Cailean Gallagher

Dr, Mr, Dr

  • KY16 9RJ

    United Kingdom

Personal profile

Research overview

My research explores the way that changing technologies and systems of control affect the capacity of workers to collectivise and organise. This interest developed from my work as a trade union organiser and strategist supporting workers in precarious work and the gig economy. In 2020 I set up the Workers' Observatory with on-demand platform workers to watch changing work patterns and challenge the power asymmetry between them and platforms. Our research project Worker Data Science, funded by the Edinburgh Futures Institute, takes Deliveroo riders in Edinburgh as a case study, and combines methods from sociology, computer science, legal studies, and history to address gig worker concerns about algorithmic management, automated decision making, and precarious conditions. This project formed the basis for the events 'Digital Worker Inquiry' and 'Reimagining Platforms'. I also co-wrote a report on artificial intelligence and platform workers' rights as part of a Policy Fellowship supported by AHRC and DCMS's R&D Unit on AI.

Besides this research background, I am an intellectual historian and hold a PhD in history from the University of St Andrews. My research interests include Jacobite political and economic thought, the history of industry in Scotland, and the early history of unions and tactics of workplace resistance. I help run an extra-mural learning programme called Scottish Histories of Resistance, supporting local groups to research changing forms of control and collective action, funded by the British Academy.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth


  • HD28 Management. Industrial Management
  • Gig economy; workplace organsing; history of work


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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