to run two Buddhist retreat centres in Devon.

Nina Ross is a fundraiser with 15 years experience of working in the charity, voluntary and social enterprise sector. She has successfully secured six figure amounts from Foundations, Trusts and Statutory bodies as well as companies and individuals.

Sarah Post has spent the last 18 years working in the corporate sector, and until November 2013, was Head of Employee Communications and Engagement for Carphone Warehouse. Sarah works with businesses to support them with their communications needs.

Jonathan Rowson is director of The Social Brain Centre at the RSA. A chess Grandmaster, Jonathan was British Champion for three consecutive years 2004-6. He writes a weekly column for the Herald, Scotland’s national newspaper.

Tessa Watt is a mindfulness teacher, running public courses and workshops in organisations. She is author of Introducing Mindfulness: A Practical Guide and Mindful London. In her earlier career she was a research fellow in History at Cambridge University, and a senior producer with BBC Radio and Music.


We would also like to offer huge thanks to the many organisations and individuals who have freely offered their services and support to the Mindfulness Initiative. Our thanks go especially to the Lostand Foundation, The Mindful Trust, Stephen Holland, SimplicityWeb and Alan Denbigh.

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