Mary completed both her undergraduate and MA degree at the University of Manchester in human geography. In 2006 she moved to Loughborough University to complete a PhD on the practice, performance and regulation of male sex work in Manchester. Following this in 2009, she was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to spend one year in the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, to research the regulation of adult entertainment through municipal by-law and licensing. In September 2010 she joined the faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences at Northumbria University as a Lecturer in Criminology.
Mary's research interests centre on the regulation and criminalization of sex and sexualities, with a specific focus on the sex industry. This has been evidenced through PhD research exploring male sex work in Manchester (UK) as well as post-doctoral research on the regulation of exotic dance, escorting and body rub work through municipal by-law and licensing in Canada.
Mary is also interested in participatory research methodologies, and in 2013 with Adele Irving and in partnership with The Cyrenians, she launched a peer-research project exploring sex work in Newcastle upon Tyne. The project which is called PEER, made numerous local policy and practice recommendations which are currently being considered and implemented by local practitioners and Newcastle’s Strategic Sex Work Group.
Mary has publications in Sexualities, Geoforum, Journal of Law and Society and Geography Compass, and is currently co-editing a book entitled Queer Sex Work for Taylor and Francis.
In addition to Mary's academic research, since 2004 she has volunteered as a support worker for various sex work outreach projects, delivering harm minimization services to male and female sex workers, working in both on and off street contexts. She is also the joint academic board member of the UK Network of Sex Work Projects, and with Jane Pitcher has led on a number of national sex work policy responses. See www.uknswp.org for more information.