Dr. Emily Cooper

Dr. Emily Cooper

Lecturer in Human Geography

School of Forensic and Applied Sciences

Maudland Building, MB119

+44 (0) 1772 89 4026


Subject Areas: Criminology and Policing, Geography and Environment

Emily is a human geographer and is research active in the areas of sex work, and deviance in the city.

She is a member of the Sex Work Research Hub and the UCLan Policing Research Team.

Full Profile

Emily studied for a BSc (Hons) in Geography at Lancaster University, and remained there to complete her PhD in Human Geography (awarded 2014). The PhD focused on the impacts of living in close proximity to massage parlours on residential communities in Blackpool.

Between 2013 and 2014, Emily worked as a Researcher at Ascentis (an awarding body and charity) and held several teaching roles in Geography at Lancaster University between 2009-2015. Emily then took up the role of Lecturer in Human Geography at Northumbria University in 2015, before joining UCLan in 2016.

Emily’s research broadly centres on how sex, space and society interact, with a particular focus on sex work in recent studies. Emily is also interested in sex work regulation and local authority policies, and evaluating the evidence base for these strategies. She is now part of the UCLan Policing Research team and teaches across the Geography degree schemes.

Emily also has a keen interest in pedagogical research, particularly relating to non-traditional assessment methods (such as creative performance presentations and reflexive journals) and teaching material that is on sensitive topics.

Emily has co-written an article for The Conversation entitled Bothered by a brothel? How sex work can improve your neighbourhood.

Emily had another article published in The Conversation in August 2017 exploring sex work and regulatory reform entitled ‘Stigma and stereotypes about sex work hinder regulatory reform’ 


  • Ph.D in Human Geography, Lancaster University, 2014
  • B.Sc (1st Class Hons) in Geography, Lancaster University, 2009


Cooper, E., Cook, I R. and Bilby, C. (2018) ‘Sex work, sensory urbanism and visual criminology: exploring the role of the senses in shaping residential perceptions of brothels in Blackpool’. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 42 (3), 373-389

Cooper, E. (2016) ‘It’s better than daytime television’: questioning the socio-spatial impacts of massage parlours on residential communities’. Sexualities 4/5

Tarrant, A. and Cooper, E. (forthcoming, 2016) “Exposing the ‘hidden injuries’ of feminist early career researchers: An experiential think piece”. Chapter in edited collection: 'Feminist Beginnings: Being an Early Career Feminist Academic in a Changing Academy' (Palgrave)



Membership of professional and learned bodies

  • Associate of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the Royal Geographical Society

Research activities

Emily is part of the UCLan Policing Research team and the Sex Work Research Hub. Her general research interests include:

  • Sex work
  • Community dynamics and cohesion
  • Stigma
  • Crime and deviance
  • Liminal spaces and liminality
  • Visual criminology

Emily would welcome PhD applications in these areas.

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