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Personal profile


Dr Kate Lister is a lecturer in the School of Arts and Communication at Leeds Trinity University. Kate primarily researches the literary history of sex work and curates the online research project, Whores of Yore, an interdisciplinary digital archive for the study of historical sexuality. Kate has also published in the medical humanities, material culture, Victorian studies and Neo-Medievalism. She regularly writes about the history of sexuality for inews, Vice, and the Wellcome Trust. Kate won the Sexual Freedom Publicist of the Year Award in 2017.

Research interests

 My primary research interest is the history of sexuality, with a particular focus on the figure of the sex worker. I have published in the field of Victorian studies and the medical humanities in this area. I am passionate about using applied literary studies, and currently work with several charities, women’s rights organisations, and campaign groups where I use historical research to contextualise current debates around sex work law. I am a board member of the sex work research hub. 

I have formed external research collaborations with the Leeds-based charity, Basis Yorkshire (a charity that supports sex workers in the city of Leeds), and have worked with them on a number of projects.

I also research and apply the digital humanties to my own work. I have designed, coded and built the online interdisciplinary digital media project, Whores of Yore (www.thewhoresofyore.com). This is a public engagement project that works to make research on sexuality and the history of sex work accessible to the general public online by utilising social media. The Twitter feed has (at the time of writing) 190,000 followers and the website averages 60,000 independent visits every month. The website includes over 100 academic articles, archived images, extracts from medical texts, antique erotica, and an independent blog from Basis Yorkshire. The project was won the sexual freedom award 'publicist of the year award' in 2017, has led to numerous television, radio and podcast appearances, has been the subject of several online articles and generated many academic invitations to deliver guest lectures and keynote addresses  (including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Cheltenhelm Literature Festival, Bristol 5x15, and the Chalk Valley History Festival.)

I am a journalist with the Inews, where I regularly contribute articles on historical sexuality. I also write for the Wellcome Trust online.

My doctoral was in the field of Victorian Neo Medievalism, and this remains a key research interest of mine. I am currently editing an interdisciplinary collection of essays on Vikings in film with Professor Paul Hardwick, under contract with McFarland, to which I have contributed a chapter.

I am published in the field of Victorian studies and have edited a collection of essays on Victorian material culture for Routledge, which was published in 2018. I am a board member for the Leeds Centre of Victorian Studies and advise on use of the digital humanities.

Teaching and Administration

 I am the course leader for the Creative and Professional Writing course at Leeds Trinity. This is an interdisciplinary, cross school module that allows students to study writing skills within journalism, script writing, blog writing, creative writing and academic writing.

I am currently the module co-ordinator for the 'Continuing the Middle Ages' final year undergraduate module at Leeds Trinity University. I have redesigned the module to include more modern history texts that construct the medieval (Victorian through to modern day graphic novels.) I have also co-designed a module for the Victorian Studies MA on Victorian Identities, focusing particularly on female sexual identity, which was very successful this year.

I have also supervised Masters by research students, primarily in the field of gender studies and medievalism. As well as supervising and leading research students, this role has involved preparing masters students for PhD study. 

 Most of my teaching has been based in literary studies and has used the study of history to contextualize literary texts. I am very confident teaching across a range of humanity modules. My teaching includes national literature and genres both within and outside my areas of research expertise, which makes me a valuable cross-team player. I have experience of convening literature and interdisciplinary modules on contemporary British fiction, nineteenth-century / Victorian literature and culture, eighteenth-century literature, literary theory (including feminist theories), gender studies, film studies, and medieval literature, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. 

Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor of Arts, Leeds Trinity University

Doctor of Philosophy, Leeds Trinity University

Master of Arts, University of Leeds


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