The world of work has been radically reshaped by digital technologies, and more change is visible on the horizon. The technologies that have fostered increased connectivity among workers have also resulted in increased surveillance and technological speedups, as platform-based companies work to minimize labor costs and attain a monopoly in their sector. New types of work have been created while other professions confront the possibility of their jobs being automated and their expertise devalued. Finally, workplace discrimination and bias in hiring can become automated if it becomes encoded in technological systems. As researchers, how can we study the scale and scope of these and other technologically mediated challenges facing workers in the twenty-first century? How can our work help to foster means of resisting them?  

As part of the Data Fluencies Project, the Social Science Research Council is organizing a research development workshop (RDW) on the theme of “Labor and Technology” on July 24–25, 2023, at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. The Data Fluencies Project is developing an expansive and interdisciplinary set of methods for understanding our data-filled worlds that combines the interpretative traditions of the arts and humanities with critical work in the social and data sciences. 

This research development workshop furthers the goal of the project by catalyzing new research, advancing public scholarship, and creating new connections among scholars who are interrogating and challenging our data-filled world. 

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to: 

  • algorithmic processes of hiring and worker surveillance
  • labor law and data-driven industries
  • global tech workforce
  • new technologies and automatization of work 

Workshop Chairs

  • Dr. Ifeoma Ajunwa, associate professor of law, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Dr. Héctor Beltrán, assistant professor of anthropology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology   


This workshop will be led by Dr. Ifeoma Ajunwa (UNC Chapel Hill) and Dr. Héctor Beltrán (MIT). We particularly encourage applications from early-career (final year of the PhD, visiting or untenured faculty) and underrepresented scholars. We welcome applications from all relevant social science and humanities fields, as well as law and legal studies, computer science, data science, and related fields. The workshop is open to projects with a wide range of intended outputs (journal articles, book chapters, book proposals, long-form reportage, and reports and case studies). The papers proposed by applicants should not yet have been accepted for publication.

Proposals will be evaluated based on (1) relevance to the workshop’s substantive theme, (2) whether they are at a stage of development where feedback from peers will make the most impact, and (3) complementarity with other research topics selected for the workshop. 

Applicants should submit their 300-word abstracts, and a current 2-page CV via the application portal. If you would like to attend, discuss, and present a paper, please submit your application by May 1, 2023, 11:59 p.m. (ET)

Travel and Accommodations

The SSRC will cover travel costs to Vancouver, hotel accommodations, and meals for selected participants. 


Our RDWs are designed to catalyze and strengthen early-to-mid-stage research. Three weeks in advance of the workshop, participants share in-development work with all participants plus our two co-chairs, who are responsible for guiding the discussion. Because participants are expected to read each other’s work in advance of the RDW, minimal time is spent by authors presenting their work. 

Workshop Venue

Harbour Centre at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada