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Dr Ian Cook

Senior Lecturer

Department: Social Sciences

Ian has worked in the Department of Social Sciences since 2011. He works across the disciplines/fields of geography, urban studies and criminology. Before arriving in the North East, he worked as a University Teacher at the School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool; a Research Associate at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, University of Portsmouth; and a Research Fellow/Associate at the School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester. Most importantly, he is a fan of Portsmouth Football Club.

Ian Cook

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

Ian's research focuses on cities, with a particular emphasis on five issues: (1) underpasses and the urban subterranean, (2) policy mobilities; (3) sex work; (4) fictional cities and crime; (5) the temporality of cities; and 

  • Underpasses and the urban subterranean - Together with Clare Wiper, Ian is working on a research project exploring people's experiences of underpasses in Newcastle upon Tyne. In addition, he is currently writing about the portrayal of the urban subterranean in crime fiction. 
  • Policy mobilities - Perhaps his best known work is on policy mobilities which looked at the construction and movement of models of best practice, often in the field of urban development and urban regeneration (e.g. Business Improvement Districts, suburban developments, waterfront regeneration, sporting mega-events). A key part of this research involved looking at the methods through which policymakers learn about policies elsewhere, focusing in particular on study tours, conferences and award ceremonies.
  • Sex work - Ian has worked on a number of projects about sex work, many with an urban focus. These projects include ones looking at how clients of sex work are policed (and the use of John Schools in the UK); the international circulation of sex work policy models; the role of platforms within contemporary sex work; and activism by sex work academics. 
  • Fictional cities and crime - Ian is examining the ways in which crime dramas and crime fiction represent cities. He has explored this through an analysis of the crime drama Breaking Bad and is currently analysing these issues in Ian Rankin's long-running John Rebus novels.
  • The temporality of cities - He is currently writing about the relationship between time and cities. Here he is exploring the role of time in the policing of urban sex work as well as how the issue of time runs through urban crime fiction.   

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Platforms, sex work and their interconnectedness, Swords, J., Laing, M., Cook, I. 18 May 2021, In: Sexualities
  • Time and detective novels: exploring the past and the night in Ian Rankin’s John Rebus series, Cook, I. 29 Jul 2021, In: Clues: A Journal of Detection
  • Victims, witnesses and the criminal justice system, Davies, P., Cook, I. 1 Nov 2021, An Introduction to Criminology, London, SAGE
  • Conferences, award ceremonies and the showcasing of ‘best practice’: A case study of the annual European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels, Andersson, I., Cook, I. 1 Dec 2019, In: Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space
  • Criminological policy mobilities and sex work: Understanding the movement of the ‘Swedish model’ to Northern Ireland, McMenzie, L., Cook, I., Laing, M. 1 Sep 2019, In: British Journal of Criminology
  • Inside mobile urbanism: cities and policy mobilities, Temenos, C., Baker, T., Cook, I. Jun 2019, Handbook of Urban Geography, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar
  • Sex work, sensory urbanism and visual criminology: Exploring the role of the senses in shaping residential perceptions of brothels in Blackpool, Cooper, E., Cook, I., Bilby, C. May 2018, In: International Journal of Urban and Regional Research
  • Showcasing Vällingby to the world: post-war suburban development, informational infrastructures, and the extrospective city, Cook, I. 2018, In: Planning Perspectives
  • Suburban policy mobilities: Examining North American post-war engagements with Vällingby, Stockholm, Cook, I. 2018, In: Geografiska Annaler, Series B: Human Geography
  • Television drama and the urban diegesis: Portraying Albuquerque in Breaking Bad, Cook, I., Ashutosh, I. 28 May 2018, In: Urban Geography

PGR Supervision

Laura McMenzie Models on the Move: The Mobilities of Swedish and Dutch Sex Work Policies Start Date: 01/10/2015


  • Geography PhD September 01 2008
  • Fellow of Advance HE

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