Lecturer who worked to commemorate sex workers murdered in Leeds and Bradford listed for Times Higher Education award

An academic's work to memorialise sex workers murdered in the region has helped earn her a nod for a national education award.

Saturday, 12th September 2020, 11:45 am
Dr Kate Lister, lecturer at Leeds Trinity University

Dr Kate Lister set up a project with students to commemorate the 17 women murdered in Leeds and Bradford between 1978 and 2010 who were working as sex workers at the time.

Among them are women killed by Peter Sutcliffe in the late 1970s and 1980s, as well as Daria Pionko, 21, who was murdered by Lewis Pierre in Leeds in December 2013.

A published author, Dr Lister also works with Leeds-based charity Basis Yorkshire which supports sex workers and survivors of sexual exploitation in the region.

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Dr Kate Lister

The Leeds Trinity University lecturer in Creative and Professional Writing published her book, A Curious History of Sex, in February this year and donated pre-sale profits to the charity.

She has now been shortlisted for the Times Higher Education's Most Innovative Teacher of the Year award.

Dr Lister is also a columnist for inews, and is a specialist in the history of sexuality and depiction of sex workers in literature and culture.

In one project, Dr Lister worked with Basis and 17 students to compile case studies of the last 17 sex workers murdered in West Yorkshire's two biggest cities. Students researched the life of one of the victims in a bid to show the impact of media representations upon social attitudes towards sex work.

Dr Kate Lister

It followed a BBC documentary on Leeds City Council's controversial Managed Approach scheme, where sex workers in the city are able to work without fear of prosecution.

The scheme was subject of a review earlier this year, while a campaign group recently announced it was carrying out a month of protests in the Holbeck area of the city amidst claims from female residents that it jeopardises their safety.

Dr Lister said she was "blown away" to be nominated for the award.

"It’s always been really important to me to show students the real world applications of their studies," she said.

"When the opportunity arose for my students to work with Basis Yorkshire and create an event to remember sex workers who have been killed in Leeds, I knew they would do a wonderful job. Watching them come into their own as writers and researchers was wonderful. Being nominated for an award on top of that is just incredible.”

The awards will take place virtually on November 26.