Researchers


Chief Investigator: Heather Horst 

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Heather Horst is Professor and Director of Research Partnerships in the College of Design and Social Context at RMIT University, Australia. She was also Founding Director (2012-2015) of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre. Heather’s research focuses upon understanding how digital technologies, mobile phones and other forms of material culture mediate relationships, learning, and mobility. These themes are reflected in her publications which include The Cell Phone: An Anthropology of Communication (Horst and Miller 2006, Berg), Living and Learning with Digital Media: Findings from the Digital Youth Project (Ito, Horst, et al. 2009, MIT Press), Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with Digital Media (Ito, et al. 2010, MIT Press), Digital Ethnography: Principles and Practices (Pink, Horst, et al, 2016, Sage) and an edited book Digital Anthropology (Horst and Miller 2013, Berg), which was recently translated into Chinese and Arabic.  Her current research, funded by the Australian Research Council, the European Union Horizon 20/20 Programme and industry partners, explores transformations in the mobile telecommunications industry and the emergence of mobile, social and locative media practices across the Asia-Pacific region. Contact: heather.horst@rmit.edu.au (January 2016)


Partner Investigator:  Robert Foster

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Prof. Foster has done research in Papua New Guinea since 1984. He has been a visiting professor at the Australian National University and at L’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. His current research interests include globalization, corporations, commercial media, museums and material culture. His research has been supported by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, the Australian-American Educational Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Spencer Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is the author of Social Reproduction and History in Melanesia (Cambridge 1995) and Materializing the Nation: Commodities, Consumption and Media in Papua New Guinea (Indiana 2002), and the editor of Nation Making: Emerging Identities in Postcolonial Melanesia (Michigan 2005).  His most recent book is titled Coca-Globalization: Following Soft Drinks from New York to New Guinea (Palgrave Macmillan 2008).


PHD Student: Lucas Watt 

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Lucas Watt is a PhD candidate with the school of Media and Communications at RMIT University. His project title is “The Domestication of Mobile Money in Fiji: An Ethnographic Study”. This study seeks to understand the everyday ways mobile money services are being used in rural and urban Fiji. Lucas has a background in Development Studies having recently completed his Masters with The University of Auckland. His project will use a domestication framework to understand how the mobile money service is being integrated into the everyday lives of users. Contact:s3506093@student.rmit.edu.au


Honours Student: Wendy Bai Magea-Vavari 

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Wendy Bai Magea-Vavari is a Honours student with the Centre for Communication and Social Change (CSCM) at the University of Goroka. Previously Wendy worked a resident anthropologist and community affairs officer at Larus Energy in Papua New Guinea. Contact: wendy.vavari@gmail.com






Research Assistant: Luke Gaspard

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Luke Gaspard is a PhD candidate in the school of Media and Communication at RMIT University. The title of the project as it stands is ’“Entertainment of the Moment”: How the Internet and Cross-platforming is Changing Children’s Consumption of and Engagement with the Televisual’. Having won academic prizes at both Masters and undergraduate level from the University of East Anglia and University of East London in fields as varied as Television & Film Studies and Journalism, he is now undertaking funded research in an area where audience, children, new media and television studies intersect. Having enjoyed successful careers in the IT industry constructing physical networks and in band-management exploiting those networks, his current professional practices lie in education as a qualified classroom teacher with experience of teaching in the UK, Spain and now Australia. Contact: lucas.gaspard@gmail.com


Research Assistant: Christine Schmidt 

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Christine Schmidt has a PhD in fashion and extensive experience in design and project management. She works at RMIT on a number of projects in the school of Media and Communication