What’s social about technology? Everything.

DERC conducts human-centred research of data and digital transformations.

We work with students, communities, governmental, nonprofit and corporate partners.

Our researchers explore how humans feel, create, respond, and engage with digital technologies.

We study everyday lived experience, the future of work, creative youth practices, tech policies, tech design, digital literacy and a range of other human-centred design propositions.

Hosted by RMIT in Melbourne, Australia, DERC offers a world-class training ground and expertise for both small and largescale research initiatives. We are ranked as one of the top two research Centres in Australia focused on the social impact of digital media.

What is Digital Ethnography?

Digital Ethnography is a powerful, immersive approach to theorising, conceptualising and practising research in digital and data-rich environments.

Digital ethnography foregrounds the rich and shifting relationships between practices, beliefs, and media and environments. Whether studying workplace environments, domestic homes, online communities, or global flows of cultural information, Digital Ethnography embraces the complexities of contemporary social contexts. Digital Ethnography methods are flexibly adaptive; this gives us the ability to find the best-suited tool for the situation, the most resonant framework for understanding.

Digital ethnography today thus goes beyond traditional fieldwork by using mixed methods to investigate such contexts as rapidly transforming human-machine landscapes, study the role of non- or post human actors in social relationships, examine the complexity and influence of infrastructures on cultural formations, and explore relations as information flows across social networks.

Leadership Team

Director, Rob Cover
Director, Janet Roitman

Executive Committee

Partnerships and Network

DERC is a primary Research Centre at RMIT in Melbourne, integrated closely with the Department of Media and Communication. As a cross-college Centre, we bring together digital ethnography interests of the College of Business and Law and the College of Design and Social Context.

We have a strong legacy of doing research in collaboration with local communities. DERC is also committed to bringing together a strong international network of researchers and we host many visiting researchers annually. Our mission includes impacting people’s lives, governmental policies, and methods of education at global levels.

DERC maintains and develops partnerships with a range of institutions in Australia and globally, including other universities, companies and not-for-profit organisations.

DERC is closely linked to the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society.

In addition to ongoing research projects, we host conferences, symposia, workshops, films and performances. DERC regularly hosts international visitors, scholars and artists. DERC is a member of the Global Network of Internet and Society Research Centres.