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Grace Mueller

PhD student, Queens’ College

Theorising Back the Market for Labour: A Co-Produced Socio-Spatial Analysis from Nepal

I am a human geographer studying local labour markets from the perspective of young women in Nepal. This research responds to youth employment and gender equality global development goals, asking how place-based institutions influence how the labour market ecosystem ‘works’ for young women in practice. I foregrounding female labour agency as a tool for analysis, defining the labour market as a broad ecosystem which includes paid and unpaid, formal and informal work. This research follows a feminist and decolonial epistemology, aiming to co-produce labour market theory from within Nepal, viewing young women as the experts on their own labour market ecosystem experience. Research implications include spatial and temporal theorizations of female labour agency, as well as recommendations for labour market intervention and equitable knowledge production.




  • 2020-2021: Senior Research Analyst, Restless Development, Asian Development Bank and Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership
  • 2021: Research Manager, Chicago Appleseed Center for Fair Courts
  • 2020: AmeriCorps Fellow, Mayors Caucus Chicago
  • 2019: Research Associate, E-SheBee and University of Edinburgh, Bangladesh


  • 2018-2019: MSc International Development, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh (Cum Laude)
  • 2012-2016: BSc Communication Studies, Moody College of Communication, University of Texas at Austin (Cum Laude)
  • 2012-2016: Bridging Discipline Programme, Social Entrepreneurship and Nonprofits, University of Texas at Austin


  • Queens’ College Travel Award, Cambridge, Scoping Research in Nepal (2022)
  • ESRC DTP Studentship (2021-present)
  • Cambridge Trust Scholar (2021-present)
  • Stamps Strive Foundation Scholar, Queens’ College (2021-present)
  • Rotary International Global Grant Scholar (2020-present)
  • Dissertation Award of Distinction, University of Edinburgh (2019)
  • Dean’s List for Academic Excellence, University of Texas at Austin (2012-2015)
  • Fred and Mary Koch Foundation Scholarship Awardee (2015)



  • Barford, A., McCarthy, G., Mueller, G., Osborne, H., Pratiwi, A., Pradhan, K., Shrestha, S. (In progress): Life-courses interrupted: youth livelihoods and the limits of resilience. Submitted: Journal of Youth Studies.
  • Mueller, G., Barford, A., Osborne, H., Pradhan, K., Proefke, R., Shrestha, S., Pratiwi, A., (In progress): Diary research in a crisis. Submitted: International Journal of Qualitative Methods.
  • Mueller, G. (In progress): Radical entrepreneurship: Challenging caste-based discrimination and socio-structural constraints to inclusion in rural Bangladesh. Submitted: Third World Quarterly.

Conference presentations

  • 2022: Co-Convenor, ReWorking Work: Labour and Livelihoods in the Global South, Philomathia Social Sciences Research Symposium, Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge
  • 2022: Research Presenter and Panelist, Re-searching Purpose and Vocation Series, Max Planck Cambridge Centre for Ethics, Economy and Social Change
  • 2021: Keynote Speaker, Youth in a Time of Crisis: Livelihood Diaries from Nepal and Indonesia During COVID-19, Asian Development Bank
  • 2021: Panelist, Asia and the Pacific Youth Symposium: Knowledge Session on Youth Economic Empowerment, Asian Development Bank
  • 2021: Presenter, Special Session: SMEs/Family Businesses and Regional Development, 13th World Congress of Regional Science Association International


Undergraduate Supervision, Part IB Development Theory and Practice (Easter Term 2022).

External activities

  • Youth and Work Reading Group, Co-Coordinator
  • Decent Work and Youth Livelihoods Research Group, Member
  • Cambridge Society for Economic Pluralism, Member
  • Global Shapers Cambridge, World Economic Forum, Member
  • Queens’ College Wine Society, Treasurer