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Personal profile

Research interests

Responsible sport management, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Sport Volunteering, LGBT+ inclusion in sport


Saara completed her undergraduate degree Bachelor of Hospitality Management with International Studies at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in Finland in 2013. Her undergraduate thesis focused on service quality assurance of MOTION!, a regional physical activity promotion project by Lahti Regional Development Agency, LADEC. Having finished her first degree, Saara went on to work in the sport, tourism and leisure industries in Finland, Canada and Norway. She then gained her MSc in Sport Management from Loughborough University in 2017. Her Master’s dissertation focused on the career narratives of women in sport leadership roles conducted in co-operation with the Finnish Coaches Association flagship project 'Women Taking Responsibility in Coaching'. 

She joined Northumbria University in 2017 as a Graduate Tutor and moved to a Lecturer role in 2023 upon the successful completion of her part-time PhD study programme. Her PhD thesis focused on (i) the experiences and meaning of volunteering for LGBT+ volunteers in sport (ii) how LGBT+ volunteers engage in identity work through construction volunteer personas and (iii) how LGBT+ volunteers influence the level of inclusion through diversity work.

Her responsibilities include teaching on the Sport Foundation Year (FY) and undergraduate (UG) BSc Sport Management programmes, personal tutoring as well as supervising final year UG research projects.

Saara is currently serving as Secretary for the Sports Volunteering Research Network UK where her responsibilities include internal and external communications, social media content production and event planning.

Education/Academic qualification

Sport Management, PhD, Is there commonality to difference? Topical life histories of sexually diverse volunteers in sport, Northumbria University

1 Oct 201722 Jun 2023

Award Date: 22 Jun 2023

Education, Other Qualification, Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP), Northumbria University

Award Date: 11 Jun 2021

Sport Management, MSc, Loughborough University

Sept 2016Dec 2017

Award Date: 18 Dec 2017

BHM With International Studies, Haaga-Helia

1 Aug 201023 Dec 2013

Award Date: 23 Dec 2013


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