Tom Walker

Tom Walker

I'm a researcher and editor.

I research complex and opaque systems, and how they affect people and the environment. I’m particularly interested in governments’ use of AI to identify vulnerable people, and land rights, corruption and deforestation in south-east Asia.

Brighton, UK



Researcher at Ada Lovelace Institute

Research for this independent research and deliberative body, which promotes informed public understanding of the impact of AI and data-driven technologies on different groups in society.

Researcher (consultant) at

Independent research and advisory on data, technology and human rights issues.

  • Long-term consultancy for the Dutch NGO Hivos in ‘Learning Specialist’ role, developing organisation-wide learning processes, advising on programme development and helping develop a digital futures agenda for the organisation.
  • Research on working practices of Iraqi human rights documenters to inform the creation of new workflows.
  • Research on interactions between volunteers with technology/data skills and UK charities, to identify ways to make collaboration more common and more effective.
  • Data journalism research for investigative media outlet The Gecko Project, focused on land rights and palm oil in Indonesia.

Research Lead at The Engine Room

The Engine Room is an international organisation that helps activists, organisations and other social change agents make the most of data and technology.

  • Led delivery of 11 projects researching social change organisations’ use of data and technology. Partnered with organisations from 22 countries, including CIVICUS, Oxfam and Global Witness. Projects ranged from multi-year, multi-country grants to short-term consultancies.
  • Managed teams of up to 12 people on individual projects, including UX/graphic designers, developers and technologists.

Research Associate at The Engine Room

Promoted to Research Lead in 2015.

Writer and editor at Freelance

Freelance writing and research. Bylines in The Guardian and Global Voices; edited wide range of research and writing, including a multi-country study of public participation initiatives in India and Sri Lanka, and an evaluation of multilateral donor cooperation in Yemen.

Asia Programme Officer at ERIS

Project-manager and researcher on initiatives supporting democratic institutions and culture in south and south-east Asia.

  • Designed and/or managed election-monitoring and anti-corruption projects in Rwanda, Bolivia and Myanmar together with local civil society organisations , with budgets totalling more than €450,000. Wrote successful bids worth €400,000 from EU Commission, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and DFID.
  • Monitored political developments in Asia (with an emphasis on Myanmar, Bangladesh and Pakistan) and prepared briefing notes, detailed project proposals and updates for donors and other international organisations. Topics of focus included training domestic election observers, advocacy for more transparent campaign finance, civic and voter education campaigns and media monitoring.
  • Conducted needs assessment mission to Myanmar, interviewing politicians, international institutions and civil society to make recommendations on support needs, as part of ERIS’ collaboration with the Carter Center and Democracy Reporting International.
  • Prepared proposals for European Union funded programmes, winning bids worth a total of €400,000, and project managed several European Commission projects worth a total of €450,000. Duties included contributing to the technical and financial offer (including preparing budgets), recruiting and liaising with experts, project management; backstopping; preparing contracts; financial monitoring, negotiating workplan amendments and budget reallocations with the European Union, monitoring project outputs for quality and adherence to workplan.
  • Managed content on ERIS’ website and presence on social media, including writing, editing and commissioning content, and sourcing photos, maps and other graphic content.

Election Observer at OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)

Short Term Observer for early Parliamentary and Presidential elections in North Macedonia. Monitoring of election procedures, compiling and formalising reports on practices regarding free & fair election processes.

Editor, Global Risk Analysis at Control Risks

Edited and/or drafted daily updates and in-depth research reports on corruption, security and political risks in Asia and Africa for 10,000+ paying subscribers in the private and public sectors.

  • Monitored political, economic and security issues in Asia/Africa to produce concise, accurate and comprehensive analysis.
  • Produced infographics, maps and data visualisations using Adobe Creative Suite and GIS.

Programme Assistant at ERIS

Project-managed the redesign of the website of this non-profit democracy support organisation (, and re-designed information architecture to reflect ERIS’s operational needs.

  • Supported organisation of International Visitors Programme for the May 2010 UK general election, on behalf of the UK Electoral Commission. Twenty-six representatives of election management bodies from 14 countries participated.

Sub Editor at The Statesman

Edited and fact-checked copy from the political and regional sections of this Indian national newspaper, while based in Kolkata.

Editorial Assistant at Royal United Services Institute

Commissioned, edited to house style and proof-read materials published online by this think-tank; other duties included writing original copy, creating specialist analysis portals, conducting picture research and utilising RUSI’s existing database of articles to provide up-to-date coverage of topical issues.


Pandemics, power, and publics: trends in post-crisis health technology, in 'A Global Review in 'Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives' by Meatspace Press

Co-authored a chapter on the development of technology in the UK in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Data Use: A Briefing for an international NGO's strategy process by

Wrote this briefing to support an NGO seeking to better understand the future contribution it can make to understand, engage with and remove critical barriers to data use.

Technology for Legal Empowerment: A Global Review by Open Society Justice Initiative

Lead researcher on the first global review of how technology is being used to support legal empowerment work worldwide, managing a team of researchers.

Privacy or Public Interest? Making the Case for Public Information on Company Ownership by OpenOwnership

Lead researcher on the first global review of how technology is being used to support legal empowerment work worldwide, managing a team of researchers.

Humanitarian Futures for Messaging Apps: Understanding the opportunities and risks by International Committee of the Red Cross

Lead researcher on this project, the first to examine the use of messaging apps in humanitarian work in depth.

Research synthesis: Making All Voices Count by Institute for Development Studies

Translating Oxfam's responsible data policy into practice by Oxfam

Sometimes it is about the tech: Choosing technology in Kenyan and South African transparency and accountability initiatives by Making All Voices Count (Institute of Development Studies

A Primer on technology to monitor rainforests and forest peoples' rights by Rainforest Foundation Norway

Microtasking: An introduction by Amnesty International

The Impacts of Citizen-Generated Data in Argentina, East Africa and Nepal by CIVICUS

I commissioned, edited and produced three research reports by in-country researchers on what difference projects involving data generated by citizens.

A Movements Perspective on Transparency and Accountability by Transparency and Accountability Initiative

I was a researcher on this project, conducting interviews with activists and academics from multiple countries, and co-writing the final output.

Spain's alternative party Podemos is growing in circles by Global Voices

I wrote this feature piece for Global Voices.

'The rise of Greek civil society' by The Guardian

Co-authored this feature for the Guardian

Sri Lankan Military Prepares for End Game by openDemocracy

Wrote this, one of a series of updates on the political situation in South Asia for OpenDemocracy’s openIndia section.


MA in World History from King's College London, University of London with GPA of Distinction


  • Focus on history of decolonisation in 1940s-50s.

BA (Hons) in History from University of Durham with GPA of First Class


Fluency: Native Speaker
Fluency: 2/5



Advisory Council member at Commons

Advisory board member advisory council for this not-for-profit South London-based law firm.


    Volunteer at On Our Radar

    Transcription support and mapping research for the Dementia Diaries project.


      Researcher at Transparency International

      Mapping corruption risks in the mining sector in 11 countries, and transcription support to the conduct of national integrity system (NIS) assessments.


        Co-organiser at Brixton People's Kitchen

        Member of organising team for this community kitchen, which aims to bring people together and reduce food waste. Roles included co-running events, connecting with partner organisations, jointly preparing a successful funding bid for Nesta, coordinated the building of a bike-based mobile kitchen, and lots of cooking. The project received coverage in The Guardian and Al-Jazeera, was adopted by a larger charity and continues today. See: a blog about the project, a description of the process of building a mobile kitchen, and more detail on the results