Centre culture and connection

Members at a Digital Child Connect online catch-up

Building a positive research culture in our establishment year is critical to the Centre’s success.

Centre culture is the foundation on which our members draw the connections, collaborations and values they need to drive high-quality research work. Our Centre comprises nodes spread across the country and includes researchers based around the world, so a spirit of collaboration and an ease of connection is essential. Our Strategic Plan provides members with a shared vision, purpose and values that influence how they work with other members and the ways they approach their research. To further support this value, in 2021 the Centre delivered initiatives that contributed to a research environment where members are engaged, inspired, supported, connected and included.

Digital Child Connect

Digital Child Connect is the umbrella name for the Centre’s weekly online member-wide catch up and newsletter. Led by the Centre Director, the online catch-ups began in April and quickly became a staple in the Centre’s calendar. The half-hour meetings, held every Monday morning, are a casual and informal platform to share Centre updates and opportunities, and for members to share their own news and achievements. Every fortnight, the online catch-ups are followed up with a Digital Child Connect email newsletter including a wrap-up of Centre updates and news.

In December, members were surveyed on the Digital Child Connect catch-ups and newsletter. The feedback showed that members highly valued the regular opportunity to connect, share and collaborate, particularly with nodes spread across the country.


“As we are physically separated, it’s great to see and hear from people that I wouldn’t normally interact with.”

“Great start to the week! Nice to hear news and updates…and have the opportunity to discuss new developments in the Centre.”

Anonymous member feedback on Digital Child Connect


Digital Child Hub

The Hub is the Centre’s online intranet for members. It’s a one-stop-shop for information and resources to help members undertake their research, including information on ethics and publications processes, project information and communications. Members can read the latest news and events to keep up-to-date with Centre happenings. The Hub also houses a set of online forms to help operationalise projects and member onboarding. The Centre is built on principles of transparency and open work. For this reason, members can access all committee meeting minutes and agendas on the Hub. Since the Hub went live in March, it’s organically grown to become an essential platform for sharing information and collaboration.

Centre Clubs

In 2021, the Centre established three clubs as platforms for members to develop their research skills and establish a community of practice in certain areas of research or within member groups. The Digital Ethnography Club is for members interested in exploring aspects of digital and video ethnographic practices, such as digital equipment and resources, engaging in sustainable digital ethnography practices, and analysis of digital ethnographic data.

The Early Career Researcher (ECR) Club and HDR Student Journal Club are clubs for respective members to connect, share and learn with their peers. The clubs are both self-organised and managed by ECRs and students, providing members who are young in their research practice with the autonomy and licence to set their own growth and development. Read more about our clubs below.


Early Career Researcher Club

Dr Kylie Stevenson (pictured) initiated the Early Career Researcher (ECR) Club in October 2021 after noting a gap for ECR collaboration and connection when she joined the Centre as a Research Fellow in September 2021. With support from the Centre, the first meeting was held in October 2021, where ECRs brainstormed ways to run the club and topics they were interested in discussing. The ECR Club has grown to 22 members across all nodes with a range of Research Assistants, Research Fellows, and Associate Investigators as members. The key benefit of the ECR Club is to provide an excellent capacity-building community of practice for the next generation of researchers of the digital child. ECRs share their own practice and knowledge, and use their external networks to communicate and share cutting edge research practice, growing their research skills while, at the same time, growing the skills and networks of others.

HDR Student Journal Club

The student-led HDR Student Journal Club, established in the Centre’s first year, is reflective of the committed, curious, and cooperative approach to research at the Centre, that aims to bring out the best in its highly diverse research community.

Having an interest in community-building, I was very excited to get involved in establishing a student-run journal club at the Centre, when Director Professor Susan Danby first mentioned the idea. From its very inception, the aim of the club has been to provide a space for students to meet and interact with their peers around Centre-related research interests, combining opportunities for professional development, social interaction, and networking. Its growing base of monthly attendees is testament to its relevance for students, further facilitated through the Centre’s excellent digital infrastructure and helpful administrative support – allowing efficient communication, and providing access to synchronous and asynchronous modes of engagement with club materials (e.g., past session recordings), via the Centre’s online Hub.

The club has become an effective way to welcome new Centre students into a community of supportive peers, and an important tool that – despite the physical separation between the nodes – fosters a connected student cohort, contributing to a thriving research community.

Katrin Langton, PhD student

Digital Ethnography Club

The Digital Ethnography Club was established for members interested in exploring aspects of digital and video ethnographic practices, such as digital equipment and resources, engaging in sustainable digital ethnography practices, and analysis of digital ethnographic data. This club was initiated by Associate Professor Karen Murcia (pictured) as an outcome of discussions in the weekly Digital Child Connect meetings in August 2021. Researchers were wanting to share experiences and generate ideas and possibilities for the use of video and ethnographic practices. Three sessions were held in 2021, with plans for sessions to continue into 2022. These sessions included:

  • Learning from past projects: sharing examples of past projects and examples of the video data collection methods and protocols developed for engaging with young children through research, led by Professor Lisa Kervin.
  • Past learnings; options and opportunities for future work: Identifying affordances of fixed, flexible mountings and mobile cameras, led by Associate Professor Karen Murcia.
  • Ethical considerations: Exploring the use of the terms Digital Child as presented in the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, led by Professor Louise Paatsch.

These presentations brought together Digital Child researchers with a common interest in strengthening their research practice through the sharing of experiences and expertise. The group explored research contexts and questions about the nature of digital ethnography and considered what constitutes low-risk or higher-than-low risk when researchers are including participants under the age of 18 years and using video as a means of data collection.

The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child acknowledges the First Australian owners of the lands on where we gather and pay our respects to the Elders, lores, customs and creation spirits of this country.