Professor Niki Bolton

Department: Marketing and Strategy

Office/Location: O1.45, Ogmore Building, Cardiff School of Management, Llandaff Campus

Telephone: +44 (0)2920 416484


Staff Overview

​Niki is Head of Department for Marketing and Strategy in the Cardiff School of Management at Cardiff Metropolitan University. She supports a team of dedicated academics who combine their passion for learning and teaching alongside a drive to develop research and innovation. The department is multi-disciplinary and works collaboratively drawing on industry expertise and practitioner experience. The department works closely with professional bodies including the CMI and CIM.

She maintains strong industry links and is a Senior Fellow of the HEA. Between 2016-19 Niki worked with the Quality Enhancement Directorate, undertaking projects with various transnational education (TNE) providers and partners. This included a partnership project with the British Council, the Quality Assurance Agency, and the National Economics University (NEU) in Hanoi, Vietnam where she was the academic lead for, ‘Fostering a Culture of Quality at NEU.’

Prior to this she worked for over ten years with the Cardiff School of Sport where she designed and led the MSc in Sport Management and Leadership as Programme Director (2008-2015). She also held several other roles including subject lead for sport development and management, discipline director co-ordinator and strategy and external engagement co-ordinator.

Before joining higher education, Niki had senior industry experience, working for various public organisations, and taking the lead on strategy and policy development.

Niki is an experienced academic and active researcher who is available for postgraduate supervision. She is particularly interested in the areas of strategy, policy/public policy, governance and partnerships and anything to do with sport and physical activity.


Niki has extensive learning and teaching experience in management and strategy and has a particular interest sport and physical activity. She was Programme Director for the postgraduate programme Sport Management and Leadership in the Cardiff School of Sport. She is particularly interested in the areas of strategy, policy/public policy, governance, and partnerships. She has supervised numerous undergraduate and postgraduate final projects.


Niki is an active researcher, she is particularly interested in the areas of strategy, policy/public policy, governance and partnerships and anything to do with sport and physical activity.

She has undertaken several wide-ranging research evaluations and reviews for Welsh Government and Sport Wales among others. Examples of some evaluations and reviews include: Calls for Action, Young People’s Programme, Free Swimming, Market Segments and the ‘5x60’ Programme.

She is on the editorial board of: Managing Sport and Leisure and Frontiers and is a reviewer for Health Education, International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, Sport in Society.

Niki is an experienced Director of Studies (DoS) and Supervisor of post-graduate research students.

Current Supervisions

  • Hopkins, E. (PhD)
  • Physical activity among dis-engaged young females: a practice base approach.
  • DoS: Bolton, N. Supervisors: Matthews, N. and Brown, D. Company supervisor: Anderson, M. Funded by European Social Fund (KESS). (2018-present).

Kolovou, V. (PhD)

An investigation into collaborative working to improve population level physical activity, health and well-being in Wales – a partnership approach between Sport Wales, Public Health Wales and Natural Resources Wales.
DoS: Bolton, N. Supervisor: Crone, D. Company supervisor: Williams, G. Funded by European Social Fund (KESS). (2019-present).

Walklett, J. (PhD)

Developing systems-based approaches to addressing population levels of physical inactivity.
DoS: Crone, D. Supervisor: Bolton, N. (2019-present).

Howard, L. (Professional Doctorate)

The development, implementation and evaluation of a strategic planning process for NATO Special Operations Headquarters (NSHQ).
DoS: Bolton, N. Supervisor: Whitehead, J.

Breeze, T. (PhD)

A study of Key Stage 3 Music Teachers’ Pedagogical Beliefs in the Context of a New Curriculum for Wales.
DoS: Beauchamp, G. Supervisors: Bolton, N. and McInch, A.

Osborne, S. (PhD)

A critical exploration of the strategic orientation of managers in the UK sport industry.
DoS: Bolton, N. Supervisor: Matthews, N.


Evans, L. (2020) A critical analysis of the role of community sport in encouraging the use of Welsh language beyond the school gate. PhD. DoS: Bolton, N. Supervisor: Jones, C. Funded by Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.

Galdes, M. (2013) Social exclusion and crime: A critical exploration of sport and its role in crime reduction among adults. PhD. DoS: Bolton, N. Supervisor: Davies, G.

Leyshon, A. (2012) Physical activity, extracurricular sport and the ‘5x60’ initiative: Leisure lifestyles and young people in Wales, 2007-2009. PhD. DoS: Bolton, N. Supervisor: Fleming, S. Funded by Sport Wales.

Anderson, M. (2012) The barriers to physical activity participation for the 60+ population in Wales: A critical examination of the Welsh Aseembly Government's Free Swim Initiative. MPhil. DoS: Bolton, N. Supervisor: Davies, G.

Key Publications

Hopkins, E., Bolton, N., Brown, D., Matthews, N. and Anderson, M. (2020) Beyond TTM and ABC: A practice perspective on physical activity promotion for adolescent females from disadvantaged backgrounds, Societies, 10, 80. DOI: 10.3990/soc10040080

Evans, L., Bolton, N., Jones, C. and Iorwerth, H. (2019) ‘Defnyddiwch y Gymraeg;’ Community sport as a vehicle for promoting social inclusion through the use of Welsh, Sport in Society. DOI:10.1080/17430437.2019.1565399

Bolton, N., Martin, S., Grace, C. and Harris, S. (2018) Implementing a theory of change approach to research sport participation programmes targeting ‘hard to reach’ groups, International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 10 (4), 761-777. DOI:10/1080/19406940.2018.1476397

Bryant, A., Bolton, N. and Fleming, S. (2016) Extracurricular Sport and Physical Activity in Welsh Secondary Schools: Leisure Lifestyles and Young People, Journal of Physical Education and Sports Management. DOI:

Lord, R., Bolton, N., Fleming, S. and Anderson, M. (2016) “Researching a segmented market: reflections on telephone interviewing, Management Research Review, 39 (7), 786-802. DOI: 10.1108/MMR-01-2015-0020

Leyshon, A., Bolton, N. and Fleming, S. (2015) “This is awesome miss. It is safe. We don’t do this with any other teacher.” Classroom activities to listen to pupils, Educationalfutures, 7 (1), 56-75.

Anderson, M., Bolton, N., Davies, G. and Fleming, S. (2014) Local Initiative for the 60 plus population, submitted to Managing Leisure. 19:2, 151-165. DOI: 10.1080/13606719.2013.859456

Bolton, N. and Martin, S. (2013) The policy and politics of free swimming, International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, Vol 5, No. 3, 445-463. DOI: 10.1080/19406940.2012.656689

Leyshon, A., Bolton, N., Fleming, S., Hughes, R., Mattingley, R. and Rotchell, J. (2009) Young people’s participation in Extra-Curricular School Sport and Physical Activity: An Analysis of Wales’ ’5x60’ Initiative, 2007-2009. Physical Education Matters, 5 (3): 36.

Bolton, N., Elias, B. & Fleming, S. (2008) The experience of community sport development: a case study of Blaenau Gwent. Managing Leisure, 13, 2, 92-103. DOI: 10.1080/13606710801933446.

Bolton, N., Fleming, S. & Galdes, M. (2007) Physical activity programmes for secondary schools in Wales: Implications from a pilot scheme. Managing Leisure, 12, 74-88.
DOI: 10.1080/13606710601071579.

Bolton, N. & Fleming, S. (2007) Modernising local government: the impact of new political arrangements on Chief Officers for leisure and recreation in Wales. Local Government Studies, 33, 5, 723-742. DOI: 10.1080/03003930701627415.

Bolton, N. and Leach, S. (2002) Strategic planning in local government: a study of organisational impact and effectiveness Local Government Studies 28, 4, 1-21. DOI: 10.1080/714004169.

Other Projects and activities

Niki has extensive board experience including: Board Member, British Gymnastics (2013-2021); Board Member, British Gymnastics Foundation (2013-2021) and previously Institute for Physical Activity and Leisure (now CIMSPA) and Sport Wales (2004-2008).

In 2018/19 she was academic lead for Cardiff Met University on a British Council funded project with the Quality Assurance Agency – ‘Fostering a Culture of Quality’ at the National Economics University, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy.

Senior Fellow, Chartered Institute of Management of Sport and Physical Activity.

External Links