Kayleigh’s research interests focus on poverty and inequality, social security, and health, specifically investigating charitable food provision and food insecurity. Her work is strongly interdisciplinary, working between Social Policy, Sociology, and Human Geography, and employs a wide variety of mostly qualitative methodologies, including ethnography, participatory methods, and creative approaches, such as zine making and walking interviews. She is a co-founder of the Global Solidarity Alliance for Food, Health and Social Justice, a group of non-governmental organisations, national networks, grassroots activists, and scholars developing a shared analysis of, and reaction to, the increased institutionalisation and corporatisation of charitable food in 'rich world' countries such as the US, Canada, and the UK.
Her research has received prestigious prizes, including the 2020 Philip Leverhulme Prize in Sociology and Social Policy. She was also winner of the 2017 and 2013 British Academy Peter Townsend Award, and was second place runner-up in the 2017 BSA/BBC Radio 4 2017 Thinking Allowed ethnography award. Findings from her research have featured on BBC Breakfast, BBC News at 6, Channel 4 News, Good Morning Britain, Sky News, Thinking Allowed (BBC Radio 4), The Observer, and Women’s Hour (BBC Radio 4), as well as in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Daily Mirror, The Financial Times, and The Independent. She has regular engagement with social security policy at both national and local levels, including organising and speaking at events at the House of Lords, House of Commons, Scottish Parliament, Scottish Government, and contributing to several policy consultations, both orally and written.
Kayleigh is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and has considerable teaching experience of delivering lectures, tutorials, and seminars at both UG and PGT level, covering content including central debates in social policy, especially in relation to poverty, social security, and inequality, and also in research methodologies. She has pastoral and supervisory experience in providing PhD supervision to several students, alongside external examination duties in the UK, Europe, and Australia. She also mentors several early career researchers in the UK and Europe. Finally, she is a trustee and treasurer of the Independent Food Aid Network, as well as contributing to various high-profile Policy Advisory Groups.