RMeS Digital Ethnography Seminar Series 2024: Tools, Ethics, Futures

When: April – December 2024 (exact dates, see below)
Where: Utrecht University – Hybrid (exact rooms, see below)
Online: Teams link will be sent to all registered participants.
ECTS: 2-4 EC / More information about credits and assignments see below
Coordinator: Prof. dr Annette Markham (Utrecht University)
Guest lectures by: see below
Organisation: Prof. dr Annette Markham, Department of Media and culture Studies (Utrecht University) and RMeS
For: PhD Candidates and RMa students in Media Studies, who are a member of a Dutch Graduate Research School (onderzoekschool). RMeS staff and other interested colleagues are welcome to sit in on specific sessions.
Registration: See links below.

Digital ethnography is a research approach that applies anthropological sensibilities and tools to study digital technologies. Since digital ethnography occurs across many fields, it takes on different priorities and modalities. It extends from an ethnographic epistemology that privileges immersive and emergent qualitative methods, and applies techniques and ethical principles to explore the experiential aspects of socio-technical systems.

Regardless of focus or approach, digital ethnographers are drawn together because they find something compelling in combining the two concepts of “digital” and “ethnography” in their practice.

We invite interested persons to join our series of six seminars in 2024, to explore the power, potential, challenges, and ethics of digital ethnography as a lens. Each event in the series is a 90-minute session (hybrid format) that focuses on a specific topic and highlights the work of 1-2 practiced and well-regarded digital ethnographers. The speakers will spend the first 30 minutes talking about their own approach or responding to pre-selected questions, which will then prompt the direction for wider discussion among participants.

You can attend these sessions in person at Utrecht University or online. Invitations are open for anyone to attend, and there is no fee for participating, but pre-registration is required.

The series is facilitated by Professor Annette Markham, recent Director of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre at RMIT University in Melbourne Australia, and newly appointed Chair Professor of Media Literacy and Public Engagement at Utrecht University.

See our exciting lineup of topics and featured guests. Note: While the topics and speakers are confirmed, there may be minor date/time changes later in the year to accommodate the guest speakers. This series is suitable for 2-4 EC credit for Dutch students. For international PhD students who would like ECTS credit please consult with Annette Markham a.n.markham@uu.nl with questions.

22 April 2024 | 2:30-4:00 p.m. CET
Digital Ethnography: Always a Mixed Method Approach
Featuring Prof. dr Annette Markham (Utrecht Uni) and Prof. dr Tania Lewis. (RMIT University, Melbourne), former directors of the world’s longest running digital ethnography research centre, DERC.
Room: Muntstraat 2a, room 0.04
More info and registration can be found VIA THIS LINK.

28 May 2024 | 2:30-4:00 p.m. CET
Digital Ethnography’s Ethical Dilemmas: Doing Sensitive or Antagonistic Fieldwork
A conversation with Dr. Nermin Elsherif (Utrecht Uni) and Dr. Marissa Willcox (University of Amsterdam)

Room: Kromme Nieuwegracht 20 – T.0.05; Grote Zaal
More info and registration VIA THIS LINK.

11 September 2024 | 9:30-11:00 CET
Innovative Digital Tools for Digital Ethnography of Decentralised Communities
A conversation with Dr. Kelsie Nabben (European University Institute) and Prof. dr Ellie Rennie (RMIT University’s Blockchain Innovation Hub, Research Director at Metagov, and former DERC director).
More info and registration VIA THIS LINK.
More information will follow in May/June. 

17 October 2024 | 2:30-4:00 p.m. CET
Making a Difference (that makes a difference): Digital Ethnography and Participatory Action
A conversation with Dr. Donya Alinejad (Utrecht Uni), and Stephanie Livingstone (RMIT University, Automated Decision Making & Society, Australia)
More info and registration VIA THIS LINK.
More information will follow in May/June. 

19 November 2024 | 2:30-4:00 p.m. CET
(time/date tentative) Digital Ethnography and Future Making: Adapting methods, Adjusting Frames
A conversation with Prof. dr Sarah Pink (Monash University Emerging Tech Lab, and former DERC Director), and Annette Markham (Utrecht University)
More info and registration VIA THIS LINK.
More information will follow in May/June. 

9 December 2024 | 3:30-5:00 p.m. CET
The Future of AI-impacted Work: Digital Ethnographic State of the Art
A conversation with Prof. dr Nancy Baym (Microsoft Research Labs, USA) and Prof. dr Payal Arora (Utrecht Uni, founding director of FEMlab).
More info and registration VIA THIS LINK
More information will follow in May/June. 


To earn ECTS credit for this series, students in MA or PhD programs may choose from the following options:

2 ECTS: Attend five of the six Seminar sessions. No further requirements

4 ECTS: Attend four of the six seminar sessions. In advance of each session attended, students should prepare and upload to a designated course folder a single PDF document that comprises four questions, based on the reading materials, that could be posed to one or both of the featured speakers. Each question should be framed or situated by a short (approx 600-750 words) blogpost style essay that provides background on why or how the question is relevant and more specifically, how it is derived from the student’s personal reading and comprehension of the materials provided/suggested for each seminar session. Other source material may be added. (total word count per seminar attended is 2400-3000 words. Over the course of the entire series, the student will produce 9200-12000 words). Expression of ideas in a blogpost style post indicates that informal, first person writing style is allowed. Within this, proper citations and a consistent citation style should be used. Essays are evaluated as Pass/Fail, on the basis of completion and evidence of basic comprehension. Students should not expect any feedback from the facilitator on content.