2017: Digital Media, Games and Ethnographic Methods Seminar Series

29-30 Nov. 2017

RMIT Vietnam campus – Ho Chi Minh City

Welcome to the Digital Media, Games and Ethnographic Methods Seminar Series, a two-day event for HDR’s and early career researchers. The series brings together leading qualitative games and media studies scholars from SE Asia and Oceania, exploring the processes and research practices of qualitative games and digital media research. Participants will have an opportunity to engage with a core set of digital ethnographic research skills, specifically engaging in qualitative fieldwork exploring networked media through casework studies on games and public play in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Regional games research, and the notion of region (over nation) as Liboriussen and Martin observe, “… cannot be rigorously defined. This flexibility allows for the clustering of concepts, gaming practices, games and research networks that are national, supranational, transnational or subnational, and the fruitful relationships between regions existing at each of these scales” (2016).

During the two-day seminar, critical considerations on locality, situated play practices, research ethics, and field methods will be explored, with participants developing their own practice by engaging in a mini-exploration of public play in the city. Over 33 million people play games in Vietnam, with over 4,000 net cafes and a prevalent public mobile play scene. This seminar asks of its participants to engage with various locally situated practices of play, qualitative research methods, and consider their own position as researchers located in a specific field of networked leisure.

Hosted by games researchers and digital ethnographers Dr Hanna Wirman (Hong Kong Poly University), Dist. Professor Larissa Hjorth (RMIT Melbourne), Dr. Peichi Chung (Chinese University of Hong Kong), and Dr Emma Witkowski (RMIT Melbourne), this seminar looks to engage in critical dialogues which zoom in and out of international research on games and media cultures, digital ethnographic methods, and perspectives from regional game studies. Through a series of lectures, readings, practical modules, and fieldwork, seminar participants will engage in questions and practices of doing ethnography, researching emerging games and media cultures, and disseminating research.

Peichi Chung (CUHK)
Larissa Hjorth (RMIT)
Hanna Wirman (HKPU)
Emma Witkowski (RMIT)

RMIT University Vietnam, Saigon South Campus
702 Nguyen Van Linh, District 7
Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam



Morning session: 9:20 – 12:00PM

  • Introductions & logistics
  • Lecture #1/ Networked Ethnographic Practices 
  • Module work #1/ Capturing play

Lunchtime 12—1PM

Afternoon session: 1 – 3PM


Dinner break 6 – 8PM




Morning session: 9:30 – 12:00PM

  • Lecture #3/ Working with institutions, research challenges, and doing regional game studies 
  • Group Fieldwork Presentations 
  • Module work #3/ Drafting

Lunchtime session: 12:30 – 2:00PM – Esports stadium visit. Packed lunch provided.


Afternoon session: 4:45 – 6PM

  • Lecture #4/ Mobile Ethnography Practices, Co-presence & Re-drafting
  • Module work #4/ Summary of findings & potential futures.

Dinner:  7:30PM 

Resource Material

Two textbooks provide the core literature for the modules (please engage with the content of either work):

  • Digital Ethnography: Principles and Practice (Pink, Hjorst, Postill, Hjorth, Lewis, and Tacchi 2015).
  • Ethnography & Virtual Worlds  (Boellstorff, Nardi, Pearce, and Taylor 2012).

The following reading package includes relevant texts for discussion and practice. Please read prior to the seminar series:

Human Research Ethics: Please read prior to seminar

Academic and Administrative contacts

  • Research Capability Office, RMIT Australia, Ekaterina Kologrivova: research.capability [AT] rmit.edu [DOT] au
  • RMIT Vietnam Methods Seminar contact, Dr. Brian McCauley: brian.mccauley [AT] rmit.edu [DOT] vn
  • RMIT Australia Methods Seminar contact, Dr. Emma Witkowski: emma.witkowski [AT] rmit.edu [DOT] au