Dr. Stefan Lawrence was born in Walsall, West Midlands, to parents of both English and Italian/ Sicilian ancestry, and grew up in Burntwood, a district in the cathedral city of Lichfield, the birth place of Samuel Johnson and Erasmus Darwin. After failing to make the grade as a professional footballer, he endeavoured to carve a living out of his love for sport and accepted an offer to study BA (hons) Sport and Recreation Development at Leeds Metropolitan University. It was while here, between the years of 2004 and 2007, that his interest in sport became less about its physicality and performance dimensions and more about its socio-cultural value and political applications. After gaining a first-class honours degree, as well as the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award, he then went on to read for a MA in Sociology at the historical home of esteemed research centre, Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, at the University of Birmingham. It was here, while gaining a Masters degree with distinction, he was encouraged by his supervisor and mentor Professor Mairtin Mac an Ghaill to read for a PhD. Consequentially, in November 2009, after being offered a fully funded PhD bursary at Leeds Metropolitan University, he began work on a PhD, which centred around issues of racialisations, racisms, masculinities, whiteness and media, under Professors Kevin Hylton and Jonathan Long. He successfully defended his thesis in April 2013.
Currently, Stefan is Senior Lecturer in Sociology of Sport at Newman University, Birmingham. Before taking up this role, he was Senior Lecturer in Football Studies at Southampton Solent University and also worked in various capacities at Leeds Metropolitan University as a Qualitative Research Assistant, Associate Lecturer in Socio-Cultural Aspects of Sport and Sport Development and Lecturer in Entertainment and Leisure Management. He has been invited to speak at a variety of different institutions across the UK and internationally.
Stefan’s research interests and areas of expertise are in ‘race’, racialisation(s) and racism(s) in sport and leisure, discourses of masculinities in popular culture, Critical Race Theory, post-structuralism and critical media studies.
As well as developing a strong research portfolio, Stefan is currently a member of Leisure Studies Association’s executive committee (Digital Communications), Runnymede Trust (Emerging Academic Forum Member), Lawrie McMenemy Centre for Football Research (Consultant) and Hampshire FA’s Inclusion and Advisory Group. Stefan’s professional networks, therefore, span a number of different industries, enabling him to impact and influence a variety of key stakeholders interested and invested in sport, leisure and social justice.