Fellow Tsvetelina Hristova

Tsvetelina Hristova

Western Sydney University

  Fellow am CAIS von Oktober bis März 2022

From flowcharts to bots: analysing the link between visualisation and automation

In this project I explore the relationship between visualisation and automation through analysis of the genealogy and use of low-code programming tools used for robotic process automation (RPA) and software development. I trace this genealogy through constructing a political history of the workflow diagram drawing connections between Gilbreth’s process charts in scientific management, the use of workflow diagrams in early computing (von Neumann), the organisational use of business process notation, and the recent rise of visual low-code programming. I will combine this historical analysis with analysis of the current tendencies in low-code programming that points to their increased embeddedness within cloud-based platforms offered by big actors in the field of organisational management and automation, such as SAP, Oracle, and Salesforce. My project will not only suggest a rethinking of automation through its relationship to visualisation and visual tools, but will also show how this relationship is transformed in the context of platform capitalism.

Main Research Topics
  • Automation
  • critical digital studies
  • visuality
Curriculum Vitae

2021 Postdoctoral research fellow, Western Sydney University

2018 Junior Fellow, Centre for Digital Cultures, Leuphana

2015-2021 PhD student, Western Sydney university

Lectures and Publications


Hristova, T., Neilson, B., Rossiter, N. (2021). On the block train: rethinking block technologies on the YuXinOu express. International Journal of Communication. Vol. 15.

Apostolova, R., Hristova, T. 2021. The post-socialist posted worker: social reproduction and the geography of class struggles. In: Grappi, G. (ed.) Migration and the contested politics of justice: Europe and the global dimension. Routledge.

Hristova, T. 2020. Morbid Mobilities. Identities: Journal for Politics, Gender and Culture17(1), pp.126-135.

Munn, L., Hristova, T., & Magee, L. 2019. Clouded data: Privacy and the promise of encryption. Big Data & Society, 6(1), 1-12.

Hristova, T. 2015. Outsourcing Destination Bulgaria: new patterns of labour migration and the rise of call centres in Bulgaria. In: Apostolova, R., N. Deneva, T. Hristova. Situating Migration in Transition: Temporal, Structural, and Conceptual Transformations of Migrations. Sketches from Bulgaria. Sofia: Collective for Social Interventions. Available at: http://www.rosalux.rs/en/situating-migration-transition

Hristova, T., R. Apostolova, M. Fiedler. 2015. On some methodological issues concerning anti-Dublin politics. movements. Journal for Critical Migration and Border Regime Studies, 1(1). Available at: http://movements-journal.org/issues/01.grenzregime/10.hristova,apostolova,fiedler–dublin-methodology.html

Hristova, T., R. Apostolova , N. Deneva, M. Fiedler. 2014. Trapped in Europe’s Quagmire: The  Situation of Asylum-Seekers and Refugees in Bulgaria. Bordermonitoring. Available at:




2021 Data Ontologies and Organisation in Digital Healthcare. The case of Health Level 7. 4S Annual meeting 6-9 October 2021. Toronto. Panel: Data-based Biomedicine: Legacies, Frictions, Ontologies.

2021 From Function to Feature. Patents and AI in Warehouse Automation (with Anna Munster and Liam Magee). Critical Borders: Radical (Re)visions of AI. 18-21 October 2021. University of Cambridge. Panel: Patents and Geopolitics of AI.

2021 Data  infrastructures,  digital  labour and  the outsourcing  of  medical  diagnostics. The ethics of mHealth  as a global  phenomenon. 27-28 October 2021. Brocher workshop.