Rhianna Garrett

Pronouns: She/her
  • Doctoral Researcher

Rhianna is a doctoral researcher at Loughborough University, investigating the underrepresented of racialised minority academic staff in UK higher education, focusing on the career trajectories and imagined futures of racialised minority PhDs and early career researchers. In addition to her research, Rhianna is the founder and chair of the Education Incubator project Active Together Exeter, with the University of Exeter. Prior to starting her research at Loughborough, Rhianna holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Master of Arts in Technology, Creativity, and Thinking in Education at the University of Exeter.

She has worked as a consultant with various institutions and organisations nationally and internationally on EDI strategies, workshops, presentations, and conferences. She is currently a member of the Critical Mixed Race Studies global caucus, and is the EDI Officer for the Geographies of Education Royal Geographical Society Research Group committee.

Key interests:

  • Feminist geographies
  • Geographies of education
  • Racial geographies
  • Career geographies
  • PhD and early career researchers
  • “Mixed race” identities
  • Decolonisation
  • Transnational feminism
  • Gamification, engagement, and collaboration in education theory
  • Creative methods

Career trajectories of racialised minority PhDs and early career researchers in UK higher education

PGR Supervisors: Dr Sophie Cranston, Dr Adrian Leguina and Dr James Esson

Rhianna’s research investigates the underrepresentation of racialised minority staff, focusing on the career trajectories and imagined futures of racialised minority PhDs and early career researchers. This includes highlighting how race and racism influences staff and student experiences in UK higher education and organisational structures, and how academic career paths, practices, and norms are shaped by ecological whiteness. Her thesis theoretically explores Critical (Mixed) Race Theory, Intersectional Feminism, and Organisational Theory, to better understand how intersectional identities and space interact and form career trajectories into and out of academia. The thesis adopts a mixed method approach, utilising qualitative interviews and quantitative survey methods, and utilises poetry as analysis method.

Her academic research interests span beyond the boundaries of the thesis. She explores how “mixed race” identities are perceived and discussed nationally and internationally depending on space and place, highlighting identities that sit in-between identity categories. Rhianna has also previously combined gamification and education learning theories to form new methods of engaging staff and students in social justice action and collaboration. Her research has taken an international interest, working alongside the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) on quantitative methods, Ohio State University on “mixed race” identities, and Södertörn University, Sweden on transnational feminism. 

Rhianna is part of a new centre of doctoral training (CDT) in the school of Social Science and Humanities. The CITHEI CDT focuses on Unequal Academic Citizenship: Opportunities and Barriers to Participation and Inclusion of Cultural Diversity and Intersecting Identities in Higher Education. The overall aim is to examine cultures of equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in British universities that are pivotal to wider society. British universities are drivers of innovation, educators of future professionals, and multipliers of public EDI cultures. The CITHEI CDT’s core PhD projects therefore analyse the opportunities and barriers for culturally and socially diverse students, staff, and alumni across academic disciplines and services.


CITHEI Centre of Doctoral Training website: https://www.lboro.ac.uk/schools/social-sciences-humanities/research/genders-and-identities/cithei-cdt/

Garrett, R. (2024). “I’m not white: Counter-stories of “mixed race” women navigating PhDs in UK higher education. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, p.1-15. DOI 10.1108/EDI-03-2023-0097

Martinez, A. D., Adelaine, A., Garrett, R., Khan, I. (2023). Loughborough University Freedom School Pilot 2022: Summary Report. Loughborough University. [Access here]

Garrett, R. (18 Jan 2023). How do we really create inclusive spaces for BAME staff and students? WONKHE. https://wonkhe.com/blogs/how-do-we-really-create-inclusive-spaces-for-bame-staff-and-students/