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Date: Tuesday 30 April 2013
Time: 4.00 – 7.00pm
Venue: RMIT Design Hub lecture theatre, corner of Victoria and Swanston Streets, Melbourne
Join world-renowned ethnographic filmmaker David MacDougall and British ethnographer, researcher and author Sarah Pink in an exploration of ethnographic film practices.
Free, but places are strictly limited.
Mobile Media Ethnographies Workshop
Date: Saturday 25 May
Time: 11.00am – 3.00pm
Venue: Research Lounge, Building 8, level 5, RMIT City Campus
Presented by Heather Horst and Larissa Hjorth
Preparation for the workshop:
- Students are required to read three four articles on camera phone, mobile gaming and ethnography. We will be conducting a series of in-class exercises that assume that you have read the articles.
- Students need to bring along an A4 paper with two camera phone pictures describing where, when and why they were taken and shared. Do not put your name on them. These will be distributed in class as the first in-class exercise.
- BRING YOUR MOBILE PHONES
- Camera phone exercise in groups of 2-3 students: Bring along an A4 paper with two camera phone pictures describing where, when and why they were taken and shared. Do not put your name on them. These will be distributed in class as the first in-class exercise.
- ‘Big games’ exercise in groups. Each group devises a game that involves mobility, place and play. The ideas are voted upon in the general group and then played.
Structure of workshop:
- “Getting to know you” via material cultures
- Outline of the historical and interdisciplinary evolution of mobile communication to mobile media; how mobile media can be understood as a set of practices, artefacts and as a research tool; and the relationship between ethnography and mobile media.
- Camera phone exercise
- ‘Big games’ exercise in groups.
- Kato, F. (2013) ‘Learning with mobile phones as research tools’, in G. Goggin and L. Hjorth’s (eds) The Routledge Companion to Mobile Media, London: Routledge.
- Horst et al. (2012) ‘Rethinking Ethnography’, MIA, 145: 1-8.
- Sun, W. (2012) ‘Amateur Photography as Self-Ethnography: China’s Rural Migrant Workers and the Question of Digital-Political Literacy’, MIA, 145.
- Okabe, D. & Ito, M. (2006) ‘Everyday Contexts of Camera Phone Use’, in Höflich, J. & Hartmann, M. Eds. Mobile Communication in Everyday Life: An Ethnographic View. Berlin: Frank & Timme.
- De Souza E Silva, A. & L. Hjorth (2009) ‘Playful Urban Spaces: A Historical Approach to Mobile Games’, Simulation & Gaming, 40(5): 602-625.
Please note: Ethnography is not just a type of practice drawing from sociology, anthropology and cultural studies, it is also a type of theoretical lens or frame in which to think about reflexive knowledge production.
Postgraduate Masterclass: Fantastic Ethnography and Speculative Design
Date: Wednesday 3 July, 2013
Time: 10.00am – 3.00pm
Venue: Building 9, Level 3, Room 7
Ethnographers have long grappled with questions of empiricism, cultural representation and performance, but these debates almost exclusively maintain the assumption that ethnography is, and should remain, a realist endeavour. Even ethnographic fictions are expected to resemble stories that could actually have happened, or might actually have been uncovered through ethnographic research. But what could ethnography become, and do, if it maintained its interest in partial truths but was not bound by realist aesthetics? What could the subjects—and objects—of ethnography become? And by moving beyond the literal writing of culture, what worlds could we make?
Raymond Williams wrote on science fiction as a form of “space anthropology” and Ursula K. Le Guin has created anthropologically rich fantasy worlds that offer pointed cultural critiques. Le Guin also argues that fantasy is valuable precisely because it dares to put the nonhuman on “equal footing” with the human, and that it seeks to “assert and explore a larger reality than we now allow ourselves…that there is somewhere else, anywhere else, where other people may live another kind of life.” Similarly, speculative designers are interested in creating and exploring alternate worlds. UK-based designers Dunne and Raby practice “critical design,” which takes inspiration from 1960s avant-garde architecture and design, and seeks to question today’s status quo. Critical or speculative design “rejects how things are now as being the only possibility [and] provides a critique of the prevailing situation through [material] designs that embody alternative social, cultural, technical or economic values.”
Using examples from speculative fiction and design, this postgraduate masterclass will explore what making things and making things up can, and cannot, offer the practice of ethnography. In particular, we will look at what fantastic ethnography and speculative design can bring to our understanding of complex cultural issues and the decline of human exceptionalism.
Dr Anne Galloway is Senior Lecturer in Design Research at Victoria University of Wellington. Trained in sociology and anthropology, Anne’s work focusses on emergent media technologies and the importance of human/nonhuman relations in processes and products of cultural (re)production. Since 2011 she has been leading a NZ Royal Society Marsden Fund project that combines ethnographic methods and speculative design practices to explore possible futures for ubiquitous computing, mobile media and livestock farming. When not hanging out with sheep, Anne fights with her cat over who gets to play video games on the iPad. She can also be found at www.designculturelab.org and on Twitter @annegalloway.
Paul Collins, “You and Your Dumb Friends”