Participatory Digital Ethnography

Master Class by Darcy Alexandra (University of Bern) and Koen Leurs (Utrecht University)

Organized by the Digital Ethnography Initiative, Vienna Visual Anthropology Lab, and Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna, and the Visual Studies Platform at the Central European University. 
The Master Class will be held online on November 9, 2021. The discussion will focus on the use of digital, visual, or multimodal methods in participatory research. During a public co-lecture (17.30 – 19.00 hrs.), the two guest lecturers will introduce their views on participatory research with examples from their own research.

Dr. Darcy Alexandra

Darcy Alexandra is a lecturer and researcher at the Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Bern, Switzerland. Her co-creative ethnographic research and workshops have engaged with diverse participants including political asylum seekers, refugees, and undocumented migrants. Drawing from poetry, creative non-fiction, moving and still image, she has developed digital storytelling as a research method and mentors learning partners in representing their lived experiences and knowledge.

The title of her talk is Audiovisual Storytelling: Toward a Shared Practice of Inquiry


Dr. Koen Leurs

Koen Leurs is an assistant professor in Gender and Postcolonial Studies at the Department of Media and Culture, Utrecht University, the Netherlands. His research focus is on digital migration. His participatory action research seeks to enhance media literacy and critical consciousness of young migrants through media production – particularly of refugees, who are commonly the object of stereotypical visual media representation. 

The title of his talk is: Co-creating knowledge through researching personal digital archives with young connected migrants

During the so-called European refugee crisis (2015-2016) there was strong media attention for forced migrants arriving in Europe carrying smart phones and taking selfies. Now that the hype of the refugee selfie has subsided, this talk will explore whether and how personal digital archives (such as smartphones and social media profiles) of young connected migrants can work as resources for differently perceiving, narrating, and representing migration. From Lisa Malkki we know most audiences “have a strong visual sense of what ‘a refugee’ looks like” (1995, p. 10), but little is known about the gaze of migrants themselves, what do they chose to see and how do they self-represent themselves? This talk draws from participatory-action research fieldwork conducted between 2016 and 2020 with 42 young refugees in the Netherlands.

Master Class series:

New media practices for social research

Following the CEU’s move to Vienna, the Vienna Visual Anthropology Lab (VVAL) of the University of Vienna joined force with the Visual Studies Platform (VSP) of the Central European University to initiate a series of online master classes on NEW MEDIA PRACTICES FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH. The series brings students and staff from both institutes together with international experts to deepen exchange and reflection on key themes discussed in current Master courses on visual and multimodal anthropology. The sessions include lectures, screenings, and workshops to offer participants new ways of conceptualizing as well as practicing research. For this session on PARTICIPATORY DIGITAL ETHNOGRAPHY, we join force with the Digital Ethnography Initiative (DEI).

January 2021

Decolonizing multimodal anthropology and the politics of collaboration

March 2021

Toward sonic ethnography?

May 2021

Ecography: anthropological films and climate change

November 2021

Participatory digital ethnography