I am Mary-Ann Ochota (pronounced O-HOT-AH).
mum is Indian, my Dad is Polish, I was raised in northwest England and I
have family all over the world. This international heritage stirred my
interest in the peoples of the world from a young age. That, and a TV
documentary about child sacrifice.
My research interests include health and medicine, attitudes to the body, children and childhood, food, applied philosophy, animals, sex and gender, myth and folk history. I'm passionate about sharing the work of NGOs and humanitarians with as wide an audience as possible, and highlighting the diversity, and inequalities, of our world. I take commissions for photojournalism and research trips to field sites.
I strongly believe that the outdoors is good for all of us, body and mind, and work with organisations like the National Trust, Ordnance Survey and the British Mountaineering Council to encourage and inspire more people to #GetOutside
In 2016 I
worked on a research expedition in association with the
Australian Museum, completing archaeological and ecological surveys in
the Simpson Desert, in remote Western Queensland, Australia, and
'cameleering' with 17 ships of the desert. I've researched social trends for corporate clients, attitudes to risk for drama commissioners, and run 'disruptive' workshops that challenge clients' market assumptions. My undergraduate thesis
addressed notions of 'responsibility' in healthcare choices in
I also work with a number of corporate and third sector clients, conducting and presenting research and as a host, chair and interviewer at festivals and events.
I'm an experienced cold water scuba diver (PADI Divemaster, BSAC Dive Leader), enthusiastic sailor and mostly competent horse rider. I need only the slimmest excuse to pack a bag and travel. I'm first aid qualified and hostile environment trained.
My first book, Britain's Secret Treasures was published in 2013, my second, Hidden Histories: A Spotter's Guide to the British Landscape was published in October 2016, published by Frances Lincoln. My third will be out this Autumn.
I was lucky enough to marry author Joe Craig in 2008. We rehomed and retrained a large brown dog, Harpo, in 2010. We had our first child, Cole, in 2018.