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

May 13th

Public coupling: Imageries of domestic intimacy among Influencers on social media

This presentation investigates some of the early discourse and imageries staged, circulated, and contested in the life course of Singaporean romantic relationships including homemaking in third spaces, the materiality of love tokens, and the spectacle of dating milestones.

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May 11th

From Dodgeball to Geotagging: A Locative Media Masterclass with Lee Humphreys

This masterclass will draw on two of Lee’s readings to discuss the use of mobile media as well as issues of surveillance. The goal of the discussion is to draw connections to various streams of research related to media identity, social interaction, and publicness.

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May 6th

3D Disability: Remaking Digital Technology and Culture

Decades in the making, in recent years 3D printing has emerged on the scene as a sought after and transformational technology. A common way that 3D printing is represented and talked about involves disability — but as yet it has received little critical attention. How can 3D printing be a resource in imagining disability — and society — differently, given that technology and design is so pivotal to contemporary social life and belonging? And what kind of research — including digital ethnographies — might we articulate and activate for such socio-technical transformations?

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Featured Project: Work-life ecologies: lifestyle, sustainability, practices

Tania Lewis, Yolande Strengers and Andrew Glover

A part of the Sustainable Urban Precincts Program (SUPP), RMIT

This project aims to understand staff and students' broader lifestyles as part of a work-life ecology, occurring a cross a range of spaces, both physical and virtual. Of particular focus is the relatedness of these practices to the consumption of energy and water resources, and the opportunities for integrating sustainability into these in a holistic way. In this respect, the research recognizes that RMIT is embedded into a range of socio-technical systems that extend beyond it's own 'carbon footprint'. This requires novel and innovative ways of understanding how resource use straddles the boundaries of RMIT as a social institution, digital hub ,and urban space.

The project will identify and describe a range of everyday practices that are amenable to being investigated in this way, and attempt to identify potential avenues for shifting these practices to less resource intensive configurations. Such practices include:

Heating and cooling: the ways in which staff and students achieve comfort within selected buildings.

Eating and drinking: the ways in which staff and students use RMIT buildings to store, prepare and consume food and beverages.

Working/ studying: the ways in which RMIT staff and students use buildings to conduct their day-to-day working activities, such as printing documents, preparing documents, and communicating with staff and students.

Travelling to/ from work: the ways in which RMIT staff and students travel to/ from work and the facilities they draw upon within buildings (e.g. showers, bike storage).

Meetings (on campus): the ways in which staff and students meet on campus, including the locations in which meetings take place (cafes, offices, meeting rooms etc.) and the ways in which these practices are mediated by buildings.

Meetings (off campus): the ways in which staff and students meet with external colleagues and partners, including by phone, plane or other forms of transport.

Featured Publication: A revolution in an eggcup? Supermarket wars, celebrity chefs, and ethical consumption

Tania Lewis and Alison Huber

Food, Culture and Society

This article examines the role of celebrity chefs and other non-state actors in the heated and highly politicized environment of ethical and sustainable consumption. Focusing on the media campaigns of the two major supermarkets and their attempt to rebrand themselves through ethical associations with celebrity chefs and animal welfare groups, the article discusses the complex entanglement between food politics, discourses of branding, the media and supermarkets in Australia. We suggest that the mainstreaming of ethical concerns cannot be understood simply as a consumer movement or indeed purely as an extension of market logics; rather, it is articulated to and implicated in broader changes in relation to the political and social role and status of corporate players, non-state actors and questions of lifestyle politics in shaping the future of food systems, policy and regulation.



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