The Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC) fosters cross-cultural, interdisciplinary and multi-sited research, especially in relation to the Asia-Pacific region. Through research and critical engagement, we collectively seek to push the boundaries and possibilities of ethnographic practice in, through and around digital media. DERC is a research centre in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University, affiliated with the Design Research Institute. Read more about digital ethnography. Sign up for our mailing list.

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What's On

September 22

Design + Ethnography + Futures workshop 4: Speculative design through food

What can we learn about our habits, values, culture, systems, environment and futures through food? Led by the sadly missed ex-DERC member, Helen Addison-Smith, she will lead us through a 3hr workshop through making, sharing and eating food as a way to explore some of the deeper questions that confronts as well as motivate what we do. Be prepared to get your hands dirty, challenge your boundaries through intimacy, and how an "ethnography of ingestion" may offer new ways of thinking and doing!

Places are limited. Please email to book.

August 20

Onlife ethnography: researching technologically mediated worlds

This paper presents some general thoughts about digital ethnography via reflection on the author's fifteen years of experience doing ethnographic work with digital objects before engaging with the notion of onlife ethnography - a concept that is meant to elucidate the complexities at the heart of doing research with digital technologies and their users.

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July 18 - August 14

Spatial Dialogues

Spatial Dialogues investigates the environmental and cultural significance of water in Melbourne, Shanghai and Tokyo. The video, sound, site-specific installation and online gaming works draw attention to cross-cultural dialogues about water, its relationship to climate change and how these impact on urban and regional ecologies.

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Featured Project: Locating the Mobile - Intergenerational Locative Media Practices in Tokyo, Melbourne and Shanghai

Larissa Hjorth, Heather Horst, Sarah Pink, Genevieve Bell, Baohua Zhao and Fumitoshi Kato

Intel and RMIT University

Funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant, LP130100848

Mobile devices play an increasingly important role in the economic, cultural and social lives of Australians, as they do the lives of what are now billions of users worldwide. The locative capacities of these devices are now widely exploited in applications (i.e. Facebook Places) that can provide users information about their surrounds and provide others information about where the user is located. These practices have implications for privacy and surveillance across public and private, local and regional contexts. 'Locating the Mobile' provides the first cross-cultural and intergenerational study of this phenomenon in three key sites (Tokyo, Shanghai and Melbourne). This project is a partnership between Larissa Hjorth (RMIT), Heather Horst (RMIT), Sarah Pink (RMIT), Genevieve Bell (Intel), Baohua Zhao (Fudan University) and Fumitoshi Kato (Keio University).


Featured Publication: Gaming in Social, Locative and Mobile Media


The convergence of online social media, location-based services, mobile apps and games is transforming the way we communicate with each other and participate in media spaces. Gaming in Social, Locative and Mobile Media explores this complex dynamic of platforms and interfaces, reflecting on some of the social, personal and political dimensions of the 'playful turn' in contemporary culture. Drawing on ethnographic case studies across the Asia-Pacific region, Larissa Hjorth and Ingrid Richardson consider how mobile social media are changing our experience of place, mobility, intimacy and sociality, both in the context of quotidian life and across geographic regions. Through the lens of everyday practices, and adapting a range of concepts and theoretical perspectives from media, communication and game studies, the authors think critically about how locative, mobile, social and 'playful' media are reshaping our experience of the world and ourselves as cultural beings.



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