Professor Linda Woodhead of Lancaster University has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List for services to higher education.
As Professor of the Sociology of Religion, she has led the largest ever research project on religion in the UK - the £12m Religion and Society Programme which involved 240 academics from 29 different disciplines carrying out research between 2007-12. It has raised the profile of religion research across the arts and humanities and trained a new generation of academics.
She said: “I am honoured and delighted to receive the MBE and would like to thank all the students and colleagues who have taken part in the research and debates on religion and society.”
Professor Woodhead and former minister Charles Clarke recently organised the Westminster Faith Debates on ‘Religion and Public Life’, a series of debates between academics and leading public figures which included a conversation between Tony Blair, Charles Moore and Rowan Williams. A new series on ‘Religion and Personal Life’ is being held in Spring 2013.
She is also a regular commentator and broadcaster on religion and society in the media.
“My main interest is in studying religious change in modern societies, relating it to wider social changes, and thinking through practical and political implications. My current work focuses on how and why religion has changed so dramatically in Britain since the late 1980s.”
Aaqil Ahmed, Head of Religion and Ethics at the BBC commented: “The Religion and Society Programme has made it more acceptable to ‘do religion’ in public. This can be seen in the media, from more newspaper opinion pieces to religion-related programmes being produced within the BBC.”