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Dr Kelle Howson

Former Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr Kelle Howson

Former Postdoctoral Researcher


Dr Kelle Howson is a postdoctoral researcher on the Fairwork project at the Oxford Internet Institute.

Her background is in international development, globalisation and agriculture. Her research has examined the impact of ethical certification on power and governance in global agro-food networks. She received a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand in 2018. Her PhD thesis explored ethical certification and post-apartheid transformation in the South African wine industry, developing the concept of ethical value networks (EVeNs) to assess the extent to which certifications like Fairtrade contributed to more even development outcomes.

She also holds a Masters of Development Studies from Victoria University of Wellington, and her masters thesis examined the livelihood impact of Fairtrade certification for a coffee cooperative in Timor-Leste.

Her current work with the Fairwork Foundation explores and aims to improve labour standards for platform workers in South Africa. Building on her background in certification studies, Kelle is interested in the potential of interventions aimed at harnessing reflexive consumer power to improve working conditions.

Prior to taking up her current position Kelle served as a Senior Researcher in Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Leader’s Office in the New Zealand Parliament.

Research Interests

International development, globalisation, ethical certification, labour geographies, digital labour, Fairtrade, ethical value networks.

Positions at the OII

  • Research Associate, June 2022 - August 2023
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, October 2019 - July 2022


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Integrity Statement

I conduct my research in line with the University's academic integrity code of practice.


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