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DERC

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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Director

 

Sarah Pink is the incoming Director of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre and Professor of Design and Media Ethnography at RMIT University. Sarah’s approach brings together digital ethnography and design to engage with contemporary issues and challenges through a dialogue between applied and academic research and practice. She works with academic and industry research partners internationally. Her core research expertise is in: digital technologies in everyday life; environmental sustainability; consumer improvisation; safety; and human experience and perception. Sarah is also an international leader in innovative digital, visual and sensory research and dissemination methodologies. Recent methodological books include Digital Ethnography: principles and practice (co-authored, 2016), Doing Sensory Ethnography (2015), and Doing Visual Ethnography (2013). Public dissemination projects include the Energy and Digital Living web site energyanddigitalliving.com (2014) and co-authored Un/Certainty iBook. She currently works across several projects focusing on digital technologies, privacy, body monitoring and safety funded by the Australian Research Council, RJ Foundation (Sweden), and EU Horizon 2020. Sarah is also Visiting Professor in Applied Cultural Analysis at the Swedish Centre for Applied Cultural Analysis, Halmstad University, Sweden, and Visiting Professor in Social Sciences at the Schools of Design and School of Civil and Building Engineering at Loughborough University, UK, and co-Director of the Future Anthropologies Network of the European Association of Social Anthropologists. Contact: sarah.pink@rmit.edu.au.

 

Core Members

Marsha Berry is the program manager for the creative writing degree in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. She is co-editor of the book, Mobile Media Making in an Age of Smartphones (2014), Palgrave MacMillan. Marsha supervises postgraduate research students across a range of topics concerned with new media arts, narrative, creative writing and mobility. Since 2004, she has been researching the connections between mobile media, place, memory, collaboration and creative practices and has published her work extensively in prestigious international journals such as New Media and Society and New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing as well as in edited books. She is also a writer and artist whose practice includes filmmaking, participatory art projects, and poetry. Links:  http://poetry4u.org  http://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9781137482655 Contact: marsha.berry@rmit.edu.au

Shelley Brunt is a Senior Lecturer in Music and Media in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University, and served as DERC’s node leader for ‘Emergent Media Practices’ during 2014 and 2015. She is currently the editor of Perfect Beat: The Asia-Pacific Journal of Research into Contemporary Music and Popular Culture. As a popular music ethnomusicologist, Shelley focuses on ethnographic approaches to music and media topics and has a particular interest in the music cultures of Japan, New Zealand and Australia. One of her long-running research projects is an examination of identity, community and gender in Japan’s televised Red and White Song Contest (紅白歌合戦).Other studies include the analysis of posthumous duets, where a living singer is paired with a deceased singer generated by digital means, and the cultural and educational value of web-based interactive musical instruments. Her forthcoming publications include the co-edited Made in Australia and New Zealand: Studies in Popular Music (Routledge, 2017, with Geoff Stahl). Contact: shelley.brunt@rmit.edu.au NOTE: Shelley is on maternity leave for 2016

Adrian Dyer researches complexity by employing visual modelling of many real world scenarios of high value to human existence. A major focus is on digital imaging to collect high quality empirical data to allow for robust analyses and model validation, and working with a variety of domain experts to construct digital representations of complex behaviours to interpret relationships of primary importance for resource management. One major focus is plant-pollinator interactions that have important implications for reliable food production for human consumption, environmental management, and how efficient visual solutions may be applied to digital technologies. However, the mapping of such complex system behaviours also has broad implication across many human activities, and this multi-disciplinary approach focusses on building teams to answer new questions that in a modern world often lie between classical areas human knowledge.  This work thus involves a broad set of international collaborations for which he has attracted widespread funding support, won several prestigious Fellowships (Alexander von Humboldt, La Trobe University, ARC QEII), and resulted in publications in the world’s leading journals like Nature. Contact: adrian.dyer@rmit.edu.au

Jair Garcia researches how vision operates in complex environments. Nearly everything we do centres around some form of visual processing of information, but surprisingly, little is currently known about how vision operates in complex environments when there is a lot of distracting information that can lead to costly mistakes. With the recent rapid advances in digital imaging it is now become possible to capture high quality linearized representations of complex scenes, and robustly analyse how these are visually processed, and subsequently interpreted by individuals. Using eye tracking equipment it then enables an understanding of how visual search and decision making operate when viewing custom digital images modelling different observers, with broad implications for understanding design in a complex and rapidly changing world. Contact: jair.garcia@rmit.edu.au 

Andrew Glover is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Media & Communications at RMIT. He currently works in the Sustainable Urban Precincts Project (SUPP), researching academic air travel, mobility, and remote presence as part of contemporary academic work life ecology. More broadly, his research interests lie in sustainability, theories of practice, consumption, reuse, and waste. Prior to his current research at RMIT, Andrew completed his Phd at the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures on the topic of household material divestment. He is a member of the Australian Sociological Association. Contact: andrew.glover2@rmit.edu.au 

Edgar Gómez Cruz is a Vice-Chancellor Research Fellow at the DERC. He has published widely on a number of topics relating to digital communications, particularly in the areas of digital photography, digital culture, ethnography and visual culture. His recent publications include the book (in Spanish) From Kodak Culture to Networked Image: An Ethnography of Digital Photography Practices, a co-edited volume with Asko Lehmuskallio: Digital Photography and Everyday Life. Empirical Studies on Material Visual Practices (Routledge, 2016) and several articles on digital photography and ethnography. Edgar’s current research investigates screen-based practices, citizenship and expertise, which is funded through RCUK and Vice Chancellor research grants. His email is edgar.gomez@rmit.edu.au 

Larissa Hjorth is an artist and digital ethnographer interested in mobile media and play. Hjorth’s books include Mobile Media in the Asia-Pacific (2009), Games & Gaming (2010), Online@AsiaPacific (2013), Understanding Social Media (2013), Gaming in Social, Locative and Mobile Media (2014), Digital Ethnography (2016) and Screen Ecologies (2016). Research projects include Locating the Mobile: http://locatingthemobile.net/ and Games of Being Mobile: http://gamesofbeingmobile.com/ Contact: larissa.hjorth@rmit.edu.au

Heather Horst is Professor and Director of Research Partnerships in the College of Design and Social Context at RMIT University, Australia. She was also Founding Director (2012-2015) of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre. Heather's research focuses upon understanding how digital technologies, mobile phones and other forms of material culture mediate relationships, learning, and mobility. These themes are reflected in her publications which include The Cell Phone: An Anthropology of Communication (Horst and Miller 2006, Berg), Living and Learning with Digital Media: Findings from the Digital Youth Project (Ito, Horst, et al. 2009, MIT Press), Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with Digital Media (Ito, et al. 2010, MIT Press), Digital Ethnography: Principles and Practices (Pink, Horst, et al, 2016, Sage) and an edited book Digital Anthropology (Horst and Miller 2013, Berg), which was recently translated into Chinese and Arabic.  Her current research, funded by the Australian Research Council, the European Union Horizon 20/20 Programme and industry partners, explores transformations in the mobile telecommunications industry and the emergence of mobile, social and locative media practices across the Asia-Pacific region. Contact: heather.horst@rmit.edu.au (January 2016)

 

Tania Lewis is Deputy Dean of Research and Innovation and an Associate Professor in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. Her research focuses broadly on questions of lifestyle, sustainability and consumption, and on global media cultures. Her books include Smart Living: Lifestyle Media and Popular Expertise and Telemodernities: Television and Transforming Lives in Asia (forthcoming with Duke University Press and co-authored with Fran Martin and Wanning Sun). She is also a co-author (with Sarah Pink et al) of Digital Ethnography: Principles and Practices and editor and co-editor of 4 collections with Routledge, TV Transformations, Ethical Consumption, Green Asia and Lifestyle Media in Asia. She is a chief investigator on the ARC discovery project, ‘Ethical Consumption: From the Margins to the Mainstream’ and on the three-year project ‘Work-life ecologies: lifestyle, sustainability, practices’, funded by RMIT’s Sustainable Urban Precincts Project. She is also currently conducting research on household digital media practices for KPMG. Contact: tania.lewis@rmit.edu.au

Jessica Noske-Turner is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. Her research interests focus on media, communication and development. She currently contributes to two ARC-funded Linkage projects: 'Evaluating communication for development: supporting adaptive and accountable development', which is being undertaken in partnership with UNICEF (NY) the Eidos Institute (Aus), and the UNESCO Chair in Community Media at the University of Hyderabad, India; and 'Mobilising Media for Sustainable Outcomes in the Pacific Region', which partners with ABC International Development. Jessica’s recently completed PhD thesis similarly focused on effective evaluation practices for media assistance initiatives with a particular focus on the Cambodian Communication Assistance Project (CCAP) being managed by ABC International Development and funded by Australian Aid-DFAT. Contact: jessica.noske-turner@rmit.edu.au.

John Postill (PhD, UCL) is Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow at RMIT University, Melbourne, and Digital Anthropology Fellow at University College London (UCL). His publications include Localizing the Internet (2011), Media and Nation Building (2006) and the co-edited volume Theorising Media and Practice (2010, with Birgit Bräuchler). Currently he is writing a book provisionally titled Freedom Technologists: Digital Activism and Political Change in the Early 21st Century, and the co-edited volume Theorising Media and Change (with Elisenda Ardèvol and Sirpa Tenhunen). Contactjohn.postill@rmit.edu.au.  Webpage:media/anthropology 

Jolynna Sinanan is a Vice Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Media and Communications at RMIT. From 2011 - 2014, she was a Research Fellow in Anthropology at University College London with the Global Social Media Impact Study, which compared uses of social media across 8 countries. She is currently finishing Social Media in Trinidad (Forthcoming, UCL Press) and is the co-author of How the World Changed Social Media (Costa et al., Forthcoming, UCL Press), Visualising Facebook (Forthcoming, UCL Press) and Webcam (2014, Polity) with Daniel Miller. Jolynna's current research focuses on inter-generational uses of digital devices in Melbourne homes as part of the DERC project Locating the Mobile.Jolynna completed her PhD in Arts at the University of Melbourne and her thesis examined engagement with development programs by 'beneficiaries', drawing on case studies that centred on microfinance and the trafficking of women in Cambodia. Contact: jolynna.sinanan@rmit.edu.au 

Supriya Singh is Professor, Sociology of Communications at the Graduate School of Business and Law, RMIT University. Her work focuses on how communication and money shape each other. She has researched this in the areas of banking, migration, the transnational family and the user centred design of information and communication technologies. Her current projects involve the ethnographic study of the use of Bitcoin (with Heather Horst, Greg Adamson and Alexia Maddox) and money, gender and family violence (with Marg Liddell, Elena Campbell and Jasvinder Sidhu). She also co-leads the Asia@RMIT initiative at RMIT University. Her books include Money, Migration and Family: India to Australia (forthcoming), Globalization and Money: A Global South Perspective (2013), Marriage Money: The Social Shaping of Money in Marriage and BankingThe Bankers: Australia’s Leading Bankers Talk about Banking TodayBank Negara Malaysia: The First 25 Years, 1959-1984 and On the Sulu Sea. Contact: supriya.singh@rmit.edu.au 

Jo Tacchi is a Professor and Director of Research and Innovation and Deputy to the Executive Director of RMIT Europe in Barcelona. She is trained as a social anthropologist and researches media, communication, development and social change, the senses and emotions, and everyday digital life. She has led a number of multi country projects with partners such as UNESCO, UNICEF, Intel and KPMG, attracting $5m in research funding. She has worked mostly in South Asia. Her most recent books are Evaluating Communication for Development: A Framework for Social Change (2013), Routledge and Digital Ethnography: Principles and Practices (2015), Sage. Email:jo.tacchi@rmit.edu.au

Emma Witkowski joined RMIT as a lecturer in the Games Program in 2013. She received her PhD in Game Studies in 2012, taking a qualitative exploration of networked high performance play, considered through a lens of sociology and phenomenology, sports and game studies. She has been working in the field of computer game cultures since 2005, the same year she co-founded the Danish state and privately funded initiative Letzplay, a project aimed at increasing women’s and girls access to ICT’s and computer gaming knowledge. Her current research looks at various aspects of computer game cultures, from issues in competitive e-sports to the computer game playing practices of young men in juvenile facilities. She has written and presented on topics such as gender and games, e-sports competitions, Mega-LANs, serious leisure, exer-game running aesthetics, and the phenomenology of high-performance networked teams. Contact: emma.witkowski@rmit.edu.au Webpage: emmawitkowski.com

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Adjunct Professors

Nick Couldry is a sociologist of media and culture. He is Professor of Media, Communications and Social Theory at the London School of Economics and was previously Professor of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author or editor of eleven books including Ethics of Media (Palgrave MacMillan, 2013), Media, Society, World (Polity 2012) and Why Voice Matters (Sage 2010). He has led funded research on citizens ‘public connection’ (see http://publicconnection.org.uk/) and on story exchange in community engagement (http://www.firm-innovation.net/portfolio-of-projects/storycircle/). He is currently with Andreas Hepp working on a new book on the mediated construction of reality. Nick can be contacted here.

Daniel Miller is an Adjunct Professor of Media and Communication at RMIT University (2013-2016) and Professor of Material Culture in the Department of Anthropology at University College London, UK. He has published over 30 books including Digital Anthropology (with H. Horst, eds, Berg, 2012), Tales from Facebook (Polity Press, 2011), Migration and New Media: Transnationalism and Polymedia (with M. Madianou, Routledge, 2011), The Cell Phone: An Anthropology of Communication (with H. Horst, Berg, 2006) and The Internet: An Ethnographic Approach (with Don Slater, Berg, 2000). Other recent books include Blue Jeans (with S. Woodward, University of California Press, 2011), Consumption and Its Consequences (Polity Press, 2012) and Stuff (Polity Press, 2009). Professor Miller has received numerous honours in recognition to his contribution to anthropology, including the Henry Lewis Morgan Lectures (the most prestigious lecture series in Anthropology) and the Rivers Memorial Medal awarded by the Royal Anthropological Institute. He is also an Elected Fellow of the British Academy. He is currently carrying out research on a five-year study of social networking sites funded by the European Research Council. Contact d.miller@ucl.ac.uk

Advisory Board

Dr. Genevieve Bell is an Australian-born anthropologist and researcher. As director of User Interaction and Experience in Intel Labs, Bell leads a research team of social scientists, interaction designers, human factors engineers and computer scientists. This team shapes and helps create new Intel technologies and products that are increasingly designed around people's needs and desires. In this team and her prior roles, Bell has fundamentally altered the way Intel envisions and plans its future products so that they are centered on people's needs rather than simply silicon capabilities. In addition to leading this increasingly important area of research at Intel, Bell is an accomplished industry pundit on the intersection of culture and technology. She is a regular public speaker and panelist at technology conferences worldwide, sharing myriad insights gained from her extensive international field work and research. Her first book, Divining the Digital Future: Mess and Mythology in Ubiquitous Computing, was co-written with Prof. Paul Dourish of the University of California at Irvine and released in April 2011. In 2010, Bell was named one of Fast Company's inaugural '100 Most Creative People in Business.' She also is the recipient of several patents for consumer electronics innovations. 

Tom Boellstorff is Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine; from 2007–2012 he was Editor-in-Chief of American Anthropologist, the flagship journal of the American Anthropological Association. He is the author of many articles and the books The Gay Archipelago (Princeton University Press, 2005); A Coincidence of Desires (Duke University Press, 2007); and Coming of Age in Second Life (Princeton University Press, 2008). He is also the coauthor of Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: a Handbook of Method (Princeton University Press, 2012). With Bill Maurer, he is Series Editor for the Princeton Studies in Culture and Technology (Princeton University Press). 

Paul Dourish is a Professor of Informatics in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at UC Irvine, with courtesy appointments in Computer Science and Anthropology, and co-directs the Intel Science and Technology Center for Social Computing. His research focuses primarily on understanding information technology as a site of social and cultural production; his work combines topics in human-computer interaction, ubiquitous computing, and science and technology studies. He has published over 100 scholarly articles, and was elected to the CHI Academy in 2008 in recognition of his contributions to Human-Computer Interaction. He is the author of two books: Where the Action Is: The Foundations of Embodied Interaction (MIT Press, 2001), which explores how phenomenological accounts of action can provide an alternative to traditional cognitive analysis for understanding the embodied experience of interactive and computational systems; and, with Genevieve Bell, Divining a Digital Future: Mess and Mythology in Ubiquitous Computing (MIT Press, 2011), which examines the social and cultural aspects of the ubiquitous computing research program.Before coming to UCI, he was a Senior Member of Research Staff in the Computer Science Laboratory of Xerox PARC; he has also held research positions at Apple Computer and at Rank Xerox EuroPARC. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from University College, London, and a B.Sc. (Hons) in Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science from the University of Edinburgh.

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. 

Gerard Goggin is Professor of Media and Communication at the University of Sydney. He has a longstanding interest in digital technology and culture, especially in the area of mobile phones and mobile media, Internet, and disability.  Gerard's books include Locative Media (2014; with Rowan Wilken), New Technologies and the Media (2012), Global Mobile Media (2011), Cell Phone Culture (2006), Digital Disability (2003; with Christopher Newell), and with, Larissa Hjorth, Routledge Companion to Mobile Media (2014) and Mobile Technology: From Telecommunications to Media (2009). 

Mary L. Gray is a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research New England and an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and Culture, with adjunct appointments in American Studies, Anthropology, and Gender Studies at Indiana University. Her research looks at what difference digital media make among people with limited access to it and how everyday uses of media shape people's understandings of themselves and the world around them. She is the author of In Your Face: Stories from the Lives of Queer Youth (1999). Her most recent book, Out in the Country: Youth, Media, and Queer Visibility in Rural America (NYU Press) examines how young people in rural parts of the United States fashion queer senses of gender and sexual identity and the role that media, particularly the internet, play in their lives and political work. Mary is currently working on a comparative ethnography of crowdsourced labor. She's examining the politics and platform responsibilities of digitally distributed labor done by workers in India and the United States. 

Geert Lovink, a preeminent media theorist and net critic, is the founder and director of the renowned Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam and author of the books Dark Fiber (2002), My First Recession (2003), Zero Comments (2007) and Networks without a Cause (2012).Geert Lovink received his PhD from the University of Melbourne and lived for four years in Australia. He is Professor at the European Graduate School, researcher at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, where he is founding director of the Institute of Network Cultures. Up until June, 2013 he was also Associate Professor in Media Studies (new media) at the University of Amsterdam. Since 2004 his institute has organized(online) publications, conferences and research networks on emerging topics in critical internet culture such as search, social media, internet currencies, Wikipedia, online video and the critique of the creative industries. 

T.L. Taylor is Associate Professor in Comparative Media Studies at MIT. She is a qualitative sociologist working in the fields of internet and game studies. Her work focuses on the interrelation between culture, social practice, and technology in online leisure environments. She has spoken and written on topics such as network play and social life, values in design, intellectual property, co-creative practices, avatars, and gender & gaming. Her most recent research explores the professionalization of computer game play, examining the developing scene of high-end competitive play, spectatorship, and the growing institutionalization of e-sports. Her book Raising the Stakes:E-Sports and the Professionalization of Computer Gaming (MIT Press, 2012) chronicles the rise of e-sports and professional computer gaming. She is also the author of Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture (MIT Press, 2006) which used her multi-year ethnography of EverQuest to explore issues related to massively multiplayer online games. Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method, her co-authored book on doing ethnographic research in online multi-user worlds, was recently published by Princeton University Press.

Nina Wakeford is Director of INCITE (Incubator for Critical Inquiry into Technology and Ethnography), Reader in Sociology and ESRC Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths College in the University of London. Her previous research projects include studies of Internet cafes, women's discussions lists and the use of ethnography by new technology designers. Amongst her publications are papers on virtual methodologies, queer identities, digital communities and public Internet access provision. Along with colleagues at INCITE she is interested in the ways in which collaborations can be forged between ethnographers and those from other disciplines, such as engineering and computer science. She is particularly concerned with the ways in which critical social and cultural theory can play a part in the design process, including the challenges which feminist and queer theories pose to collaborative projects between designers and sociologists, as well as technology studies. 

Visiting Fellows 

Héctor Puente Bienvenido (Madrid, 1987) is Research Assistant and PhD candidate at Complutense University of Madrid (Spain), Sociology Department. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Sociology (with honours) and a Master´s Degree in Methodology of Research in Social Sciences. Since 2009 he has carried out research on game studies and game culture, cultural emergence in video games, players, styles of play and applied methodology of research (virtual ethnography). He has been visiting Scholar in Georgia Institute of Technology (GaTech, USA) and IT University of Copenhagen (Denmark). He will be visiting DERC in early 2014. You can find his profile at http://ucm.academia.edu/H%C3%A9ctorPuenteBienvenido. Contact:hector.puentebienvenido@gmail.com.

Tom Boellstorff was a Visiting Fellow with DERC in 2013. Read more about him or watch an interview with Tom. 

Lynn Schofield Clark is Professor in the Department of Media, Film, and Journalism Studies and Director of the Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media at the University of Denver. In 2014, she will be serving as a Visiting Fellow with the Digital Ethnography Research Centre at RMIT, and as Visiting Professor at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. Clark is author of The Parent App: Understanding Families in a Digital Age (Oxford University Press, 2012), From Angels to Aliens: Teenagers, the Media, and the Supernatural (Oxford University Press, 2005, winner of the Best Scholarly Book Award from the National Communication Association’s Ethnography division), and co-author of Media, Home, and Family (Routledge, 2004). She also edited Media, Religion, and the Marketplace (Rutgers U Press, 2007) and co-edited Practicing Religion in the Age of the Media (Columbia University Press, 2002) and has served as a guest editor for numerous journal special issues. She serves as a blogger contributor at Psychology Today. In 2012, Clark was named the University of Denver’s Service Learning Scholar of the Year, recognizing her youth participatory action research that brings University of Denver students together with students at nearby South High school, which is Denver’s most culturally diverse school with more than 60 language groups and 40 countries represented in its student body. She is currently coauthoring a book titled Young People and the Future of News, which explores the intersecting technological and demographic changes in the U.S. and their implications for the future.

Robert Willim is Associate Professor of European Ethnology in the Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, Lund University, Sweden. As a cultural analyst and artists, Willem’s research primarily deals with themes like digital and material culture as well as cultural economy, and he has also examined the interplay between art and science. His music and artworks are related to his practices as a cultural analyst and ethnographer, and the works often emanate from research questions. Recently he has been dealing with notions of electronic ethnographic surrealism. More info: www.robertwillim.com/ Twitter: @robertwillim
 
Robert Foster has done research in Papua New Guinea since 1984. He has been a visiting professor at the Australian National University and at L’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. His current research interests include globalization, corporations, commercial media, museums and material culture. His research has been supported by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, the Australian-American Educational Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Spencer Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is the author of Social Reproduction and History in Melanesia (Cambridge 1995) and Materializing the Nation: Commodities, Consumption and Media in Papua New Guinea (Indiana 2002), and the editor of Nation Making: Emerging Identities in Postcolonial Melanesia (Michigan 2005).  His most recent book is titled Coca-Globalization: Following Soft Drinks from New York to New Guinea (Palgrave Macmillan 2008).
Martin Berg is senior lecturer in sociology and researcher at the Swedish centre for applied social and cultural analysis (SCACA) at Halmstad University, Sweden. He has undertaken corporate post-doctoral research in the creative industries with a particular focus on the mediatization of everyday life. Currently, he is involved in two international research projects that focus on body monitoring, processes of automation and the tensions between academic scholarship and applied research. His area of expertise lies in the fields of digital ethnography, netnography and the interrelationship between online forms of power and the social dynamics of everyday life. Twitter: @martinberg
 

Vaike Fors is Senior Lecturer in pedagogy and a researcher at the Swedish centre for applied and social analysis (SCACA) at Halmstad University, Sweden. Vaike's research focuses on how everyday uses of media participate in the mundane and embodied ways people make sense of the world. She has undertaken studies of teenagers’ uses of photo-based web logs and the experiences, routes to knowing and pedagogy generated through these practices. Currently, she is involved in an international research project dealing with the social implications of digital body monitoring and life logging technologies. She is also part of an emerging project on processes of automation in collaboration with industry partners. Her key areas of expertise are in the fields of digital, visual and sensory ethnography, with a focus on the pedagogical implications of everyday media practices for informal learning settings, such as museums and science centres.

Staff Members

Dr. Yoko Akama is an award-winning design researcher in the School of Media and Communication and co-leads the Design+Ethnography+Futures research program (http://d-e-futures.com/) at RMIT University, Australia. She also established the Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability in Asia-Pacific network (http://desiap.org/). Her Japanese heritage has embedded a Zen-informed reflexive practice to carve a 'tao' (path) in human-centred design. Her practice is entangled in complex ‘wicked problems’, to strengthen adaptive capacity for disaster resilience in Australia and Japan, and to contribute towards the efforts of Indigenous Nations enact self-determination and governance. Trained as a communication designer, visualisation features strongly in her approach to catalyse learning, imagining and disruption through participatory interactions. She is a recipient of several major research grants in Australia and the UK and winner of the prestigious Good Design Australia Awards in 2014. For more information please go to www.rmit.edu.au/staff/yokoakama.

Kate Cawley is a lecturer at RMIT University within the Masters of Creative Media, Animation and Interactive Media programme (AIM). Kate specialises in narrative, concept development and production management for animation and has been engaged in studio based teaching since 2002. Kate also works in the animation industry as a writer, producer and animator. Kate’s research interests are based around the online studio. Specifically her interests are in the nature of the tacit to explicit exchange within a virtual context and the development of Communities of Practice within an educational environment. Contact: kate.cawley@rmit.edu.au 

Helen Dickson is a lecturer at RMIT University within the Bachelor of Design (Animation and Interactive Media) (BAAIM).  Helen also hold the roles of Program Director and First Year Coordinator for the BD (AIM) program. Helen specialises in design and has over 19 years of experience within the education environment and design. Helen has also worked in the design industry as consultant and manager. Helen's research interests are in Design, Typography, Motion Graphics, 2D Animation and Kinetic Typography. Her ongoing research practice exploring visual themes relating to image and typography locally and in Asia. Contact: helen.dickson@rmit.edu.au 

luke gaspard is a casual tutor in the School of Media and Communication. His research interests span television and digital studies with a particular focus on how children and youth incorporate and exploit media, principally the televisual, in their everyday lives and contexts. He recently completed his PhD thesis,  Ecologies of the Televisual: Children’s Use of the Televisual in Melbourne, Australia at RMIT University, and has a Masters degree from the University of East Anglia, and a BA Hons Journalism degree from the University of East London. Having provided research support to Heather Horst since February 2014 on her many and varied projects, luke is set to work alongside Heather and Sarah Pink on a multi-national EU-supported youth transliteracy project for the forthcoming year. (transmedialiteracy.org). Contact: lucas.gaspard@rmit.edu.au

Sheree Gregory studies the intersections between gender, work/family, and digital technologies. A Research Fellow and Lecturer (RMIT and Swinburne), she joined the RMIT Centre for Sustainable Organisations and Work following a post−doctoral ARC project at the Swinburne Institute for Social Research, and is Co-Convenor of the Work and Labour Studies Thematic Group of The Australian Sociological Association. Dr Gregory is co−editor of two monographs, Women and Work, (RMIT Publishing 2007, 2005). Her work explores ideas and assumptions underpinning the roles and issues of men and women in families, parenting and work. During her PhD she contributed to the implementation of a part−time work policy in an organisation where she conducted ethnographic fieldwork and liaised with the former Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner. Sheree publishes in key scholarly journals such as Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice; Work, Employment and Society; Media International Australia. Her research has featured in media outlets in Australia and the United Kingdom. She publishes the blog Boy Girl Modern World. Among her interests are documentary film making.Contact: sheree.gregory@rmit.edu.au

Tania Ivanka lectures in Communication Design at RMIT, focusing on Interaction and Service Design methods as a strategy for embedding socially responsible and sustainable design practice into undergraduate curricula. With grounding in permaculture (a method of systems thinking and design of spaces for sustainable food production and living) Tania's research interests include building resilience within the urban landscape, guerrilla gardening, community gardening, and ‘permablitzing’ (a social network for retrofitting gardens for food production). In 2009 Tania completed her Master of Design (Communication Design) by research, investigating the cultivation of a sustaining design practice embedding sustainability into both work and life practice. This postgraduate research included mapping as visualisations of her research projects as systems of both material and cultural production. Contact: tania.ivanka@rmit.edu.au

 

Seth Keen is a New Zealand–Australian documentary designer and producer, who has worked for 20 years in the film and television  http://www.sethkeen.net/portfolio/filmtelevision  He is a lecturer in new media at RMIT University in Melbourne. Seth holds a MA (by Research) in Media Arts and a PhD (Media and Communication). http://researchbank.rmit.edu.au/eserv/rmit:160915/Keen.pdf His academic research on documentary design engages with developments occurring in interactive documentary. http://www.docodesign.org/ Interested in media innovation, Seth collaborates with research, cultural and commercial partners on the design of audio-visual works, archives and tools. Projects include an interactive online video website (World Vision Australia) and online audio-visual archive (ARC Discovery, The University of Melbourne). Seth in collaboration with the Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam facilitated the Video Vortex conference series, a critical forum on online video and he recently co-organised the 2015 Mobile Innovation Network Australasia (MINA) symposium and international screening on mobile filmmaking in Melbourne. Contact: seth.keen@rmit.edu.au Webpage: http://www.sethkeen.net Twitter: https://twitter.com/keenseth; https://rmit.academia.edu/SethKeen
 

Danielle Kirby is a lecturer in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. Her research is across the fields of contemporary religion, popular culture, and media with an emphasis upon digital manifestations of religion in late modernity. Kirby explores topics such as the construction of metaphysics from popular texts, remix and art within occultural spiritualities, and the relation of religious practitioners to consumption. Her most recent publications include the monograph Fantasy and Belief: Alternative Religions, Popular Narratives, and Digital Cultures (Equinox 2013/Routledge 2014) and the multi-volume collected works Sects, Cults, and New Religions (Routledge 2014) https://rmit.academia.edu/DanielleKirby ). Contact: danielle.kirby@rmit.edu.au

Glenda Mejía is a Lecturer in Spanish Language Studies at RMIT University, and the Coordinator of the Spanish Program. Currently she is doing research in the representation of women, violence and cross-borders in Mexican Cinema. Her later article in this area is "The impact of power domains on irregular migrants as seen in La vida precoz y breve de Sabina Rivas." Glenda's research interests include: women studies, Latin American Cinemas, place-making, language and identity, and Spanish-speaking migration in Australia. At present, she is also conducting an ethnographic research project: ‘Senses of Place: the experience of Catalans and Spanish-speaking people in Melbourne’. 

Adam Nash is a Melbourne-based artist, composer, programmer, performer and writer and is internationally recognised as one of the most innovative and influential artists working in virtual environments, game engines, realtime 3D and mixed-reality technology. His work explores virtual environments as audiovisual performance spaces, data/motion capture sites and generative platforms and has been presented in galleries, festivals and online in Australia, Europe, Asia and The Americas, including peak festivals SIGGRAPH, ISEA, ZERO1SJ and the Venice Biennale. He was the recipient of the inaugural Australia Council Second Life Artist in Residence grant. He has been artist in residence at Ars Electronica FutureLab. He was shortlisted for the National Art Award in New Media at the QGOMA in 2008. With John McCormick, he runs virtual/art/performance company SquareTangle. He founded the Australian Centre for Virtual Art with Christopher Dodds, which advocates for, and exhibits, artists exploring virtual media. He has a PhD from the Centre for Animation and Interactive Media at RMIT University. He is director of the Playable Media Lab in the Centre for Game Design Research, and program manager of the Bachelor of Design (Digital Media), both at RMIT University.  Contact: adam.nash@rmit.edu.au

Dominic Redfern creates video artworks focussed on the way our understanding of 'place' is informed by the relationship between social and natural histories. These interests are expressed with a self-conscious approach to the technology and culture of the moving image.  Local, state and federal levels of Australian government, including the Australian Research Council, have funded Dominic’s creative work. His work has been exhibited at home and internationally since 1998 at venues including the Perth International Arts Festival, Ian Potter Museum,Perth institute of Contemporary Art, the Chulalongkorn Art Centre in Bangkok, Tate Modern, the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Hamburger Bahnhof, Alternative Space LOOP in Seoul, and Tokyo Wonder Site. Dominic is an Associate Professor at RMIT University’s School of Art. Contact:dominic.redfern@rmit.edu.au

Yolande Strengers is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University, where she co-leads the Beyond Behaviour Change research program in the Centre for Urban Research. Yolande currently holds an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) on Automating the Smart Home (https://automatedsmarthome.wordpress.com/). Theories of materiality and technological change are a key feature of her research across a number of sustainability domains including energy demand, water consumption, waste management, air travel and telecommunications. She is author of Smart energy technologies in everyday life (Palgrave Macmillan 2013), which lays out the utopian vision for smart energy technologies, and what they might mean for how we live Contact: yolande.strengers@rmit.edu.au

Dr Shanti Sumartojo is a Research Fellow in the School of Media and Communications. She investigates the relationship between place and identity, specifically how the designed, discursive and experiential aspects of our surroundings affect us.  She has published work in three main areas: public memorials and war commemoration, including a co-edited book on the politics of First World War remembrance (2014); art in public space, including collaborating on new multi-media public installations in Canberra and Melbourne; and collective spatial experience understood through the frame of ‘atmosphere’. In addition to ongoing work on global First World War commemoration and memorials, current projects include a suite of ethnographic investigations into how people experience the 'feel' of designed environments, including their digital and automated aspects; creative practice projects as a means to research urban public space and collectivity; and how ‘assemblages’ of creativity shape innovation and entrepreneurship. Contact: shanti.sumartojo@rmit.edu.au
 

Laurene Vaughan is an Associate Professor in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University and Research Leader within the RMIT Design Research Institute. Between 2005 -20010 she was Project Leader and researcher within ACID (the Australasian CRC for Interaction Design). Originally coming from an art and design education background with a major in sculpture, Vaughan has melded a career of practicing artist, designer and educator in Australia and internationally. Within her practice Vaughan endeavours to explore and present comment on the interactive and situated nature of human experience, particularly the ways that we create and articulate the experience of place. For the past 5-years she has been investigating the historical and cultural evolution of vernacular artefacts: their making and their meaning. She enjoys identifying the unexpected within our everyday lives and then re-presenting them through images, words and artefacts. Contact: laurenekv@gmail.com

Shaun Wilson is an artist, film maker, writer and curator who focuses on the relationships between memory and place. One of the key aspects of his work is to understand how memories can effect the places we inhabit and move through but moreover, how the recording and historisation of memory can change, or be 'forgotten' over time by way of selective editing. Wilson plays out these ideas through miniatures, video art, and slow cinema to examine how our sense of memory and history can change according to the mode by which we articulate its delivery. He has exhibited widely inter/nationally including key exhibitions including the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Museum of Contemporary Art Fenosa Union, National Museum of Fine Arts Moscow, and the Seattle Centre on Contemporary Art. He holds a PhD from the University of Tasmania (2005) and is Senior Lecturer in the School of Media and Communication at RMT University. Contact: shaun.wilson@rmit.edu.au

Jeremy Yuille is an interaction designer, digital media artist and academic with a background in digital art, music, performance and architecture. He has a Bachelor of Design Studies from the Architecture department of the University of Queensland and a Masters of Design from the Spatial Information Architecture Lab at RMIT University. Yuille is a co-founder of the Media and Communication Design Studio at RMIT, where he undertakes collaborative research projects, supervises postgraduate students, and holds interaction design studios. He is also a certified scrum-master, and has been a director of the Interaction Design Association. Contact: jeremy.yuille@rmit.edu.au

Postgraduate Members

Jennifer Anayo is a PhD candidate with the school of Media and Communication, at RMIT University. Jennifer has a background in Industrial Design and completed her Masters of Applied Anthropology with Macquarie University in 2012. Her unique insight and interest in Material Culture, Design Anthropology and Social Change resulted in her Masters thesis, entitled: 'A Cultural Account of Plastic: Its History, Pervasiveness and Visibility'. Currently, her PhD project, entitled ‘Celebrating Niuean Identity in a Digital Age; a Small Island Developing State and Transnational Social Field’ takes an ethnographic approach to investigate the impact of digital media on Niuean culture and identity - both on and off island; particularly focusing on transnationalism, identity construction and imagined futures. Contact: jennifer.anayo@gmail.com

Will Balmford has, (after completing his honours at The University of Melbourne in 2014) just started his PhD here at RMIT – within the school of Media and Communication. A third of the way through 2015, his project is (aiming!) to look at gaming habits in Australian households, with a focus on the Steam gaming platform. By asking questions around how Steam is being used, played and entangling with everyday media practices, Will hopes to explore and understand gaming habits within a broader media and social ecology. Although his work has no formal title yet, according to his ethics application his project’s working title is: Steam in the Household: An Ethnographic study. As well as his PhD candidature, Will is also involved in the ARC discovery Games of Being Mobile, a nationwide study of mobile gaming and its relationships with play, place, mobility and embodiment. Contact him at: william.balmford@rmit.edu.au 

Anoushka Benbow-Buitenhuis is a PhD candidate in the School for Global, Urban and Social Studies. Her thesis is titled 'Towards a Critical Understanding of Luxury Commodity Culture in Contemporary Contexts'. Her doctoral thesis presents a return to the study of consumption as symbolic and aims to problematise luxury by examining the wider social forces at play, such as worsening wealth inequality worldwide. Although the project is mostly theoretical, a small empirical qualitative case study based in Melbourne has been undertaken to assist our understanding of why middle-class individuals may participate in luxury commodity culture. Anoushka is a postgraduate member of the Centre for Applied Social Research and the Centre for Urban Research's Beyond Behavior Change working group. She is also a member of The Australian Sociological Association. Her supervisors are Associate Professor Kim Humphery and Dr Yolande Strengers. Contact: anoushka.benbow-buitenhuis@rmit.edu.au

Ben Calder is currently undertaking his Honours degree at RMIT, through the School of Media and Communication. The working title of his thesis is "Clicktivism: Toward an Understanding of Emerging Paradigms of Political Participation Amongst Young Australians". He hopes to explore ways existing formal political structures might change to reflect and accomodate the differences in the way young people are participating politically. Having studied Law before commencing Honours, Ben hopes to bring this knowledge into his research by examining the work of law reform bodies, looking at how they are engaging with young people. Contact: ben.perrin.calder@gmail.com 

Xinru Chen is undertaking her PhD study in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. The working title of her project is “The Impact of Life Changes on Young Adults Microblogging Practices”. By applying an ethnographic approach to her study, Xinru wants to explore the role microblogging plays when people are confronted by life changing events or circumstances. Contact: lucy.chenxinru@gmail.com

Kim d’Amazing is a preliminary PhDemon who currently haunts the murky depths of Media and Communications. Periodically rising out of the research mist to howl “does anyone know anything about ethnography?”, “games are fun!”, and “queer theory is still relevant!”, she uses her dark powers of Game Design and Queer Ethnography to disquieten the intersection of mobile games and queer self-knowledge. Working under the spells of Larissa Hjorth and Adam Nash on The Game of Being Mobile project, she plans to make a series of games (evil games) that explore the themes that arise during ethnographic interviews with queer gamers. She can be summoned at kimberley.damazing@rmit.edu.au.

Mark Eby has been working as an independent filmmaker for over 15 years. He is currently a PhD candidate in Media and Communication at RMIT University in Melbourne. The working title of his project is ‘Facilitating Narrative Film Production in Papua New Guinea: Exploring how communication for development frameworks support, enhance and limit capacity building and the creative process.’ He has been the lead researcher on two Pacific Media Assistant Scheme (PACMAS) Innovation Grants funded by ABC International Development and AusAID. He is currently a research assistant on the Mobilising Media for Sustainable outcomes in the Pacific Region ARC Linkage project at RMIT. His work explores the possibilities for local film production and distribution through village cinemas in Papua New Guinea (PNG). He recently worked at the Centre for Social and Creative Media (CSCM) at the University of Goroka in PNG for almost five years as a resident filmmaker, media trainer, lecturer and researcher. Contact: markeby@azbri.com 

Allister Hill is an anthropologist and PhD candidate with Media and Communication and part of RMIT’s Sustainable Urban Precincts Program (SUPP) project: “Work-life ecologies: lifestyle, sustainability, practices”. Allister’s PhD is an ethnography that examines the relationship between materiality, space and sustainability in what may be considered a ‘smart’ building – RMIT’s ‘Swanson Academic Building’ (the SAB). The ethnography of the SAB aims to explore, via a sociomaterial sensitivity, ways in which the intersection between infrastructure and the built environment might shape everyday organisational practices. The implications for sustainability will be teased out along the way to consider if attempts at patterning ‘smarter’ ways of working, in the smart built environment, equate to sustainable practices. As well as other ethnographic methods Allister will be asking his informants to use a mobile app to document their experiences while using the SAB. Contact: s3509191@student.rmit.edu.au

Sharon Greenfield is a PhD student in the school of Media and Communication at RMIT University. The working title of her thesis is ‘Youth, Digital Media, and Digital Bereavement: a Look into Uses of Digital Ritual to Promote Positive Well-Being for Young People’, which seeks to understand how and where youth digitally engage to communicate their well-being during bereavement and whether digital ritual can be a form of communication to encourage healthy response to loss. Her research interests include cultural processes in technology interaction, digital ethnography, place and space making, youth digital literacy, and digital echoes in bereavement. Previous to RMIT, she was a researcher within Intel Research in the People and Practices Research lab (PaPR) focusing on sense perception and context aware mobile computing and at Autodesk focused on experiential learning and cultural engagement in social networking communities. Contact: sharon.greenfield@rmit.edu.au and @SharonG

Christine Healey's PhD research focuses on the delivery of education programs at select art museums and galleries. The purpose of this research "Education in art museums today: An exploration into pedagogies and practice" is two-fold: Firstly, to understand, describe and document the roles of art museum educators involved in the delivery of education programming through interviews, fieldwork observation, analysis of program goals and delivery practices including exemplar programming. Secondly, to reflect and engage with these subjectivities in Christine’s own practice as a museum educator at the Shrine of Remembrance. Conducted from an Australian perspective, this project contributes to a field in which little Australian research has previously been conducted. Secretary of Museums Australia Education and committee member of Education Network Victoria, in 2013 Christine was awarded a Hugh Rogers Fellowship by the Melbourne Boston Sister Cities Association. Contact:s2065517@student.rmit.edu.au.

Natalie Hendry is a PhD candidate in RMIT's School of Media and Communications as well as a member of the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre. Her research follows from her experience working in adolescent wellbeing and education, and focuses on visual social media and youth mental health. Her project is part of a broader suite of studies exploring how 'vulnerable' youth populations engage with social media and digital cultures and how this their experiences of mental illness, connectedness and affect. Her PhD study includes a variety of ethnographic methods including visual workshops with young people under 18 years. Her research interests include health and media pedagogy, interactive research methods, sexuality and gender, and affect and intimacy. Contact: s3442797@student.rmit.edu.au

Sheba Mohammid is a PhD candidate. Her project is titled "Practices and Tensions in Digital Media and the Construction of a Knowledge Society in Trinidad". Her research questions what are the practices in using digital media in construction of a knowledge society in Trinidad? This study destabilises the ‘known’ knowledge society of formal policy and instead confronts the messiness of day to day experiences (Mann 1986). It examines the everyday practices and tensions faced by Trinidadians as they use digital media for knowledge creation, sharing and use. This research brings to the fore, the everyday stories and informal strategies of the Trinidadian people themselves as they negotiate day to day learning. It uncovers the unwritten practices of both the policymakers and practitioners who administer interventions as well as the Trinidadian citizens (Trinis) who appropriate digital media and learning in their own lives. I examine this through an ethnographic approach consisting of eighteen months immersion, participant observation and in-depth interviews in Trinidad. Contact: shebamohammid@gmail.com

 

Marion Muliaumaseali’i is a PhD candidate with the school of Media and Communications. Her project is titled “Fa’asamoa and Fa’amobile: The Impact of Mobile Phones on the Va (the space in-between)”. Fa’asamoa cannot be confined to one aspect. It is made up of many components such as, family (aiga), culture, language and religion. However, within these components isva, a ‘thread’ that exists in every gesture, speech and interaction between Samoans. A literal translation of the va is gap orspace in-between. It has been used to describe physical, relational and metaphorical concepts in Pacific contexts. Drawing upon ethnographic research on everyday communicative ecologies in village Samoa, the project enters debates around the mobile’s place in the larger cultural settings. It seeks to understand how, where and when different people communicate and flows and channels of information amongst both users and non-users of mobile phones. How is the mobile phone changing the communicative ecologies of village Samoa and where does is it sit in the va? Contact: pasifrika@gmail.com 

Josh Nettheim is a performing artist currently researching voice and listening in contemporary performance. "Mobilising Theatre" - while largely consisting of Josh intentionally doing the "wrong" thing with smartphones - is a practice-led investigation into where, why and how voice emerges in live performance and what this might uncover about shifting practices of listening where digital media are concerned. Whether dialling home from a live theatre audience or performing private phone calls in public spaces, Josh's playful performances of voice consistently seek to uncover the limits of listening. As well as being co-founder and artistic director of Grey Matters Productions, Josh has performed extensively with people, puppets and projections. He just figured phones were the next logical step..Contact: joshua.nettheim@rmit.edu.au

Nic Velissaris's work looks at the intersection and overlap between narratives and gameplay. Traditionally audience members have engaged in two types of experiences: Passive and Participatory Experiences. Passive experiences are a receiving experience; we sit, we watch and then react. Most (but not all) passive experiences tell narratives that tend to be linear with a definite start and end. Participatory experiences in contrast are experiences that we as audience members help to create. We have control, we shape the story, and we form the experience. Participatory experiences can be considered interactive stories and are not necessarily linear and don’t always have a definite ‘ending’. In fact they can be considered go on indefinitely. What happens when we combine these two experiences into a new form? This form, called a Transitory experience will incorporate narrative and gameplay into a framework that allows for new experiences to be created across multiple mediums, with or without technological assistance e.g. video game hardware. Contact: s9506879@student.rmit.edu.au

Joshua Wong is a PhD Candidate at the School of Media and Communications as well as the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre. His research interests are interdisciplinary, spanning the intersection of well-being, religion/spirituality, migration, and media usage in everyday life. His PhD project is entitled: "Media, Mobility and Well-Being: A Case Study of How International Students Use Media Technologies for Well-Being." Through this project, he uses an ethnographic approach to explore how the different cultural backgrounds of students inflects the way they conceptualize, practice, and aspire to "well-being" or "a good life", as well as how they incorporate media technologies into their conceptualization or practice of well-being in their everyday lives. Contact: dizzcity@gmail.com 

Lucas Watt is a PhD candidate with the school of Media and Communications at RMIT University. His project title is “The Domestication of Mobile Money in Fiji: An Ethnographic Study”. This study seeks to understand the everyday ways mobile money services are being used in rural and urban Fiji. Lucas has a background in Development Studies having recently completed his Masters with The University of Auckland. His project will use a domestication framework to understand how the mobile money service is being integrated into the everyday lives of users. Contact: s3506093@student.rmit.edu.au 

Zainil Zainuddin is a PhD candidate with the School of Media and Communication and is researching farming practices in Victoria by a new breed of farmers who he refers to as farmer-activists. These are farmers by choice and not by heritage with no prior experience nor training in farming. Most are tertiary educated with once a strong professional identity and connection to their place of work in the city. He will be investigating who these farmer-activists are, their motivation and intentions, and values and ethos and will also explore the socio-technical aspect of the farmer-activist communities use of digital platforms to enhance their community of practice. Digital ethnography will visually capture the richness of the farm as a place-event, which will be used in combination with qualitative methodology to capture the emerging narrative of personal experiences. He will be interpreting data collected through the lenses of food as a social movement and food activism. Contact: z.zainuddin@student.rmit.edu.au

Zhia Zariko is a small fish in a big pond, a country girl studying her PhD in Media and Communication at RMIT. The working title of her project is ‘Click Here for Walkthrough: auto-ethnographies of video game narration and play’. Fascinated by the video gaming experience both professional and personally, she wishes to explore how narrative and story inflect the experience of embodied play that is unique to video games. An active member of eclectic cultural recreation and pop culture enthusiast – or more colloquially known as an avid cosplayer – Zhia seeks to combine her enthusiasm for video gaming, stories and analysis with her education in literature studies within her project. Contact: zarikoz@gmail.com 

Zhang 'Dino' Ge is an amateur anthropologist who failed his rite of passage to the orthodox school of anthropology dedicated to the studies of the Orient, instead spent hundreds of hours listening or watching Twitch.tv streams and yet could not give up the professional habit of capturing the precious moments of social dramas and writing unprofessional thick descriptions of nolifers’ life- inevitably, this obsession has led him to a PhD on livestreaming at the Digital Ethnography Research Centre. Please contact him at s3525568@student.rmit.edu.au or visit his research profile at https://rmit.academia.edu/GeZHANG.

Research Affiliates 

Nic Bidwell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Informatics, University of Pretoria, South Africa and researches in the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). Since 2003 she has focused on interactions with technologies for rural settings and Indigenous and African cultures. Nic takes a critical design approach and applies situated, ethnographic and participatory methods. Most of Nic’s, nearly 100, peer-reviewed publications relate to designing interactions with mobile devices and information systems that suit the communication and knowledge practices of rural, indigenous, and often low-income communities. This includes research in Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and far north Australia where she usually lives rurally - for the past 4 years spending most time in a village in South Africa's remote Eastern Cape. She initiated the first panel on Indigenous Led Digital Enterprises held at an international HCI conference (OZCHI08) and co-founded Indigenous Knowledge Technology Conference in Namibia and will publish a book arising from dialogues that continued from these endevours in 2014. Nic has researched and/or lectured in UK, Australia and South Africa in both prestigious and rural/regional institutions, such as the Universities of London, Sussex, ANU, Queensland, Charles Darwin and Cape Town. She was Deputy Head of the School of IT, James Cook University, Australia, and principal investigator at CSIR-Meraka, South Africa. Nic has Honours in Biology and Psychology, a PhD in neurophysiology and, a Masters in IT. Contact: nic.bidwell@gmail.com

Tripta Chandola is an ethnographer based in Delhi. She completed her PhD in 2010 from Queensland University of Technology and a post-doctoral fellowship at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore (2011-2012). Building upon research on a DFID-funded study on ‘Information society: emergent technologies and development communities in the (global) South’ (2003-2005) in rural and urban Delhi with Professor Jo Tacchi, Dr. Chandola's thesis explored the everyday interaction and engagement(s) of the residents of a slum settlement in Delhi with their middle-class neighbours through the politics of sound and highlighted how soundscapes are not an apolitical considerations of the background, but are in fact invested with the context's social, cultural and moral codes. Over the past decade, she has conducted research in diverse areas including the Open source movement in India; piracy cultures (in Nehru Place, one of South Asia's biggest hardware and software hub); media practices; the politics of marginalisation and violence in the transforming materiality of Delhi and television practices in Singapore with Dr. Tania Lewis as part of the larger 'Lifestyle in Asia' project. She is currently working on a book of essays titled, The Right to Love, and Other Essays, drawing on her decade-long research engagements in/with Govindpuri to be published by Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam. https://independent.academia.edu/TriptaChandola Contact: tripta@gmail.com 

Fran Edmonds is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Research Unit in Public Cultures at the University of Melbourne (http://public-cultures.unimelb.edu.au/). Her fellowship is funded by the Institute for a Broadband Enabled Society at the University of Melbourne. Fran is an interdisciplinary researcher, whose current work focuses on the use of digital technology by young Aboriginal people in southeast Australia. In 2012, she completed a study on the use of mobile phones and social networking by Aboriginal youth in Victoria, resulting in the publication 'Keeping in Touchable’. In 2013, Fran is working on a digital storytelling project with the Aboriginal community. This involves exploring the creative capacity of digital technology to support contemporary Aboriginal culture, especially its capacity to assist in reconnecting and engaging Aboriginal young people with their community’s cultural practices. Fran received her PhD from the University of Melbourne in 2008, which focused on working with Aboriginal artists and curators to research the practice and knowledge of southeast Australian Aboriginal art since colonisation in 1834. Prior to her PhD, Fran worked as a consultant historian/anthropologist on a number of native title claims throughout the country, as well as teaching in remote Central Australian Aboriginal communities. Contact: edmondsf@unimelb.edu.au 

Catherine Gomes is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Media and Communication where she teaches Asian Studies.  She is leader of the Migration and Digital Media Research Lab.  Catherine was also also an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow (2013-2016) working on a project about the social and cultural spaces occupied by transient migrants (international students and workers).   Catherine has worked extensively on the themes of of identity, migration, ethnicity, memory, multiculturalism and transnationalism in Australia and Singapore as well as on the information-seeking behaviour of international students in Australia.  Recent and forthcoming publications include  Multiculturalism through the Lens: A guide to ethnic and migrant anxieties in Singapore(2015),  Translating Impermanence: Approaches, Identities and Cultures of Transient Mobility (2016),Multiethnic Southeast Asia and Social Media: Identity, Ethnicity, Community and Migration (editor, 2016) andInternational Student Connectedness and Identity: Transnational and Trans-disciplinary Perspectives (co-editor, 2016). Catherine is also founding editor of Transitions: Journal of Transient Migration whose inaugural issue will be published in October 2016 by Intellect Books.  Catherine was also a Visiting Research Fellow at the Singapore Management University in 2014.  Contact: catherine.gomes@rmit.edu.au 

Narmala Halstead is an anthropologist with regional expertise on Guyana, the Caribbean diaspora and migrant localities in New York. She has also conducted research on migrants in London and on Portuguese migrants in Wales, UK. Her work included a project on different sites of publicness and personhood. Her research explores belonging, cultural change and violence, spanning everyday accounts as well as larger issues on 'open borders', global citizenship and the state. Her work has developed insights on people's encompassment of foreign identities as forms of inhabiting the 'centre' which also engage with and shift notions of alternative modernity.Her work has explored cultural displays by those who also had non-distinctive identities and considered issues of status, identity and forms of socio-political violence in various settings. She is currently developing a project on cities, digital technologies, citizenship and belonging which draws on her work in media anthropology. She has also carried out work on skype technology and belonging. Contact: n.halstead@uel.ac.uk
 

Dean Keep is a lecturer in Digital Media at Swinburne University in Hawthorn. Dean's research interests include the use of emergent digital media technologies and network cultures in promoting and facilitating the production of hybrid narrative forms. Dean is currently a Phd candidate at the School of Art at The Australian National University in Canberra. His creative practice (photography and video) explores the nexus between place and memory in relation to the still and/or moving image. Dean has consulted on government funded digital storytelling, mobile filmmaking and interactive documentary projects. Dean is currently making a transmedia documentary about Australian post-war architecture/design histories with a particular focus on the role of design in shaping the Australian collective memory and relationship to space and place. Contact: dkeep@swin.edu.au

Patrick Kelly is a Lecturer at RMIT's School of Media and Communication. He gained his PhD from RMIT in 2013 with a practice-led project "Detour Off the Superhighway", which explored media, aura, and filmic practice, and saw him giving up media and communication technology in stages over 80 days. He has presented papers at the London Film and Media Conference, RMIT's Beyond Slowness in the Cinematic Image symposium, Place Research Network Symposium and the Critical Animals Creative Research Symposium as part of the This Is Not Art festival in Newcastle. He has participated in the National Young Writers Festival and been on the steering committee of RMIT's Digital Cinema Symposium. His written work has been published on ABC's The Drum, The Conversation, Fairfax, Mumbrella, M/C Reviews, and The Lifted Brow. Patrick's research investigates mobile media, social networking, interactive video, animation, as well as evocative ethnography and auto-ethnography in documentary film practice. Contact: patrick.kelly@rmit.edu.au

Kathi R. Kitner, a cultural anthropologist and Senior Research Scientist with Intel Labs’ since 2006, is interested in how social histories and cultural constructs (e.g., class and gender) act as a conduit for different types of emerging technology usage and adoption.  Her work spans cultures and geographies, from Mexico to Chile, Indonesia to India, South Africa to South Carolina, and has explored the intersections of new technologies and media in both rural and urban settings. She is currently involved in studies of how increasing instrumentation/digitization (the Internet of Things) is changing work practices and offering new potential solutions to environmental challenges such as flooding, food production, and the effects of climate change.  Previous to working at Intel Corporation, she focused on social impact assessments in the United States and Caribbean fishing communities. Kitner holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology and Latin American Studies from the University of Florida.  Contact: kathi.r.kitner@intel.com

Tamara Kohn is Associate Professor of Anthropology in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne. Her research and teaching interests include trans-cultural communities of embodied practice,the body and senses, death studies, creativity and identity, and fieldwork ethics. She has conducted 'fieldwork' with rural communities (in Nepal and Scotland), transnational communities of practice, online communities, and with individuals in socially marginal spaces (e.g. prisons in the US).  She is a Chief Investigator on two ARC Discovery projects: Sonic Practice in Japan (2013-2015) and Digital Commemoration (2014-2016). See http://ssps.unimelb.edu.au/about/staff/assoc-professor-tamara-kohn  Contact: tkohn@unimelb.edu.au 

Patricia G. Lange is an Assistant Professor of Critical Studies at California College of the Arts (CCA). Recognized as an expert on anthropological approaches to new media and the study of YouTube, her work focuses on technical identity performance and use of vernacular video to express the self. Her current research focuses on how videos may be used to promote civic engagement. In particular, she is using a discourse analysis approach to examine how video makers discuss and debate the technical and social affordances and limitations encountered on video-sharing platforms. She recently released her ethnographic film, Hey Watch This! Sharing the Self Through Media (2013), which was accepted for screening in Paris at Ethnografilm, an international film festival showcasing ethnographic and academic films. Hey Watch This! provides a unique diachronic look at the rise and fall of YouTube as a social media site, and offers a poignant look at how YouTubers envision their digital legacies after their deaths. Her new book is called Kids on YouTube: Technical Identities and Digital Literacies (2014). Drawing on a two-year, deeply engaged ethnographic project, the book discusses how kids negotiate technical identities on YouTube, and how their goal to achieve technical competencies both encourages and complicates access to participation in new media environments. At CCA, she teaches courses in anthropology of technology; digital cultures; new media and civic engagement; space, place and time; and ethnography for design. Prior to joining CCA, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. More information may be found on her websites: https://www.cca.edu/academics/faculty/plange or patriciaglange.org. Contact: plange@cca.edu

Anke Schwittay is Senior Lecturer in Anthropology and International Development Studies at the University of Sussex in the UK. Her work focuses on discourses and practices of 'inclusive innovation' by various actors, including high-tech companies, social enterprises and government aid agencies. She is particularly interested in the use of digital technologies such as crowdsourcing platforms and in human-centered design. Anke is the author of New Media and International Development: Representation and Affect in Microfinance, which consists of a digital ethnography of Kiva.org, the world's first online person-to-person microlending website. Contact: a.schwittay@sussex.ac.uk 

 


Stefan Schutt is an Honorary Fellow at the Centre for Cultural Diversity and Wellbeing, Victoria University, Melbourne, and a former Research Program Leader. Stefan's research interests revolve around the everyday uses of digital technologies. He is particularly interested in the intersection of technology, belonging and identity. Stefan is the founder of a number of award-winning community technology projects and is co-founder of The Lab (www.thelab.org.au), a national network of technology clubs for young people with high-functioning autism. A 'ghost sign' and local history aficionado, Stefan is the creator of the Lewis & Skinner online signwriting document archive: www.lewisandskinner.com. Other current involvements include Chief Investigator of two national technology and disability research projects, co-owner of virtual roleplay startup vPlay, innovation mentor for digital agency HeathWallace and deputy board chair of the Reservoir Neighbourhood House. In previous lives Stefan  worked as an Internet producer, coder, interaction designer and project manager, and before that as a copywriter and musician. He also established and ran Australia’s first Computer Clubhouse, an international skills initiative for disadvantaged young people. Stefan's PhD at RMIT's Centre for Animation and Interactive Media involved the creation of a web-based system for the publishing and sharing of life stories. Contact: Stefan.Schutt@vu.edu.au

 

Erin B. Taylor is an economic anthropologist. Her research interests are digital finance, consumption, and material culture. She is the author of Materializing Poverty: How the Poor Transform Their Lives (AltaMira, 2013), an ethnography that explores the relationship between poverty and material culture in the Dominican Republic. From 2010-2012, Erin conducted IMTFI-funded research with Dr. Heather Horst on mobility within Haiti and across the national border, focusing especially on mobile phones and mobile money. Some objects from the research were displayed in the Citi Money Gallery in the British Museum. Erin is Managing Editor of PopAnth: Hot Buttered Humanity and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Cultural economy blogs regularly on her own website, http://erinbtaylor.com Contact: erin@erinbtaylor.com

Verena Thomas is Director of the Centre for Social and Creative Media at the University of Goroka in Papua New Guinea and Adjunct Professor in the School of Media, Entertainment and Creative Arts in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology, Australia. She holds a PhD in Communication from the University of Technology Sydney and has a background in documentary filmmaking. Her current research projects operate at the intersection of media practice and research with the goal of building capacity for production and research in the Pacific region. Her research interests include visual and arts-based research approaches and communication for development and social change. Contact: Verena.Thomas@qut.edu.au

Pauline van Romondt Vis is a Ph.D. student at the Social Sciences department of Loughborough University, UK. She did her master's degrees in Media studies (2004) and Qualitative Research Methodologies (2007). Her current research focuses on the development of creative methods and the negotiations this entails for researchers in their daily research activities. More info: http://bit.ly/10UBqQY. Contact: P.J.C.Van-Romondt-Vis@lboro.ac.uk