At Home with Digital Media

At Home with Digital Media

A symposium hosted by QUT Digital Media Research Centre (@qutdmrc)

2-3 November 2017

Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia



In Television: Technology and Cultural Form (1974), Raymond Williams coined the term ‘mobile privatisation’ to describe the experience of the private home as an increasingly technologised space. Since the 1920s, he argued, new technological ‘gadgets’ that improved domestic efficiency, new options in private transport to take people to and from their homes, and new media, such as the radio, which brought news and entertainment into the home have fostered an ‘at-once mobile and home-centred way of living’. Throughout the late twentieth century, family television consumption practices and the domestication of new media technologies were regular topics for media, communication and cultural studies. In the early 21st century, the rise of smartphones and the turn to mobile media led to a focus on the convergence of intimate forms of communication with the presence of digital media in more public spaces, such as the city and the street.

There is a resurgence of interest in the home in digital media research, and for good reason: the digitally mediated home is the site of household politics including intergenerational conflict and anxiety; it is a key factor in the economics of digital inclusion; and it is at the centre of a significant intensification of digital media technologies in everyday life. Taking the concept of ‘home’ less literally, domestication–the process of bringing new technologies home, making sense of them, and finding new uses for them–is  a key part of the innovation and embedding process; it is also how new the cultural logics of new technologies become normalised and entangled with our work, our leisure, our intimate relationships, and our daily routines.

Mobile technologies create complex flows of social relationships, personal and public communication, across the boundaries of work and home, private and public space. At the same time, the particularities of material spaces within homes offer diverse geographies of media production, consumption, and entrepreneurship: teenage bedrooms, kitchens and garages are the sites of cultural innovation, from new forms of storytelling to games and software development. And intertwined with the metaphors of comfort and enclosure, are less pleasant realities – homes are not always safe; and digital media can be implicated in household conflict and domestic violence.  

This symposium will feature a range of national and international scholarship on the changing relationships between digital media technologies and the home – as space, as place, and as a troubled metaphor for belonging.

Possible Themes

  • Smart homes and digital living: assistive technologies; the internet of things (aka the internet of shit); AIs and automation; pet wearables; contemporary and retro-futuristic representations of the digitally enabled home; new frontiers for direct marketing (e.g. Unruly and News Corp’s The Home)
  • Digital inclusion: digital technologies in the household economy; digital ability, agency and control in the household; digital media use in rural and remote homes.
  • Place, space and mobilities: the domestic and mobile geographies of media use and production; the mediatization of family spaces; digital media as a tool for regulating and governing household space and time
  • Media consumption, production and audience practices: kids and the ‘screen time’ debate; connected and multi-screen family viewing; work-life balance; the internet of toys; ‘let’s play’ and unboxing videos; vernacular creativity and mundane media.
  • Learning at home through digital media: early literacies and digital media; learning technologies; the home as a node in connected learning ecologies; social media entertainment, digital games and learning; maker culture

Featured speakers

Rebekah Willett speaker photo

Rebekah Willett is an Assistant Professor of Library and Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

She currently teaches courses on young adult literature, multicultural literature for children and young adults,  informational divides, and online participatory cultures. She has conducted research on children’s media cultures, focusing on issues of play, literacy, identity, and learning. Her publications include work on makerspaces, playground games, amateur camcorder cultures, online gaming, and children’s story writing.



Larissa Hjorth media photo

Larissa Hjorth is an artist, digital ethnographer and Director of the Design and Creative Practice ECP Platform at RMIT University.

Since 2000, Hjorth has been researching the gendered and socio-cultural dimensions of mobile media and gaming cultures in the Asia–Pacific—these studies are outlined in her books, Mobile Media in the Asia-Pacific (Routledge, 2009), Games & Gaming (Berg, 2010), Online@AsiaPacific  (with Arnold, Routledge, 2013), Understanding Social Media (with Hinton, Sage, 2013), Gaming in Social, Locative and Mobile Media (with Richardson, Palgrave, 2014), Haunting Hands (with K. Cumiskey, Oxford Uni Press, 2017), Digital Ethnography (with Pink, Horst, Postill, Lewis and Tacchi (Sage, 2016) and Screen Ecologies (with Pink, Sharp and Williams, MIT Press, 2016).

She was a co-founder of the Games Program with Jen Lade in the School of Media and Communication as well as co-founder (with Heather Horst) of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC).

Mark Deuze is Professor of Media Studies, specializing in Journalism at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Humanities. From 2004 to 2013 he worked at Indiana University’s Department of Telecommunications in Bloomington, United States. Publications of his work include over ninety papers in academic journals and books, including the monographs “Media Work” (Polity Press, 2007) and “Media Life” (Polity Press, 2012). Forthcoming books: “Beyond Journalism” (Polity Press, 2018; co-authored with Tamara Witschge), “Making Media” (Amsterdam University Press, 2018; co-edited with Mirjam Prenger). Deuze’s work has been translated in Chinese, Czech, German, Portuguese, Greek, and Hungarian. He has received a Donald W. Reynolds Fellowship from the Missouri School of Journalism (2015), a visiting Research Fellowship at the Center for International Communications Research of the University of Leeds in the UK (2007), and a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles (2003).

Submission process and key dates

Please submit paper proposals to Michael Dezuanni <> by 30 June 2017.

Proposals should include an abstract of 250–400 words along with a brief bio of no more than 100 words.

Presenters will be notified of acceptance by 10 July 2017.

Draft papers (3000–4000 words) of accepted presentations are to be submitted by 13 October 2017 for sharing and discussion among symposium participants.

Please note that there will be no registration fees for this event, and daytime catering will be provided; however participants will be responsible for funding and arranging travel and accommodation if required.


Michael Dezuanni

Jean Burgess

Peta Mitchell