Digital and Everyday Life

2013-14

Working collaboratively with KPMG, the Digital Rhythms research project was launched, with the intention of establishing the usefulness of ethnographic studies of digital content for providing cutting edge knowledge and thought leadership regarding ordinary people’s everyday digital practices. KPMG work with a range of clients from across sectors (including telecoms, media, retail, financial services, government), and the research will be applied in practical circumstances for industry and community benefit. Twelve households from Victoria and New South Wales have been recruited into the initial study, which will be completed in early 2014. It is also anticipated that the project will be expanded globally in 2014, and will become a longitudinal study over five years. Key insights from the research are being organized and discussed with KPMG and their clients to inform the research expansion. Two ARC Discovery projects were awarded for research on the digital and everyday life, The Moral and Cultural Economy of the Mobile Phone in the Pacific Region (Horst), and Games of Being Social: A study of mobile gaming cultures (Hjorth).  

As a mechanism for exploring cutting edge research on the social, economic and cultural value of digital literacy, digital content innovation, and user-led innovation in diverse settings, a Digital Interventions Symposium series was held in 2013, organised by Professor Sarah Pink. Digital Interventions explores how digital media, methods and practice are participating in contemporary and emergent processes of change. The concept of interventions is developed as an integrating and common theme running across the ethnographic, arts and design disciplines. Digital Interventions explores how digital media, methods and practice are participating in contemporary and emergent processes of change. The concept of interventions is developed as an integrating and common theme running across the ethnographic, arts and design disciplines.

Seven symposia were held, five in Melbourne, one in Perth, and one in Barcelona. Invited speakers included Paul Dourish (UC Irvine), Mike Michael (Sydney), and Mark McLelland (Woolongong). In June, a symposium was held in collaboration with the IN3 research centre at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) in Barcelona. The final symposium of the year, Digital Interventions in Everyday Creativity, was hosted in Perth at Edith Cowan University on 3 December. A further seminar is planned for early 2014, to be held at Swinburne University. Outputs from the series so far include a forthcoming book Designing Digital Materialities (edited by Sarah Pink with Elisenda Ardevol and Debora Lanzeni from the IN3, Barcelona), and a forthcoming special issue of Media International Australia, edited by Sarah Pink and Lelia Green. Videos of the Symposia held in Melbourne are available www.designresearch.rmit.edu.au/programs/digital-interventions.

In addition to the Digital Rhythms project with KPMG, we have been working with a range of partners in the region and globally. Hjorth, Horst and Pink were awarded and ARC Linkage with Intel Locating the Mobile: Intergenerational Locative Media Practices in Tokyo, Melbourne and Shanghai, and the first workshop was held in late 2013. Tacchi and Horst conducted a baseline study of media and communication across 14 Pacific Island countries for ABC International Development and the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS). The baseline study consists of a regional overview and 14 country reports (www.pacmas.org/profile/pacmas-state-of-media-and-communication-report-2013/). Horst and Tacchi have been expanding on this work, in an ARC Linkage Mobilising Media for Sustainable Outcomes in the Pacific Region, with ABC and PACMAS. Tacchi was awarded a new ARC Linkage with UNICEF Communication for Development (C4D) in 2013, Evaluating Communication for Development: supporting adaptive and accountable development. This project will build evaluation capacity development across hubs in Asia and the Pacific, and builds upon earlier work incorporating ethnographic and participatory methodologies and frameworks for assessing the impact of C4D. A book presenting the framework used in these international C4D research projects was published in 2013, Lennie, J. and Tacchi, J. Evaluating Communication for Development: A Framework for Social Change. Oxford: Earthscan, Routledge.  

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