Digital Ethnography Summer School

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Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Melbourne City Campus

Melbourne, VIC 3000


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Digital Ethnography Summer School

Doing ethnography in a digital-material world

The Digital Ethnography Summer School offers PhD candidates and researchers an opportunity to learn a set of core digital ethnography research, analysis and dissemination skills. This will be gained through first hand training in the theory and practice of digital ethnography. Participants will attend a series of workshops, and will plan, undertake and report on collaborative mini-projects using a range of digital technologies and mobile media, with DERC researchers and external partners in Melbourne, Australia.

Along with developing their digital ethnographic fieldwork skills, summer school participants will work towards a finished group ethnography to be considered for publication in a collection edited by DERC.

The course is led by DERC researchers and tutors will include: Sarah Pink; Larissa Hjorth; Heather Horst; John Postill; Shanti Sumartojo; Edgar Gómez Cruz; and Bianca Vallentine (Summer School Manager).

Key reading for the course includes: Digital Ethnography: Principles and Practice Authors: Sarah Pink, Heather Horst, John Postill, Larissa Hjorth, Tania Lewis and Jo Tacchi. (2016) Los Angeles: Sage.

Photo credit: M Pavilion


Registration is $500 (inclusive of GST), payable online by 10 January 2017 if accepted into the Summer School.

The registration fee will cover tuition costs and administration charges associated with the Summer School. Please note, your place is absolute once payment has been received.

How to apply

Applications are now open for the 2017 DERC Melbourne Summer School. The summer school is aimed at current PhD students and researchers of all countries.

To apply, please provide the following information:

  • CV

  • Expression of interest/ alignment of research (1 page)

  • A sample of your work, which could be a publication, other writing (eg part of your PhD) or creative practice

  • 2 letters of support from PhD supervisor/ colleagues familiar with your work

Please email applications to by no later than Tuesday 1 November 2016.

Key Dates

Tuesday 1 November 2016 - Applications to DERC Summer School due

Thursday 17 November 2016 - Applicants notified via email

Tuesday 10 January 2017 - Fees due

Tuesday 17 January 2017 - Second round offers to applicants

Tuesday 24 January 2017 - Fees due for second round offers

Monday 13 February - Saturday 18 February 2017 - Digital Ethnography Summer School

For further inquiries please email

RMIT Internships

RMIT students wishing to attend the Summer School have the opportunity of being awarded one of two internship places in lieu of the payment of fees.

Internship places will assist in the coordination of the Summer School in lieu of the $500 fee.

To apply apply please follow the application process above.

Course structure:

Days 1-3 (mornings)

During the first three days of the course participants will spend their mornings in a series of sessions on the principles and practice of digital ethnography and their afternoons planning and practising digital ethnography fieldwork.

Day 1

9.30am RMIT University (venue TBA)

Morning: Digital Ethnography: principles, ethics, practice

This session focuses on what it means to do ethnography in a world where the digital and material can no longer be considered to be separate. How do we engage as ethnographers in contexts where digital technologies are almost always part of both the worlds that we research and the methods that we use to do research? What principles should inform our research in this environment? How do we navigate the ethics? What are the implications for our practice as ethnographers? What interventions might our work lead to?

Lunchtime: We will walk to Queen Victoria Markets, one of our fieldwork sites, to buy lunch and get a sense of the locality.

Afternoon: Understanding locality

Students will learn the history of our two fieldwork sites: MPavilion and the Queen Victoria Markets

Visit to MPavilion.

Day 2

Morning: Technologies and Techniques

In this session we will present a series of technologies and techniques for use in digital ethnography research. This will include examples of using video, photography, smartphones, self-tracking and GoPros within innovative research methods at DERC.

Afternoon: Designing digital ethnography group work

In this session we will work in groups to collectively develop digital ethnographic research designs that attend to the principles, practices and ethics that have been discussed in the morning session. We will focus on how to work at the digital-material-social interface, and what the theoretical, methodological, ethical and practical implications of this might be.

Day 3

Morning: piloting techniques and methods in the field

Participants will pilot the methods developed the previous day in their field sites in the morning, meeting for a lunchtime feedback and consolidation session with the tutors for each site.

Afternoon: continue fieldwork on the site

Day 4: All day

Continue fieldwork and develop findings.

Day 5: All day

Analysis and organisation of research materials with guidance from tutors.The final session of the day will be a presentation of the materials to the whole group with an outline of how these will be written up or presented

Day 6: All day

Participants will work in their groups, with the guidance of a tutor, to prepare versions of their ethnographies to be considered for an edited volume based on the work of the summer school (subject to acceptance by the publisher and to successful peer review). Video work can be considered as part of this, but it should be made available on youtube so that it can be linked to the book, and any web materials associated with it. This will continue to be developed after the summer school, therefore participants need to make a clear commitment to progressing this.


Who is this Summer School for?

PhD candidates and researchers who are wanting to learn digital ethnography methods and publication techniques in an applied setting.

Will the Summer School provide me with study credits?

No, but it will provide you key understanding of digital ethnography methods, an opportunity to work with leading RMIT researchers and practice writing for publications.

How many places are there at the 2017 Melbourne Summer School?

The summer school is limited to 25 people.

What does the $500 fee cover?

The fee will cover administration and management costs of the Summer School.

DERC will ensure you have WIFI access when onsite at the RMIT city campus and access to a range of study materials to support your visit.

Where can I purchase the book?

You can purchase the book Digital Ethnography Principles and Practice online via Sage

General information for international visitors

Where can I find accommodation?

Local suburbs that we recommend include: Melbourne City, North Melbourne, Fitzroy, Brunswick, Carlton

What mobile phone provider do you recommend for a short visit?

We recommend Vodafone prepay

What is the weather like in Melbourne, Australia in February?

It will be Summer in Australia in February, with likely temperatures being from 20-35 degrees

What should I pack?

We recommend you bring light clothing, a hat, good walking sneakers and sandals, a backpack and water vessel.

*Buy 30+sunscreen in Australia as the level of protection is different in Asian and European countries.

Things to do in Melbourne

Please refer to our guide here

What do I need to travel locally?

You will need to purchase and top up a Myki card to travel on all trams, buses and trains within Melbourne.

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Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Melbourne City Campus

Melbourne, VIC 3000


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