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.

October 9

Digital Ethnography Design Workshop

How do ethnographers engage with the changing form of culture as it becomes increasingly mediated by digital ethnology? This workshop led by Dr. Wendy Hsu explores emerging digital methods for collecting, analyzing, visualizing, and narrativizing ethnographic materials. Introducing the utility of digital tools and computational approaches for ethnographic inquiries, Wendy will discuss the affordances (and limitations) of the digital extensions of participant-observation followed by a speculative research design lab where participants explore touch points with the digital in the their own research processes.

Download a PDF flyer for this event.

December 15 & 16, 10am-6pm

(Application deadline October 1)

Issues in Critical Internet Studies

Geert Lovink will facilitate a Critical Internet Cultures Masterclass in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. Divided into six sessions, the masterclass will engage with the state of arts net criticism, critical social media research, cultures of searching, Wikileaks-Anonymous-Snowdon and other net activist strategies, revenue models for the arts (from crowdfunding to bitcoin), book 2.0 and digital publishing strategies, Wikipedia research and the politics and aesthetics of online video. The masterclass includes a 20 minute, one-on-one conversation in which research proposals can be discussed.

Applications close October 1st. Please follow this link to apply.

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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