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Dr Aarti Ratna PhD

Associate Professor

Faculty of Sport, Health and Social Sciences


Aarti completed her doctorate in 2008 at the University of Brighton. After working in Leeds for 12 years, she commenced a new post of Associate Professor of Sociology at Solent University in April 2019.

Aarti makes a significant contribution to the sport, leisure and sociological community through the following roles:

  • Convener of the Leisure Studies Editorial Board
  • Associate Editor for the journal Palgrave Communications (handling manager in the sociology team)
  • Editorial Board Member of the Palgrave book series New Femininities in Digital, Physical and Sporting Cultures
  • Editorial Board Member for the journal Sociology of Sport
  • Co-Chair of the BSA Sport Study Group

At Solent, she is the founding Chair of the Leisure Studies Research Group (LSG). Under her leadership, the team have already been successful in their application to host the next Leisure Studies Association annual conference (July 2021), entitled Leisure Identities, Health and Wellbeing.

Aarti is a passionate advocate of equity in the workplace and, linked to her previous role as Co-Chair of the Race Equality Forum at Leeds Beckett University, is currently a member of the BAME network at Solent University.

Aarti works in close partnership with the Community Cougars Foundation (West Yorkshire, UK), particularly the director, Miss Saima Hussain (who is the first and only South Asian woman to play rugby league for the national team). Through the Foundation's collaborations, they develop funding bids, community-led projects and evaluations, focusing upon young people from a range of marginalised and vulnerable backgrounds, to include and empower them through carefully planned sport and leisure programmes.

Aarti has previously served as a racial equality tutor and consultant at the English Football Association (2005-08). She has also been a research consultant at other organisations, including Sport Equals, Leeds United Football Club, the Middlesex County Football Association, St Lukes Care, the Anti-Social Behavioural Unit (Leeds), the London Sports Forum, and Leeds City Council.

Taught courses

Further information

Industry experience

Aarti was a racial equality tutor and consultant at the English Football Association (2005-8). She has also been a research consultant at other organisations including Sporting Equals, Leeds United Football Club, the Middlesex County Football Association, St Lukes Care, the Anti-Social Behavioural Unit (Leeds), the London Sports Forum and Leeds City Council.

Teaching experience

Aarti has a long history of teaching on various leisure, culture and sport courses at Leeds Beckett University as well as serving as a Principal Lecturer of Learning and Teaching at the Carnegie Faculty of Sport and Education.

Her current teaching includes convening the following units: Introduction to Studying Sociology, Political Ideologies, Sociology of the Life Course, and Equity and Diversity in the Workplace. Her optional specialisms include Race and Ethnicity in Multicultural Britain and Refugee and Migration Studies.

Aarti is currently supervising five PhD students in the areas of refugee and asylum studies; race, ethnicity and migration; transnational/ postcolonial feminism; queer studies; and complex assemblages of power through the contexts of popular culture, leisure, sport, and everyday life.

Please contact Aarti if you are interested in undertaking a PhD or postdoctoral studies under her supervision.

Research interests

Aarti is a sociologist of race, ethnicity, migration, and diaspora studies. She is well-known for her transnational feminist and anti-racist approaches to the study of gender, national belonging, popular culture, leisure, and sport.

Aarti has recently secured two external funding bids:

  • British Academy (small grant) entitled ‘Black Women Pioneers: Herstories of Leadership in the Sporting Workplace’ (Co-Investigator).
  • Awards for All (National Lottery Funding) ‘Rising Stars: South Asian Girls and Playing Sport’ (written for Community Cougars Foundation).

A new area of research for Aarti has included working with the Community Cougars Foundation, to address the prevention of Serious Organised Crime through a rugby league and educational intervention programme (funded by the UK Home Office). Her interest in this work specifically lies in supporting the lives, needs and pleasures of British Asian young people (men and women).

Recent publications


  • Ratna, A. and Samie, S.F. (Eds.) (2017) Sport, Race and Gender: The politics of ethnic ‘other’ girls and women, London: Routledge.
  • Ratna, A. and Lashua, B. (Eds.) (2011) Community and Inclusion in Leisure Research and Sport Development, Eastbourne: Leisure Studies Association.

Special issues

Journal articles

  • Ratna, A. (2019) ‘Hierarchical Assemblages of Citizenship and Belonging: The Pedestrian Speech Acts of Gujarati Indian Walkers’, Sociology, DOI:
  • Thangaraj, S., Ratna, A., Burdsey, D. and Rand, E. (2018) ‘Racing National Populist Politics’, Leisure Studies, DOI:
  • Ratna, A. (2018) ‘Not just merely different: Travelling feminist theories, post-feminism, and the racialized politics of women of color’, Sociology of Sport Journal, Special Issue. DOI:
  • Ratna, A., Kola, A. and Dashper, K. (2017) ‘Exploring the identities of Indo-Muslims in South Africa: On the hunt for national and social belonging’, Annals of Leisure Research.
  • Ratna, A. (2017) ‘Walking to and from “home”: British Asian first generation citizens, translocal identities and belonging’, Leisure Studies, access at
  • Ratna, A., Lawrence, S., and Partington, J. (2015) ‘Getting Inside the Wicket: strategies for the social inclusion of local, British Pakistani Muslim cricketers’, Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events, DOI: 10.1080/19407963.2015.1065267
  • Ratna, A. (2014) ‘“Who are ya?” The National Identities and Belongings of British Asian Football Fans’, Patterns of Prejudice: 48:3: 286-308.
  • Ratna, A. (2013) ‘Intersectional Plays of Identity: the experiences of British Asian Female Footballers’, Sociological Research Online,
  • Ratna, A. (2011) ‘“Who wants to make Aloo Gobi when you can Bend It Like Beckham?” British Asian Females and their Racialised Experiences of Gender and Identity in Women’s Football’, Soccer and Society, 12(3): 381-400.
  • Ratna, A. (2010) ‘Taking the Power Back! The Politics of British Asian Female Football Players’, Young,18(2): 117-132.
  • Watson, B., and Ratna, A. (2011) ‘Bollywood in the Park: Shifting Uses and Meanings of Public Leisure Space’ in Leisure/Losir, Journal of the Canadian Association of Leisure Studies, Special Issue Leisure, Space and Social Change, 35(1): 71-85.

Book chapters

  • Ratna, A., Samie, S., Jamieson, K. and Thangaraj, S. (2018) ‘Learning Lessons from the Feminisms of Ethnic ‘Others’ in L. Mansfield, J. Caudwell, B. Watson, and B. Wheaton (Eds.) Handbook of Feminisms in Sport, Leisure and PE., Palgrave MacMillan: 627-648.
  • Ratna, A. (2017) ‘Black Women, Black Voices: The contribution of a Spivakian and Black Feminist Analysis to Studies of Sport and Leisure’ in J. Long, T. Fletcher, and B.Watson (eds.) Sport, Leisure and Social Justice: London: Routledge: 153-167
  • Ratna, A. (2014) ‘British Asian Females and Football: Intersections of Identity’ in J. Hargreaves and E. Andersen (eds.) Handbook of Sport, Gender and Sexualities, Oxon; New York: Routledge: 160-168.
  • Ratna, A. (2012) ‘“Who wants to make aloo gobi when you can Bend it like Beckham”: British Asian Females and their Racialised Experiences of Gender and Identity in Women’s Football’ in Caudwell, J. (ed.) Women’s Football in the U.K: Continuing with Gender Analyses, Oxon; New York: Routledge: 60-79
  • Ratna, A. (2011) ‘“Flying the Flag for England?” Multiculturalism, National Identity and the Social Belongings of British Asian Female Football Players’ in D. Burdsey (ed.) New Perspectives on Football and Race, London: Routledge: 117-130.
  • Long, J., Hylton, K., Lewis, H., Ratna, A., and Spracklen, K. (2011) ‘Spaces for Inclusion? The Construction of Sport and Leisure Spaces for Migrant Communities’ in A. Ratna and B. Lashua (eds.) Community and Inclusion in Leisure Research and Sport Development, Eastbourne: Leisure Studies Association: 33-53.
  • Ratna, A (2009) ‘“Off with their headscarves, on with their football kits?” Unveiling myths and exploring the identities of British-Muslim female footballers’ in S. Wagg and P. Bramham (eds.) Lucky Leeds: Sport, Leisure and Culture in a Postmodern Northern City, Aldershot: Ashgate Press: 171-188.
  • Ratna, A. (2008) ‘A “Fair Game?”: British Asian Females’ Experiences of Racism in Women’s Football’ in J. Magee, J. Caudwell, K. Liston and S. Scraton (eds.) Women, Football and Europe: Histories, Equity and Experiences, Oxford, UK: Meyer and Meyer Sport: 77-96.


  • Ratna, A. (2017) ‘No racism here then? Wo/men’s football in the U.K. and the case of Eniola Aluko’, Media Diversified, Writers of Color. (28 October).


  • 2018 Nominated University 'Unsung Hero'
  • 2016 Nominated University Inspirational Teacher

  • 2016 Nominated University Course Team of the Year (Sport Development)

  • 2016 Certified Aurora Females in Leadership Award

  • 2016 Certified HEA Senior Fellowship

  • 2013 Nominated University Course Team of the Year (Sport, Leisure and Culture)

  • 2013 Nominated University Course Leader of the Year (Sport, Leisure and Culture)

  • 2010 Certified University Research Supervisor’s Training Award (12-month course)

Work in progress

Aarti is currently working on developing a number of research council grants and funded projects:

  • With the Community Cougars Foundation, collaborative projects addressing serious organised crime (SOC) and the lives of British Asian young people are being further developed. Two bids are currently in-progress: Home Office SOC funds, and a National Lottery Community Funding bid.
  • As Co-I, Aarti is also currently working on an AHRC grant about hate crime and football.
  • With a multi-disciplinary team of colleagues at Solent, to extend past work about British Asian women, their health and leisure lives, she is working on a number of external grants.

Other projects in-progress include using physical activity to support South Asian forced migrant women, and exploring the leisure lives of diasporic queer South Asian groups of people.