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Professor in Leisure Studies, Leeds Beckett University

Initially trained as a geographer, Jonathan has now been researching in leisure studies for 40 years. Prior to coming to Leeds he was Research Director at the Tourism and Recreation Research Unit and the Centre for Leisure Research in Edinburgh.

The central focus of Jonathan’s research is social justice and change. His experience embraces all stages of the research process from design to dissemination and his research utilises both quantitative and qualitative research techniques. He has extensive experience of managing external contracts having now directed or jointly directed more than 50 projects. Over the years the research has been eclectic. More recently the main foci have been around interventions to improve health using sport and physical activity and issues of 'race' and ethnicity in sport and leisure. The department's work at Leeds has earned an international reputation for its critically constructive analysis of inequalities in sport and leisure and the consequences for society. This engagement with contemporary issues has been welcomed by both academics and policymakers, most evidently in challenging racism in sport.

In the past he has also chaired the management committee of Theatre Workshop (Edinburgh) and been on the marketing and promotion working group for Platform Jazz. He now volunteers with Reading Matters and Leeds Asylum Seekers Support Network.

Jonathan was also a founding member of the Editorial Board of the journal Leisure Studies and has been its Book Reviews Editor and Managing Editor. More recently he has been on the editorial boards of Managing Leisure, the Malaysian Journal of Sport Science and Recreation, and the Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Learned Societies in the Social Sciences and of the Higher Education Association, and was a member of the Accreditation Panel for the Equality Standard for Professional Football Clubs.


  • –present
    Professor in Leisure Studies, Leeds Beckett University