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Lise Woensdregt

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, Sociology

Assistant Professor, Research Programmes - Social Sciences, Identities, Diversity and Inclusion (IDI)

Personal information

I am Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology. I am co-director of the Research & Innovation Lab 'Co-creation for Inclusive Knowledges', which is embedded in the Faculty of Social Sciences. I conduct research with marginalized communities such as (queer) sex workers, and am committed to developing collaborative research that is more inclusive of, and accessible to, the people it aims to serve. Regarding accessibility, I have translated my publications into comics to enable my interlocutors (and others) to easily read and comprehend the research I conduct.


My PhD research ('Making Noise: Sex Worker-led Organising and Knowledge Politics in Development Partnerships in Nairobi, Kenya'- defended in January 2024) explored how a queer male sex worker-led organisation in Nairobi, Kenya navigates and engages with the politics of knowledges in development partnerships in the official development aid system. It is often uncritically assumed that development partnerships (and the international development aid system more generally) are inclusive of the input and knowledge of all partners involved. Using ethnographic and community-led research methods, my thesis demonstrates that despite good intentions of individual actors involved, studying these arrangements from the perspective of sex workers shows that, in practice, this inclusivity is lacking.

In my current research I continue to explore the intricacies of knowledge politics in and outside of the development sector, and am currently in the process of developing and implementing Community-led Research and Action (CLRA) projects with marginalized communities. In relation to the complex process of doing CLRA, I have a special interest in exploring institutional boundaries and other academic shortcomings and vulnerabilities. Additionally, I am involved as coordinator of 'Common Ground Dialogues', a collaborative project involving Hungarian, Slovakian, French and Dutch partners (including the Vrije Universiteit), exploring how co-creative and arts-based methods can generate new forms of dialogue and reflection.


I have taught at Bachelor, Pre-Master and Master levels in courses such as  Sex Work in the Times of Anti-Trafficking, Qualitative Research Methods,  and Professional Skills. I also co-developed and taught at the summer school course 'Difficult Settings: Preparing for Fieldwork'. 

Currently, at the bachelor level I teach a course on Participatory Action Research (PAR) in the Bachelor Sociology. For master students I teach a course on participant observation. Supervision of master theses involve subjects on gender, sexuality, money and inequalities. I give guest lectures related to queer sex work, for example at Amsterdam UMC, and on the involvement of communities and experiential knowledge in design and implementation of (development) policies, for example at Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen (KIT). I am also involved in the development of a course that will be included in the forthcoming national minor in Climate Sociology, and will be offered from the academic year 2024-2025.

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Lise Woensdregt