Dr Bethany Robertson

Dr Bethany Robertson


I am a sociologist with expertise in designing and conducting qualitative research in the areas of rural sociology, farming cultures, gender identities & inequalities and human-animal relations. Embedded within this work, I have experience collaborating with policy-makers in food and farming and organising arts-based public engagement activities. 

I contribute to a range of undergraduate and postgraduate taught modules in the School of Sociology & Social Policy across fields such as identities & inequalities and social research methods. I gained Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in 2023.


  • Widening Participation Officer

Research interests

  • Gender, the body and identity
  • Rural studies
  • Sociology of agriculture; farming cultures, identities and inequalities
  • Human-animal relations 
  • Ethnographic and feminist methodologies

I joined the School of Sociology and Social Policy in February 2021 first as a postdoctoral research fellow working on the ESRC funded project ‘Feeding the Nation: Seasonal Migrant Workers and Food Security during the COVID-19 Pandemic.’ The research explores farm labour needs and the experiences of seasonal migrant workers and farmers following international travel restrictions and the post-Brexit immigration system. Most recently in 2022 I completed research alongside Dr Roxana Barbulescu for the Low Pay Commission about the impact of the Accommodation Offset policy on farm employers and workers.

Prior to joining Leeds, I worked on a British Academy funded project at the University of Liverpool which examined the ways farmers engage with social media and how narratives of farming are communicated online. 

I have a PhD in Sociology from the University of York which explores the experiences of women farmers in England to understand the embodiment of farming and the negotiation of gender identities. My thesis is an ethnographic study, comprising of on-farm interviews and observations at agricultural shows.

Throughout my MA in Social Research I developed expertise in human-animal relations by examining university students’ management of a long distance relationship with their pets. This research paved the way for an interest in multi-species methodologies and understanding how interactions with animals shape the work and identities of farmers in my doctoral thesis. 

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Sociology
  • MA Social Research
  • BA Sociology

Professional memberships

  • British Sociological Association
  • FHEA

Student education

My interests in student education include academic literacies, the hidden curriculum and inclusive pedagogies. Within SSP, I have co-designed and delivered a programme of sessions as part of an approach to embed academic literacies in the curriculum for L1 undergraduates.

I teach across BA and MA modules in SSP, as well as supervising dissertations. 

At previous universities, I have contributed to modules on social inequalities, youth & resistance, sociological theory, human-animal relations and qualitative methods.

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies