Katy returned to Essex University after working for three years as a central academic at The Open University (Milton Keynes). Whilst at the OU, Katy played a leading role in the development of a first year interdisciplinary module, Investigating the Social World (DD103). Before this, she held positions as a post-doctoral researcher at Essex University and Queen Mary, University of London where she conducted research on recycling and obesity interventions respectively. Katy's PhD research explored Fairtrade consumption and support in the UK, focusing on the Fairtrade Towns movement. Katy completed her PhD (ESRC 1+3) and undergraduate studies at Essex.
Katy's work deals with the ways ordinary consumers respond to the normative pressures placed upon them to act in sustainable or responsible ways. Katy has researched the Fairtrade movement and recycling in comparative contexts, exploring how these different consumer practices generate distinctive moral economies. There has been a growing interest in the concept of moral economy along with the growing interest in sustainable consumption and markets. Her recent work develops a holistic moral economy framework that explores the interactions and interdependencies between individuals, communities and political-economic structures. She is also exploring the ways young people are educated about sustainability through a British Academy Small Grant, entitled 'Educating young people as sustainable citizen-consumers'.
Katy has been an instructor at the Essex Summer School since 2012, offering a course in qualitative interviewing and analysis. She is a Professional Trainer for the qualitative software, MAXQDA.
Katy is on the editorial board for the Journal of Cultural Economy and is a convenor for the BSA Climate Change Study Group.