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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Postdoctoral Research Associate: Digital and Social Change

Applications close June 22, 2015

An excellent opportunity to build your career and become a key member of the research development team at RMIT Europe, the Postdoctoral Research Associate will assist RMIT Europe and RMIT’s College of Design and Social Context to develop digital and social change research, aligning DSC strength and growth areas with European opportunities, strategically positioning RMIT in key EU networks and developing and maintaining profile-raising collaborative relationships. The position will also work on joint publications and European funding bids.

Applicants must to hold a PhD in a relevant field and have demonstrated experience in collaboratively managing, planning and conducting quality research and research development in the field of digital and social change research. An emerging track record and recognition for quality research outputs a well as relevant knowledge, understanding and experience in ethnographic research is required. Excellent interpersonal and communications skills and a strong commitment to teamwork and multidisciplinary collaboration will ensure your success in this role.

Full position details and further information on applying can be found through the respective links. Please be aware that applications close June 22, 2015 and late applications will not be accepted

For more information and confidential queries, please contact Professor Jo Tacchi at

June 16th

Why We Post

This talk will present the results of a large scale project in digital ethnography comprised of nine simultaneous 15 month ethnographies in eight countries looking at the use and consequences of social media. What in the light of this work can we say about contemporary social media and why we post, is there a general history of Facebook, and how in turn can studying social media help us in the larger task of understanding the contemporary world and what it is to be human?

Download a PDF flyer for this event

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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