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Ruth Kelly

Research Fellow, Centre for Applied Human Rights

Research Information

Ruth Kelly’s doctoral research (Centre for Applied Human Rights, in collaboration with ActionAid) looks at how storytelling and other vernacular cultural forms can open space for imagining and promoting development alternatives. As part of a GCRF-funded project, she is working with film artist Emilie Flower and with artists and activists in Uganda and Bangladesh to explore how practising the arts can disrupt the way researchers and others think about and perform development.

Ruth has more than ten years' experience working on human rights, development, and international economic law and policy. She is currently deputy chair of the Electoral Reform Society's governing Council (since January 2018) and was a board member of the Trade Justice Movement from March 2015 to March 2018.

Before starting her PhD, she worked as programme policy manager with ActionAid UK, leading a small team to carry out research and advocacy on alternatives to mainstream development models. Her PhD project emerged out of broader discussions with colleagues across the ActionAid federation about developing a programme of work on development alternatives that would be responsive to the organisation's new focus on supporting social movements.

Ruth has also worked with Oxfam, UNDP and the European Commission, and with the Irish Refugee Council and the French migrants' rights organisation La Cimade. In 2008-9 Ruth was a research fellow at the MacMillan Center for international and area studies at Yale University, working on international trade law and development. She holds a master’s degree in public international law (LLM) from the University of Cambridge and a degree in law and French (LLB) from Trinity College Dublin and Sciences-Po Paris.