Carol Leigh

Presentations: Content, Technical Requirements, etc.

For additional information about Leigh's work, visit the following pages:

Abstracts and Conference Presentations

Leigh's Biography

Unrepentant Whore: Collected Work of Scarlot Harlot

Trafficking Policy Research Project

Prostitutes' Education Network Website

Sex Worker Film and Video Festival


Presentation Details:

Carol Leigh AKA Scarlot Harlot, inventor of the term "sex work," has been a central figure in the sex workers' rights movement for the past twenty-five years. As a video artist, Leigh has documented numerous conferences, peformances and other contexts of representing diverse sex workers. Her book, Unrepentant Whore: Collected Work of Scarlot Harlot is coming to your local bookstore. She is available to present lectures, performances and videos (or combinations) to classes and larger college audiences.

Titles and Topics

Sex Worker Politics 101
Sex Worker Rights: US and International Perspectives
Sex Workers' Rights Movements History, Issues and Decriminalization
Sex Worker Culture
Sex Worker Rights and Family Values: My Mother's Story

Leigh at Universities and Colleges

Leigh has been a visiting artist at New York University, University of San Francisco, University of Nevada, University of Michigan, San Francisco State University, Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, Antioch and many others. Her presentation is often sponsored by Women's Studies, Media Studies, Community Health programs, Queer groups, student groups, sex education groups, etc. Ms. Leigh has also been on the faculty of several digital art schools in the Bay Area including Center for Electronic Arts and International Center for Digital Art.

Presentation Summaries:

1. Sex Worker Rights Movements and Issues

Sex Worker Politics 101

Sex Worker Rights: US and International Perspectives - This lecture and Power Point demonstration presents the history of sex worker rights including COYOTE history, CAL PEP, PONY and other US organizations. International details emphasize the work of Indian activists in Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC) and COSWAS in Taiwan. Video is also available which highlights activist efforts of US and International sex worker rights groups.

Decriminalization and Sex Worker Rights

Leigh discusses the history of the sex workers' rights movement in the US as well as reports about current sex worker issues and organizations around the world highlighting Sweden's recent criminalization of purchasing sexual services. Decriminalization is discussed from a variety of perspectives, presenting the ranges of definitions that have emerged in sex workers rights contexts. In some sex worker communities, decriminalization is not necessarily the focus, or the priority of the movement. Hear about the controversies within the feminist movement and within sex worker movements. This presentation provides a survey of the recent efforts in Berkeley, California to use the ballot initiative process to launch decrminalization efforts. The impact and implications of the Lawrence vs. Texas decision will also be discussed.

2. Sex Worker Rights and Family Values: My Mother's Story

This extraordinary presentation focuses on the relationship between Leigh and her mother, Augusta. Both mother and daughter discuss a range of issues based on women's rights, their shared work as feminists and wrestling with the prostitution stigma. How does Augusta feel about having a daughter who is a prostitute? How has Augusta come to accept and support Leigh's work. How does Leigh support Augusta's own feminist politics? What aspects of Augusta's own story and path as an artist have collided with her daughter's identity? As working and middle class Jewish women, how have this mother and daughter developed their unique roles? This discussion explores a unique model of a mother and daughter relationship, challenging common presumptions about family values.

3. Sex Worker Art, Culture, Festivals/Gatherings and Performances

Leigh brings materials, slides and videos from various sex worker cultural festivals and conferences including film festivals and conferences from San Francisco to Tucson, from China to South Africa.


4. Sex Worker Performance Series

For this series Leigh invites sex worker performance artists from the US (or international). This series can also include taped performances and discussion of sex worker performance art.

Technical requirements for classroom presentations and performances

*VHS video deck/DVD deck. (NTSC)

*CD player for background music and mic for singing for performances.

* Projector for Mac (PowerPoint) for classroom and conference presentations.

* Audio output from computer to speakers.

*Projection screen or TV Monitor (as large as possible).

*One table for display items.


For simple presentations using only Power Point, I would like to have about 30 minutes of set up time before people enter the room. If video is planned, I should have an extra few minutes. Performances require approximately 1-2 hours of tech rehearsel.

Please let us know if you have a budget for hand outs as we can provide materials that would be useful to students.

The fee varies. Please email to discuss financial arrangements.