Week one at the DERC.

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Hello from my first week at the Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC) at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), where I’ll be a Visiting Researcher for a month hosted by the very mentoring and absolutely genius Heather Horst.

I just spent the last week traveling through four cities in three timezones to get here, and am all kinds of jetlagged.

On my first day, I landed at around 0600hrs and headed to my apartment far far awayyy thinking I could squeeze in a short nap before heading to campus to meet Joshua Nettheim, DERC fairy. I mapped out commuter routes by train and set three consecutive wakey alarms on my phone. I did wake up at 0830hrs as intended, although very unfortunately 0830hrs in Perth time (GMT+8) as opposed to Melbourne time (GMT+10)… sorry Josh. Pro-tip: Always switch the timezone on your phone the moment you arrive in a new city. And so, I was running late on my first day at my dream institute. Because adult. And mostly because math. I cannot math.

I also got up the next day with a fever and a massive flu and am now secretly dying inside while typing on a swanky Mac desktop in an office where I’m probably infecting everybody… okay I’m heading back after this. At least I can still hear through one ear and breathe through one nostril. Very classy.

Life kinda made up for it when I realized I was sharing an office space with CCIWS13 alum Jessica Noske-Turner, and also briefly reunited with CCIWS13 mentor Angela Daly this morning. I also met with Derek Walker, who is a friend of Rolf Lundin whom I knew from the MMTC at JIBSNatalie Hendry also came by to say hi on my first day, so yay I have friends. Maybe the universe is fair after all.

I’ll be giving some talks around various research centres here in RMIT and will post details on those soon. Apart from meeting (in 3D IRL!) with some of my academic goddesses and awesomesauce scholars I know through the books I have accumulated and websites I’ve stalked, I also foresee much serial Melbourne coffee-ing with old friends (it’s only day three and I’ve already been to Pearson & Murphy’s thrice… why do all the academics go there? Need context and socialization, please). Arrested development nugget: I will always order a hot chocolate because I don’t understand coffee. Coffee tastes weird. Hot chocolate tastes like happiness.

In all seriousness, I am going to spending my time here producing the second (and hopefully third) full drafts of my thesis. Only 72 days to go. #thesiscrysis (also, not cool when random tweeples hijack my hashtag, cry).

Updates from my Internet universes: While you’re checking out the DERC, also check out the newly minted Digital Media Research Centre (DMRC) at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) headed by Internet goddess Jean Burgess. By their powers combined, I think the DERC x DMRC will take over Australia. We also need a DxRC in Western Australia very very soon (pretty please?)

In other news, a whole lot of us at the University of Western Australia (UWA) have been pretty riled up of late. Will write about this properly soon, but in the mean time, please checkout #uwacutshurt and #stoplomborg for a glimpse of the systemic secrecy x dubious academic integrity x decline in quality research x institutional mess some of us have been trying to speak out against.

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Also, this campus is very disorienting. This morning I Google Mapped myself from Building 9 to Building 100 because geography. I also cannot geography.

Godspeed, pingu.