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Dr Mary Laing



Human Geography PhD, Loughborough University

Human Geography MA, Manchester University

Human Geography BA, Manchester University 


Mary joined the Department of Sociology in September 2022, as a Lecturer in Sociology. Before this she worked at Northumbria University as a Senior Lecturer in Criminology for 12 years. 

Mary is a collaborative and interdisciplinary researcher focusing on sex work and the sex industry, she researches non-heteronormative and queer sex work, sex work and technologies, academic experiences of researching the sex industry, safety and violence, participatory methods and human rights.

Mary has worked with a wide range of stakeholders, and is a founding board member, ex-vice chair and current academic trustee of National Ugly Mugs (NUM), an award-winning and internationally known sex worker safety organisation.

Contact details

Dr Mary Laing
Department of Sociology
University of York
YO10 5GD


Selected publications

Laing, M. Cook, I. R. Baker, T. and Calder-Dawe, O. (2022) “Maybe I’m a quiet activist”: Sex work scholars and negotiations of ‘minor’ academic activism. Sexualities doi: 10.1177/13634607211068690.

Graham, L. Holt, V. Laing, M. (2022) Understanding the law’s relationship to sex work: Introduction to ‘Sex and the law: does the law matter?’ International Journal of Gender, Sexuality and Law 2 (1) pp: 1-18

Swords, J. Laing, M. and Cook, I. R. (2021) Platforms, sex work and their interconnectedness. Sexualities, doi: 10.1177/13634607211023013 

McMenzie, L. Cook, I and Laing, M. (2019) Criminological policy mobilities and sex work: understanding the movement of the ‘Swedish model’ to Northern Ireland British Journal of Criminology 59 (5) pp: 1199-1216.

Strohmayer, A. Clamen, J. and Laing, M. (2019) Technologies for social justice: lessons from sex workers on the front lines CHI ’19 Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Paper was awarded a prestigious honourable mention.