Inaugural Lectures

Professor Thomas Fletcher: Becoming a professor (by accident)

  • 18.00 - 19.00
  • 15 May 2024
  • Lecture Theatre 1, Carnegie School of Sport, Headingley Campus, LS6 3QS
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Professor Thomas Fletcher: Becoming a professor (by accident)
In his inaugural professorial lecture, Professor Thomas Fletcher will navigate through the various ‘accidents’ that have influenced his academic career to date.

These include choosing a course because the university offered ensuite student rooms, enrolling on a masters after being rejected to train as a PE teacher, applying for an academic post in a subject he knew nothing about, and many more.

Professor Thomas Fletcher will examine various ‘accidental’ ways in which his work has been used by, and impacted, those outside of academia. He does this against a backdrop of ambiguous privilege; an idea he continues to grapple with.

This lecture is part of Leeds Beckett University's inaugural professional lecture series.

Professor Thomas Fletcher

Professor | School of Events, Tourism and Hospitality Management

Professor Fletcher (Tom) is an academic chameleon. He originates from the working-class mining town of Barnsley in South Yorkshire. He fell in love with sport – cricket especially – sat on his grandad’s knee. He has spent his leisure and working lives immersed in sport ever since.

As a student of Barnsley College in the early 2000s, if you were interested in sport, the only known career path was to become a PE teacher. This was a path Tom pursued with passion. As an undergraduate, he studied a largely sports science degree at the University of Durham. He quickly realised this was not for him and, having been inspired by a ridiculously cool Australian sociologist of sport, adopted a different intellectual path, studying a masters in the sociology of sport at Sheffield Hallam. Here, he honed his theoretical skills, being further inspired to apply for a PhD at Leeds Metropolitan (now Beckett) University. He has been here for over 15 years.

Tom believes strongly in the transformative potential and impact of academic research on wider society. He has conducted projects for a number for high-profile bodies, including the Economic and Social Research Council, Arts and Humanities Research Council, Higher Education Academy, Sport Wales, England and Wales Cricket Board, UK Sport, Doncaster Council, and Yorkshire Cricket Foundation.

While navigating the competing demands of academia, two aspects of Tom’s work have remained ever-present: his love for cricket – which inspired his academic journey - and love for his family, his children especially, who remind him that we must always strive to make sport and society fairer and more inclusive. 

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