The Team

Editorial Team

Karen McClain Kiefer (Editor-in-Chief) entered the PhD program in the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts after careers in corporate management and consulting, followed by service in pastoral, social and theatre ministry.  Karen has lived in several regions through the US, most recently Minnesota where she earned a Master’s degree at Saint John’s School of Theology. Under the supervision of Trevor Hart, she is exploring theological and theatrical contexts of ’empty space’ and general human disposition toward it, with emphasis on improvisation and Holy Saturday. Since 2017, Karen has led or advised ITIA’s Transept group, a postgraduate student-led group of multidisciplinary practicing artists.  As Editor, she is fostering a closer partnership between Transpositions and Transept.

Ewan Bowlby (Associate Editor) is a doctoral student at the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts (ITIA) in St Andrews, under the supervision of George Corbett (ITIA) and John Swinton (University of Aberdeen). He is researching ways of using popular artworks (novels, films and television series) to design new forms of art therapy which provide emotional, psychological and spiritual care for cancer patients. This involves using fictional narratives, characters and imagery to reflect and reframe patients’ experiences of living with cancer, helping them to understand and articulate the affect of cancer on their lives. He is developing the impact of his research through an ongoing collaboration with several Scottish centres run by the Maggie’s cancer care charity. Other interests include theological engagement with popular culture, the relationship between theology and humour and the use of narrative form for theological expression.

Matthew Nelson (Associate Editor) is a doctoral student at the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts (ITIA) in St Andrews, under the supervision of Gavin Hopps. He is researching the theological implications of the fiction of Thomas Pynchon (1937- ), considering his work in relation to the Gothic tradition and post-secular literature.

Karlee Lillywhite (Associate Editor) received her BA in English literature from the University of California, Berkeley and has worked as an editor, graphic designer and illustrator for several Christian organizations including Cornell University’s Christian study center, Chesterton House. Having recently completed her masters in Theology and the Arts at the University of St Andrews, Karlee is continuing her exploration of the devotional possibilities of illustration as ITIA’s Artist in Residence.

James Smoker (Associate Editor) is a doctoral student with the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts. He is researching the imagination and theological writings of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), with a particular focus on the darkness of Coleridge’s own imagination, the poet’s subsequent yearning for God, and his hope that, through this darkness, the imagination may lead one to approach the divine. James comes from Vancouver, Canada, where he most recently studied and worked at Regent College. He moved to Scotland with his wife, Siobhan, and three children. He also enjoys a breadth of fiction, poetry, and music, exploring where he lives, and making good food for friends (both actual and potential).

Elizabeth Dunbar (Reviews Editor) recently received her Master’s in Theology and the Arts from the University of St Andrews. She wrote her dissertation on the positive potential of chaos in the spiritual life. She is interested in the role art can play in interreligious dialogue. She currently lives in St Andrews and spends her time working in a cheese shop, baking bread, and planning her wedding.


Dr. Gavin Hopps (ITIA Director, ex officio Editor) is Senior Lecturer in Literature & Theology and Director of the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts at the University of St Andrews. He has been involved in ITIA since he came to St Andrews as an RCUK Academic Fellow in 2006. Prior to this, he was a Lecturer in English at the universities of Aachen, Oxford and Canterbury Christ Church and a CRASSH Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge. His research is broadly concerned with theology and the arts, with a particular focus on Romantic literature and contemporary British popular music, though he is also interested in the relationship between theology and modalities of lightness (such as comedy, camp, leisure and play). He has published numerous articles on Romantic writing, a collection of essays on the spectral, the spiritual and the supernatural in Byron, a co-edited collection on Romanticism and Religion, and a monograph on the singer-songwriter Morrissey. He is currently working with Dr Jane Stabler in the School of English on a new edition of the complete poetic works of Byron, a volume in the New Directions in Religion and Literature series, a monograph on the levity of Byron’s Don Juan, and another on popular music and radical wonder, entitled The Kitsch Epiphany.

Regular Contributors

Kevin Antlitz received his M.Div. and his Th.M. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston, MA, while also completing coursework at Harvard Divinity School and Boston College. He is currently working on his PhD in Systematic Theology at Durham University. His research explores how modern Anglican theologies of the Eucharist might developed by attention to theodrama. He currently serves as a pastor at an Anglican church in Washington, D.C. Prior to this post, Kevin was a chaplain at Princeton University for five years and taught at Gordon College as an adjunct professor.