Exploring Minecraft: Ethnographies of Play and Creativity

During our three-year ethnographic fieldwork into mobile games in Australian homes, one particular form of gameplay was uniquely prevalent. It was intergenerational. It was creative. It was playful. It moved ambiently in and out of everyday life. Parents, children and grandparents played. We are speaking of one of the most ubiquitous and yet under-analysed games, Minecraft.

Drawing on these ethnographic insights, this book seeks to take Minecraft seriously as a cultural practice. At the intersection of digital media, quotidian literacy and ethnography the book situates interdisciplinary debates around mundane play through the lens of Minecraft. Collectively, we bring together a range of expertise around ethnography, games studies, digital media literacy, pedagogy, and creative practice research to analyze Minecraft as an interdisciplinary phenomenon.

Product Details

  • Publish Date: Forthcoming
  • Publisher: Palgrave

About the Author

Distinguished Professor Larissa Hjorth is an artist and digital ethnographer. Hjorth has two decades experience working in interdisciplinary, collaborative, playful and socially innovative digital media methods to explore intergenerational relationships in cross-cultural contexts.

Hjorth is currently the Design & Creative Practice ECP Platform director at RMIT University. The Platform focuses on interdisciplinary collaboration and creative solution to real-world problems, especially in relation to ageing well, careful and multisensorial methods.

Recent publications include Haunting Hands (with Cumiskey, Oxford Uni Press), Understanding Social Media(with Hinton, 2nd Edition Sage), Creative Practice Ethnographies (with Harris, Jungnickel and Coombs, Rowman & Little) and Ambient Play (with Richardson, MIT Press).


Professor Ingrid Richardson has been teaching, supervising and researching in the fields of digital media, mobile media and games for over twenty years. She has a broad interest in the human-technology relation and has published widely on the phenomenology of games and mobile media, digital ethnography and innovative research methods, the relation between technology use and wellbeing, and the cultural effects of urban screens, wearable technologies, virtual and augmented reality, remix culture and web-based content creation and distribution. Ingrid has led or co-led 14 funded research projects, the most recent being an ARC DP [Games of Being Mobile] with Larissa Hjorth. She is contributing co-editor of Studying Mobile Media (Routledge, 2011) and co-author of Gaming in Social, Locative and Mobile Media (Palgrave, 2014), Ambient Play (MIT, 2020), Understanding Games and Game Cultures (Sage, 2020), Exploring Minecraft: Ethnographies of Play and Creativity (Palgrave, forthcoming), and Mobile Media and the Urban Night (Palgrave, forthcoming).


Hugh Davies is an interdisciplinary artist, curator and researcher. He is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Design and Creative Practice Enabling Capability Platform. Hugh’s practice explores histories of media devices and cultures of games and play in the Asia Pacific Region. His curation of videogames has included the 2018 Longitude exhibitionand involves ongoing consultancy with museums internationally. His practice-led research seeks to map new histories and futures for intercultural communication and understandings of place in the Asia Pacific Region.

Hugh Davies is currently developing new ethnographic methodologies for researching games in both actual and screen spaces. He recently pioneered embodied videogames ethnographic techniques in his project Hong Kong Architecture in the Videogames Vernacular. This project paired the exploration of Hong Kong in 150 videogames with real-world psychogeography in that city.


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.

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