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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Digital Ethnography and Spain's indignados movement: research challenges and opportunities

Date: Wednesday 22 October, 10:30am-12pm

Venue: Building 9, Level 3, Room 5A, RMIT City Campus


Since 2011 we have witnessed a long series of waves of protest and mobilisation in many parts of the world, with the Arab Spring, Spain’s indignados, Occupy Wall Street and more recent events in Turkey, Brazil or Hong Kong as some of the better known examples. In this talk we draw from ongoing ethnographic research in Spain to explore the digital media dimensions of the Spanish indignados (15M) movement, with particular reference to (a) the leading role played by internet activists and (b) the movement’s potential for civic education and political change. We also discuss some of the methodological challenges and opportunities involved in the ethnographic study of rapidly changing, digitally mediated social movements.

John Postill is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Media and Communication and a member of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre at RMIT University.  He is currently co-editor of the Anthropology of Media series (Berghahn) and on the editorial board of Anthropology Today published by the Royal Anthropological Institute. He is a member of the Association of Internet Researchers, the European Association of Social Anthropologists and the Media Anthropology Network. Contact: Webpage: media/anthropology

Angel Barbas is a PhD candidate at Spain's National Distance Education University (UNED) where he was awarded a scholarship in 2012. His project is an investigation into new communication practices among Spain's indignados (15M) movement. He is currently visiting RMIT for two months in order to work with Dr John Postill on this topic. Contact:

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How the 'selfie' performs across time and place

Date: Wednesday 15 October, 6-7:30pm

Venue: Centre for Contemporary Photography, 404 George St, Fitzroy, Victoria 3065

Tickets cost $5 and bookings can be made here.

Self-portraiture is hardly novel, but what distinguishes the 'selfie' in a contemporary context? In this collaboration between CCP and the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, the 'selfie' is scrutinised from a range of temporal and cultural contexts and emotions.

Chaired by Professor Stephanie Trigg (University of Melbourne) speakers include Professor Larissa Hjorth (RMIT, DERC), Dr Adam Nash (RMIT, DERC) Natalie Hendry (RMIT, DERC) and Dr Fincina Hopgood (University of Melbourne).

For more information on presenters and papers - as well as other lectures in the series - please follow this link. Proudly presented as part of the Melbourne Festival.

Geert Lovink Masterclass: Issues in Critical Internet Studies

Date: December 15 & 16, 10am-6pm

Venue: RMIT City Campus (Room TBC)

Application Deadline: October 8


Geert Lovink returns to RMIT to facilitate a two-day Critical Internet Cultures Masterclass in the School of Media and Communication. Divided into six sessions, the masterclass will engage a myriad of topics including: 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 individual research proposals can be discussed. Participant places are strictly limited. To be considered for a place in the workshop, please register by completing this form ( 3plfdRhC33s/viewform) no later than October 8th, 2014. Applicants will be notified via invitation by October 22nd, 2014.

Geert Lovink is a Dutch media theorist and net critic. He received his PhD from the University of Melbourne and worked at the University of Queensland as a postdoc. In 2004 he became a researcher at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, where he is founding director of the Institute of Network Cultures. Lovink is author of Dark Fiber (2002), My First Recession (2003), Zero Comments (2007) and Networks without a Cause (2012). Since 2004 his institute has organized (online) publications, conferences and research networks on emerging topics in critical internet culture such as search, social media, Wikipedia, online video and the critique of the creative industries (recent conference: November 20/21 2014 in Amsterdam. URL: He is also Professor at the European Graduate School where he supervises PhD students and an Advisory Board member of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre.

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Lynn Schofield Clark on Radio National

Lynn Schofield Clark, our Visiting Fellow to DERC, appeared on Radio National's Life Matters program on Thursday 6 March, talking new media and families. Listen to the audio on demand.

PhD Scholarship available

EOI closing date: 30 March 2014

This three-year scholarship is for a PhD candidate who will conduct ethnographic field research for a study of the moral and cultural economy of the mobile phone in Fiji. S/he will spend at least 12 months over the three years of candidature in Fiji documenting and analysing the relationships between consumers, companies, and state agents that take shape around mobile phones, digital media and infrastructures. The candidate will carry out research based on his or her specific expertise and research interests while also contributing a key component to a broader comparative study with Papua New Guinea funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grant The Moral and Cultural Economy of the Mobile Phone in the Pacific. The candidate will also become a Postgraduate Member of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre.

Eligible candidates will have a BA with Honours or MA/MsC (Research) in Anthropology, Sociology, Media, Communication, Science and Technology Studies, Informatics/Information or other related discipline. Candidates must be willing to undertake ethnographic fieldwork in Fiji and be willing to learn the language of their fieldwork site. Pending final approval, the Scholarship will include a tax-free stipend of $24,653 per year for three years (July 2014 to June 2016) and project-related research expenses. Please note that all applicants will need to apply for and be accepted to the PhD program in Media and Communication at RMIT University to be eligible for the scholarship. Application details, including details and deadlines for RTS placement for Australian and New Zealand citizens and possible tuition fees for International candidates, can be found here.

Initial expressions of interest, including a CV and 500-word initial project proposal should be sent before 30 March 2014 to Dr. Heather Horst with the subject line PHD Scholarship EOI.

Website for ethical consumption project launched

The website for the ARC Discovery Project ‘The rise of ethical consumption in Australia: from the margins to the mainstream’, which is led by DERC's own Tania Lewis along with Kim Humphery, is now live at This project will be the first of its kind to examine the rise and impact of ethical consumption in Australia.

Most excellent ARC Discovery Grant outcomes!

The two directors of DERC have both been awarded ARC Discovery Grants for two separate innovative and exciting research projects. Along with Professor Robert Foster, Heather is undertaking research that will historically and ethnographically document the broad social consequences of new digital technologies in the Pacific region. You can find out more about this project here. Along with Associate Professor Ingrid Richardson, Larissa is studying how mobile game consumption is reflecting, and being shaped by, complex social and technological practices integral to contemporary life. You can find out more about this project here.

That's DOCTOR Patrick Kelly to you

DERC is very pleased to announce that we have perhaps our first DERC PhD. Patrick Kelly's practice-led project "Detour Off the Superhighway" explored media, aura and filmic practice, and saw him giving up media and communication technology in stages over 80 days.

DERC at EPIC2013

The Digital Ethnography Research Centre had a strong presence at EPIC2013, the leading conference for ethnographic praxis in industry (see, which was held in London 16-18 September. DERC Research Fellow Erin Taylor presented her paper with DERC Director Heather Horst entitled "From Street to Satellite: Mixing Methods To Understand Mobile Money Users" during the opening conference panel. Adjunct Professor and DERC member Daniel Miller gave a keynote entitled "Attaining Humanity" and DERC member Jo Tacchi represented the centre during a workshop entitled "Skills and relationships: defining the training of future practitioners" with participants from Microsoft, Swisscom and Canonical.

Geelab interview with Tom Boellstorff

ARC Linkage Grant success!

We are very pleased to announce that members of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre were the recipients of two Australian Research Council Linkage Grants.

The first project, 'Evaluating communication for development: supporting adaptive and accountable development', is led by DERC Member Prof. Jo Tacchi and is a partnership with United Nations Children’s Fund and Eidos Institute Ltd. (CIs/PIs: Tacchi, Prof Jo A; Rogers, Prof Patricia J; Obregon Galvez, A/Prof Rafael A; Pavarala, Prof Vinod; Muirhead, Prof Bruce D. $606,462.00)

The second funded project, 'Locating the mobile: intergenerational locative media practices in Tokyo, Melbourne and Shanghai', is led by DERC Co-Director A/Prof. Larissa Hjorth and is a partnership with Keio University, Tokyo, Fudan University and Intel Australia Pty Ltd. DERC Co-Director Dr. Heather Horst and DERC member Prof. Sarah Pink are also CIs on the project. (CIs/PIs: Hjorth, A/Prof Larissa; Horst, Dr Heather A; Pink, Prof Sarah; Bell, Dr Genevieve; Zhou, A/Prof Baohua; Kato, Dr Fumitoshi, $232,160.00)

We look forward to supporting DERC applications in future rounds!

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Research centre to push digital boundaries.