Skip to content

Toggle service links

You are here

  1. Home
  2. Dr Stefanie Sinclair

Dr Stefanie Sinclair

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am a Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies and the Director of FASSTEST (FASS Teaching Excellence and Scholarship of Teaching) at the Open University's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. FASSTEST is a centre that promotes and supports innovation and scholarship in open and distance teaching and learning in the Arts and Social Sciences. I am also the Chair of the OU's university-wide Scholarship Steering Group.

I studied Protestant Theology and English Language and Literature at Heidelberg University in Germany and got ‘hooked’ on Religious Studies when I spent a semester as a visiting student at the University of Stirling. I completed my post-graduate studies, including an MA in 'Religion, Culture and Society' and a PhD in Religious Studies, at Lancaster University. I joined the Open University's Arts Faculty as a lecturer in Religious Studies at Walton Hall in 2009, but can also draw on 16 years of experience of working as an OU tutor (Associate Lecturer) in the North West of England. Previous employment include my role as Research Associate at the Department of Applied Social Science at Lancaster University. I have also been a Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Chester and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Turin, Italy. 

Together with my colleague Graham Harvey, I acted as academic consultant on the BBC/ OU co-produced TV series ‘Divine Women’, first broadcast on BBC 2 in April 2012. 

In 2017 I was awarded the first BASR Teaching and Learning Fellowship by the British Association of the Study of Religions in recognition of my contribution to the innovation and transformation of the student learning experience in the study of religions. In 2019 I was shortlisted for the OU Research Excellence Award for Outstanding Impact on Teaching & Learning, Curriculum and Students.




Tel: 01908 654710




Research interests

I have a special research interest in religion & identity (gender and national identities in particular) and education.

Current research interests include

  • Religion and gender
  • Religion, politics and national identity 
  • Religion and education
  • Religion and social history
  • Representations of Islam in party-political discourses (part. in Germany and the UK)
  • Political discourses of religious toleration and peace
  • The politics of memory
  • Gender, place and leadership in religious communities 
  • Student engagement, creativity and assessment in Higher Education
  • Multisensory learning in Higher Education in distance and blended learning settings


I currently work as a researcher on the RETOPEA 'Religious Toleration and Peace' project (2018-22), funded by the European Research Council as part of the European Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant Agreement No. 770309). This project aims to find out more about young people’s attitudes towards religious diversity and develop pedagogic approaches promoting active engagement with religious history. RETOPEA involves work in schools, museums and youth clubs in 8 countries across Europe with the following  partner institutions: KU Leuven (Belgium), The Open University (UK), Helsingin Yliopisto (Finland), Macedonian Centre for International Co-operation and Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje (Macedonia), University of Granada (Spain), Leibniz Institut für Europäische Geschichte (Germany), University of Warsaw (Poland), University of Tartu (Estonia), Le Foyer vzw (Belgium) and the Euro-Arab Management School (Spain). (see:



Teaching interests

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) and have been involved as a mentor in the OU's APPLAUD/ HEA accreditation scheme. Since 2018, I have been the Teaching and Learning rep on the exec board for the British Association of the Study of Religions (BASR).

I have been involved in the following projects exploring the scholarship of teaching and learning:

1) 'Creativity, criticality and engaging the senses in higher education': using the OpenStudio Platform and digital photography (co-led with John Maiden)

2) ‘Assessing oral presentations in distance learning’ (funded by a HEA Individual Teaching Development Grant)

3) 'Reflective Assessment Tasks in Access Modules’ (co-led with John Butcher, Dep. Director Access and Curriculum, Centre for Inclusion and Curriculum Partnerships, and funded by the New Models of Assessment and Tuition Scholarship Fund)

4) ‘The language of assessment: exploring best practice on Access courses to prepare tentative learners to succeed’ (with CICP and all Access chairs, funded by the OU Assessment Programme Scholarship fund)

Throughout my career at the OU, I have been involved in the maintenance and development of a wide range of  modules. I was Module Team Chair of  AA100 'The Arts Past and Present' (2015-18), A332 'Why is religion controversial?' (2014-17), Y031, the Arts and Languages Access Module (2012-15) and Y180 'Making sense of the Arts' (2012 & 2014). Currently I am a the Religious Studies rep on the module team for A111 'Discovering the Arts Past and Present'. 




Academic journal articles:

Sinclair, S. and Maiden, J. (2020) 'Take a picture of religion: Engaging students in the multisensory study of lived religion', JBASR (Journal of the British Association for the Study of Religions), Vol. 22 (Visualising Cultures), pp. 122-37. Available at:

Sinclair, S. (2019) 'Discourses of extremism and British values: The politics of the Trojan Horse', Implict Religion: Journal of the Critical Study of Religion, Vol. 21 (4), pp. 338-360. DOI: 10.1558/imre.38965 

Sinclair, S. (2016) ‘The introduction and refinement of the assessment of digitally recorded oral presentations’, Open Learning: The Journal of Open and Distance Learning, Vol. 31 (2), Special issue on Assessment in Open, Distance and e-Learning: Lessons from Practice, pp. 163-175. DOI 10.1080/02680513.2016.1190640 

Sinclair, S. (2013) ‘Digital Literacy in Religious Studies’ in DISKUS: The Journal of the British Association for the Study of Religion (BASR), Vol. 14,Special Teaching and Learning Edition, pp. 37-54, [Online] Available from

Sinclair. S. (2013) ‘More than just a piece of cloth: The German ‘headscarf’ debate’, Implicit Religion, Vol. 16 (4), Special Issue on ‘Veiling’, pp. 483-491.

Sinclair, S. (2013) ‘Regina Jonas: Forgetting and Remembering the first female rabbi’, Religion, Vol. 43 (4), pp. 541-563.

Sinclair, S. (2012) ‘National identity and the politics of the ‘headscarf debate’ in Germany’, Culture and Religion, Vol. 13 (1), pp. 19-39.

Sinclair, S. (2011), ‘Blended Learning and Tuition in Religious Studies: An Open University Perspective’, Discourse, Vol. 10 (3), [Online] Available from


Chapters in edited volumes:

Sinclair, S. (2019) 'Memory and identity: Female leadership and the legacy of Rabbi Regina Jonas' in Hartmut Bomhoff, Denise L. Eger, Kathy Ehrensperger and Walter Homolka (eds.) Gender and Religious Leadership: Women Rabbis, Pastors and Ministers, Lexington Books, pp. 163-179. 

Sinclair, S. (2018) 'Creativity, criticality and engaging the senses: Creating online opportunities for multisensory approaches to learning and assessment in higher education’ in Jacqueline Baxter, George Callaghan and Jean McAvoy (eds.) Creativity and Critique in Online Learning: Exploring and Examining Innovations in Online Pedagogy, Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 103-122.

Sinclair, S. (2018) ‘The introduction and refinement of the assessment of digitally recorded oral presentations’, in Jessica Evans, Sally Jordan and Freda Wolfenden (eds.) Assessment in Open, Distance and e-Learning: Lessons from Practice, Routledge.

Maiden, J. and Sinclair, S. (2018) ‘Personalised and multi-sensory approaches to engaging students at a distance: A case study from Religious Studies’ in Josep M. Duart and András Szűcs (eds) Towards Personalized Guidance and Support for Learning, Proceedings of the 10th European Distance and E-Learning Network Research Workshop, EDEN, Barcelona, pp. 261-269.[Online] Available at . ISBN 978-615-5511-25-7

Butcher, John, Sinclair, Stefanie and Clarke, Anactoria (2015) 'The challenge of assessing reflection: The Open University's Access programme', in Wendy Miller, Jane Collings and Pauline Kneale (eds.) Inclusive Assessment, PedRIO Paper 7, Pedagogic Research Institute and Observatory (PedRIO), Plymouth, pp. 25-29. Available from:

Sinclair, Stefanie (2014) ‘Assessing oral presentations in open and distance learning’, in Challenges for Research into Open & Distance Learning: Doing things better – doing better things, A. M. Teixera and A. Szűcs (eds.), European Distance and E-Learning Network (EDEN), Oxford, pp.  203-212. ISBN 978-615-5511-00-4


OU module materials:

Sinclair, S. (2019) 'Mary, the mother of Jesus' in A111 Discovering the Arts Past and Present, Block 1 Reputations.

Sinclair, S. (2017) 'Exploring mosques' in A227 Exploring Religion: Places, John Wolffe (ed.), Milton Keynes: The Open Unviersity, pp. 57-106.

Sinclair, S. (2013) ‘Remembering the first female rabbi: Regina Jonas’ in A332 Why is Religion Controversial? Controversial Figures, Edwina Newman (ed.), Milton Keynes: The Open University, pp. 47-97.

Sinclair, S. (2013) ‘Veiling’ in A332 Why Is Religion Controversial? Controversial Practices, Hugh Beattie (ed.), Milton Keynes: The Open University, pp. 47-89.

Sinclair, S. (2013) 'Mystery Zebras in Hackney' Y031 Arts and Languages Access Module: Block 3 Visions of Protest, Milton Keynes, The Open University.

Sinclair, S. with Marion Bowman (2013) 'Shiva as Nataraja in the St. Mungo's Museum of Religious Life and Art' Y031 Arts and Languages Access Module: Block 3 Visions of Protest, Milton Keynes, The Open University.

Sinclair, S. with contributions from Marion Bowman (2006) A217 Introducing Religions: Christianity, Milton Keynes: The Open University, 178pp.

Perryman, L.-A. with A. Duensing and S. Sinclair (2013) 'Picasso's Guernica' Y031 Arts and Languages Access Module: Block 3 Visions of Protest, Milton Keynes, The Open University.


Book reviews:

Sinclair, Stefanie (2012) ‘John R. Bowen. Blaming Islam. Cambridge, Mass./ London, MIT Press, 2012’ in Culture and Religion Vol. 13 (4), pp. 495-497.

Sinclair, Stefanie (2011) ‘Leila Ahmed.  A Quiet Revolution: The Veil’s Resurgence from the Middle East to America, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 2011’ in Culture and Religion Vol. 12 (4), pp. 501-503.

Sinclair, Stefanie (2011) ‘L. Woodhead, H. Kawanami and C. Partridge (eds.) Religions in the Modern World: Traditions and Transformations, 2nd ed., London and New York, Routledge, 2009’ in Culture and Religion, Vol. 12 (1), pp. 107-109.

Lotz , Stefanie (2000), ‘Gregg Kvistad, The Rise and Demise of German Statism: Loyalty and Political membership, Berghahn Books, New York/ Oxford, 1999’, in  European History Quarterly, Vol. 30 (2), pp. 273-276


Project reports:

Sinclair, Stefanie    with L. Clennell, J. Heap, J. Wiggans, J. Austin, M. Lancaster and S. Brierley (2003) The Open Event as a Conversion Tool for New Enquirers, Manchester: The Open University in the North West.

Simmill-Binning, Cheryl, Pearson, J. and Sinclair, S. (2011) Evaluation of the North West Regional PREVENT Education Team Schools Resources Pack, Lancaster University and University of Central Lancashire.

Wilson, Alison and Sinclair, Stefanie (2011) Confidential Inquiry into Drug-Related Deaths in Lancashire 2009/10, Lancaster University, Applied Social Science Unit for Research and Evaluation (ASSURE).



Sinclair, S. (2018) 'Fostering creativity in higher education: The case for Religious Studies', BASR Bulletin, 132, May, pp. 9-11. [Available online at:  ]

Sinclair, S. (2014) 'OpenLearn: Visions of protest: Graffiti', The Open University [Online] Available at: .

Sinclair, S. (2013) 'OpenLearn: Veiling', The Open University [Online] Available at:

Sinclair, S. (2012) ‘OpenLearn: What’s the big deal about virginity?’, The Open University. [Online] Available at:

Sinclair, S. and Harvey, G. (2012) Divine Women, The Open University. (Print item associated with the BBC/OU co-produced TV series ‘Divine Women’).

The Open University (2013) ‘Regina Jonas: the first female rabbi’ iTunesU collection (also available on Open Learn from

The Open University (2013) ‘Veiling: Tradition, Identity and Fashion’ iTunesU collection (also available on OpenLearn from

See Open Research Online for further details of Stefanie Sinclair’s research publications.

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Contemporary Religion in Historical Perspective Research GroupGroupFaculty of Arts
Cross-Cultural Identities Research GroupGroupFaculty of Arts