Professor Cara Aitchison
Professor Cara Aitchison is President and Vice-chancellor of Cardiff Metropolitan University. She was previously Vice-chancellor of the University of St Mark & St John in Plymouth (2013-16), Head of Moray House School of Education and Chair in Social and Environmental Justice at Edinburgh University (2010-13), Dean of the faculty of education and sport at the University of Bedfordshire (2008-10), Professor in human geography and Director of the centre for leisure, tourism and society at UWE Bristol (2003-08) and held earlier posts at the University of Gloucestershire (1997-2003) and two London institutions (1988-1997).
Professor Aitchison’s research is underpinned by the disciplines of geography, sociology and political economy and has led to new theoretical perspectives in leisure, tourism and gender studies and new policy impacts in rural planning, cultural strategy, disability leisure, tourism development and sport management. With 10 books and over 200 other research outputs, she is most widely known for her work on identity, inclusion and cultural economy.
Professor Aitchison is a council member of the Academy of Social Sciences (elected AcSS Fellow in 2003), governance and advisory board member of the Arab European Leadership Education Network, associate editor of Annals of Tourism Research, member of the Economic and Social Research Council peer review college, senior fellow of the World Leisure Academy, fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
She was previously chair of the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) sub-panel for sport and exercise sciences, leisure and tourism, chair of the UN-affiliated World Leisure Commission on Women and Gender (2002-08) and chair of the UK Leisure Studies Association (2001-04). She has also served as a board member of Askel Veur Academies Umbrella Company for 50 schools in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (2015-16), Plymouth Culture (2014-16) and Plymouth Area Business Council (2013-16) and was a member of the Scottish government’s commission on the delivery of rural education (2011-13), the Arts and Humanities Research Council peer review college (2003-06) and the editorial boards of: Contemporary Social Science; Culture, Sport and Society; Equality, Diversity and Inclusion; Journal of Leisure, Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Education; Leisure Studies; and the Journal of Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise.
Professor Aitchison holds an Honorary Professorship in the department of health at the University of Bath, has an MA (Hons) degree in geography (Edinburgh, 1987), an MA in gender and society (Middlesex, 1993), a PhD titled ‘gender, power and knowledge’ (Bristol, 1999), a postgraduate qualification in recreation and leisure practice (CNAA, 1988) and a teaching qualification (Greenwich, 1990).