Date: December 17th (1pm-4pm) & 18th (10am-4pm)

Venue: Pavilion 4, Level 10, Building 100, Design Hub, RMIT City Campus


This workshop will explore how we might approach our digital ethnographic work in ways that upend easy notions of the individualized subject. It will explore methodologies for analyzing distributed systems, doing ethnography up close and at scale, and probe how we might weave in considerations of institutions, organizations, and technologies as key nodes of inquiry critical for our work. The workshop will be structured around shared readings and discussion, the presentation of works in progress by the participants, and two lecturers – one by T.L. Taylor (MIT) on ethnography and play and one by Mary L. Gray (Microsoft Research) on ethnography and work.

Mary L. Gray is a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research, New England. She maintains an appointment as an Associate Professor in the Media School, with adjunct appointments in American Studies, Anthropology, and Gender Studies, at Indiana University. Mary studied Anthropology before receiving her Ph.D. in Communication from the University of California, San Diego in 2004. Her research looks at how media access and everyday uses of technologies transform people’s lives. Her last book, Out in the Country: Youth, Media, and Queer Visibility in Rural America (New York University Press, 2009), which won awards from scholarly societies in anthropology, media studies, and sociology, looked at how young people in the rural United States use media to negotiate their sexual and gender identities, local belonging, and connections to broader, imagined communities. Mary’s current book project, co-authored with Computer Scientist Siddharth Suri, examines digital workforces and the future of employment through case studies of present day crowdwork on four different crowdsourcing platforms, comparing workers’ experiences in the United States and India. More information about the project can be found at: Mary served on the Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association from 2008 through 2010 and is the Executive Program Chair for the Association’s 113th Annual Meeting.


T.L. Taylor is Associate Professor in Comparative Media Studies at MIT. She is a qualitative sociologist working in the fields of internet and game studies. Her work focuses on the interrelations between culture, social practice, and technology in online leisure environments. Her book Raising the Stakes:E-Sports and the Professionalization of Computer Gaming (MIT Press, 2012) chronicles the rise of e-sports and professional computer gaming. She is also the author of Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture (MIT Press, 2006) which used her multi-year ethnography of EverQuest to explore issues related to massively multiplayer online games. Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method, her co-authored book on doing ethnographic research in online multi-user worlds, was published by Princeton University Press. She is currently at work on a book about game live-streaming.

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