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Professor Mia Gray

College position(s)




Specialising in

Supernumerary Fellow

Degrees, Awards and Prizes

BA (San Diego), MRCP (Berkeley), PhD (Rutgers)

Research themes

One of my main interests is in labour markets and the social and organisational dynamics of work. I am interested in how labour markets are shaped, structured and regulated — and what the implications of this are for contemporary work. My research lies at the intersection of political economy and economic and labour geographies. Much of my research examines the urban politics and labour market dynamics of union organising in place. Other labour research explores processes of labour market change, geographies of organised labour, immigrant workers, aging and youth at work, underemployment, precarious work, and social networks in the workplace. I am interested in how categories of social difference like gender, race, age, and class relate to how labour is rewarded, valued and regulated in and across place.

Another important aspect of my work explores the politics of austerity. This research examines the intertwining of the economic, social and political effects on the local decisions around austerity and the shaping of the local state. This project highlights the uneven nature of the budget cuts, the political coalitions surrounding funding change, and the institutional mechanisms which promote change in policy priorities in the UK, the US, and Canada.

As part of this project, I have collaborated on an interactive play, The Great Austerity Debate, which explores the themes of austerity, precarious work, the ethics of care, and debt. The intentionally provocative play encourages audiences to explore solutions to the problems highlighted in the play. Audiences can debate the action, advise the characters, or even get up on stage and change the scene. Read more about The Great Austerity Debate.

The work on austerity is related to my long-standing interest in regional economies. In past research, I explore the regional and workplace implications of changing working patterns, identity and cultural norms; implications of austerity; and links between globalisation and regional economies.

Finally, I have been exploring the geographic implications of alternative finance, such as crowd-funding and venture philanthropy, and its effects on regional economies, labour markets, and the distribution of opportunity.


I lecture on all three years of the Geography tripos. In the first year I introduce students to economic restructuring, in the second year I teach the economic component of the paper on austerity and affluence, and I sometimes teach a third year paper on working. I also am Director of the MPhil in Geographic Research and have a number of graduate students who are an active part of our community at Girton.


I have been at Girton for over 20 years. Being American, I’m originally from California, I remember vividly what it is like to be new to the collegiate system, but the friendliness I found at Girton quickly made me feel at home at Cambridge.

I also co-edit the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, which highlights multi-disciplinary international research on the spatial dimensions of contemporary socio-economic-political change.

I am a Senior Research Fellow at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (part of the Judge Business School).

I have also received a Teaching Excellence Award from the Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU). I was commended by students for “an innovative and engaging teaching style, support for students, and ability to inspire critical and imaginative thinking.”

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