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REEF research centre attracts two notable visiting fellows

New high-profile research fellows are joining the OU to strengthen its engagement with global economics and environmentalism.

Joining the Research into Employment, Empowerment and Futures (REEF) one of the Business School’s four research centres, on an indefinite basis are the renowned political economist, writer and broadcaster Grace Blakeley and Chief Executive of the innovative textile reuse charity TRAID, Maria Chenoweth.

Grace BlakeleyGrace appears regularly in the media as a political and economic commentator including appearances on Question TimeBBC This Week, and BBC Breakfast. The author of The Corona Crash: How the Pandemic Will Change Capitalism, Grace is also a staff writer at Tribune magazine, host of the A World to Win podcast and author of Stolen: How to Save the World from Financialisation. She previously worked as a research fellow for the Institute for Public Policy Research and as the New Statesman’s economic commentator.

Grace will be working with REEF on knowledge exchange work, particularly with trade unions, and will be helping the centre by enriching its perspective on work through an economics lens.

As well as contributing to module production by recording video and audio and by blog writing, Grace will deliver an annual public lecture through the OU and, at the end of 2021, this will be on the topic of the leadership the world needs to emerge from the Corona crisis.

Maria ChenowethMaria, an OU MBA alumna who graduated in 2019, leads vital work in promoting more environmentally sustainable clothes production and securing fair and safe treatment of garment workers. Every aspect of TRAID’s work keeps clothes in use for longer to maximise social and environmental benefits – from clothes reuse to charity retail, from sustainable education to funding global projects benefiting the people and places making our clothes.

Maria joined TRAID as Head of Retail when the charity launched in 1999 before becoming its Chief Executive a few years later aged 34. She was previously at Oxfam where she worked for seven years developing innovative concept shops.

She will help REEF and the wider Business School develop innovative module content on transition to a green economy, as well as contributing video and audio to modules. Other activities will include running a workshop and public lecture for people interested in the crossover between environmental and social justice.