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IKH - PhD course: Autoethnographic methods: Building ethnographic reflexivity through creative arts-based practice

Please contact PhD administrator Marianne Sloth Hansen for any issues regarding registration or payment ikh-phdadmin@ruc.dk.

uddannelse ph.d.
Undervisningssprog English
national_online kurset vises på den nationale database
vært Ph.d.-skolen for Kommunikation og Humanistisk Videnskab

The deadline for registration is April 15th, 2021 at events.ruc.dk/am

Applicants will receive notice of acceptance via email by the end of April.

Please check under the Languages and preparation section for details about the registration and application.

Kursus starter 07-06-2021
Kursus slutter 11-06-2021
Ekstern underviser

Annette Markham is Professor of Media and Communication and Co-Director of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC) at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. She is also Professor MSO at Aarhus University, Denmark (on leave).

Annette is the course leader and will hold the keynote speech during the course.

Annette is a well known ethnographer and methodologist, particularly for her work on building innovative and ethical approaches to studying the complexity of digitally-saturated social contexts. Her foundational work on digital culture demonstrates the value of the reflexive autoethnographic lens (Life Online, 1998, AltaMira Press). She most recently led Massive and Microscopic Sensemaking, a project with more than 150 people from 26 countries to build autoethnographic accounts of lived experience of COVID. As a member of the interpretive sociologist community that built and strengthened autoethnography as a practice in the early 1990s in the US, Annette brings a wealth of background and expertise in reflexive ethnography, critical autoethnography, and innovative methods and ethics for researching complex social contexts. She has written and taught extensively on these topics. Her work is published in a range of journals and books; more information and links can be found on annettemarkham.com


Languages and preparation

The working language is English for application materials, lectures, and discussions. Small group participants may elect to discuss in other languages.

Participations must provide the following three documents in the registration process or they will not be accepted to the course. All three documents should be combined into a single PDF when submitting.

1) A 1-2 page letter of motivation in English. Please explain what motivates you to attend the course, what you want to learn, and how you anticipate the autoethnographic approaches covered in this course will help you in your own research work.

2) A 1-page maximum biographical statement that includes, among other information you want to include, what type of program you are in currently, where you study, what types of methodologies you have used previously, and what stage you are in your current research.

3) A proposal in form of an autoethnographic exploration in English, max. 7.200 characters, not including references). We realize that students are in different stages. These autoethnographic explorations will be reviewed as a way to screen applications, match students in groups, and give feedback during the course. The proposal should give a concrete sense of how and why you use autoethnography in your PhD project (or plan to), and reflect on methodology in relation to your considerations about using autoethnography and/or actual experience with using autoethnography. We require proposals but note that these are not “papers”. We would like you to integrate a few examples of your empirical materials or preliminary autoethnographic experiments. The sample of your empirical materials is up to you; these can be excerpts of observations or diary, arts-based responses such as sketches, photos, notes, interviews, research log book, video diary, memory work, or other materials from field studies.

Please note that you are not required to continue working with the materials from the proposal during the course. In fact, course participants will produce new materials through several rounds of writing - during and after the initial June 2021 course sessions. These will be showcased in a symposium and plenary discussion on September 9-10, 2021.


The course is conducted online.


June 7, 9, 11: 3 half day intensive sessions via video conferencing 08:00-12:15

June 8, 10: Self-guided exercises, alone or in workshop format with your small team in ambient connection sessions.

June 12 - September 2: independent work

(Summer break)

September 3: Submit your piece to the group for responses and feedback

September 9: Performances, showcases, and other styles of presentation of participant work

September 10: 2- Hour followup discussion of methods, ethics, possible publications, and next steps

Detailed schedule:

Monday/Wednesday/Friday of the intensive week in June:

08.00-08.30 Turn on machines, informal chatting in Zoom or Teams interface, and get energized for the early start time!!

08.30-10.00 (promptly) lead off by Annette: generally in the form of lecture and discussion

10.00-10.30 Long break

10.30-12.15 Workshop and discussion with Annette

(08.00 start time in Denmark = 16.00 start time in Melbourne)

Tuesday/Thursday of the intensive week: Workshop, writing sessions, independent time

For further information: digital-ethnography.com

Deltagelseskrav for opnåelse af ECTS

Preparation Reading the course literature is required. We also expect you to read a limited number of papers by other PhD students.




About the course

The main objective of the course is to explore and practice autoethnography as a main or supplemental mindset and method. The course focuses on building participants' ability to conduct autoethngraphic reflections through active text and visual production for the PhD thesis. There will be group work with time to experiment with writing, as well as arts-based approaches to autoethnography.

Autoethnography covers well-known sociological and humanistic methods for critical-reflexive introspection on the researcher's role. It offers rich narrative, visual and performative approaches for linking personal experience with the larger cultural phenomena being studied. It emphasizes the importance of both recognizing and including one’s own experiences and subjective understandings at all phases of the research project, including building the ethnographic story or account. Common to auto-ethnographic approaches is that the researcher is clear about having a presence in the field and in the text, often by using a first-person narrative. Autoethnographic texts cut across multiple genres and media, e.g. from poetry, personal essays, short stories, journalistic accounts, or visualizations (e.g. photos, comics or impressionist drawings), to performative texts, performances, or films. This course introduces the ontological, epistemological and ethical premises of autoethnography, provides opportunities for practicing this approach through audio/visual/writing modes. In short, we will work on issues such as:

  • How can the different autoethnographic approaches help build the researcher's reflections and reflexivity?

  • What ethical challenges become more salient when engaging in autoethnography practice?

  • How can the researcher become clear about his or her own involvement in creating, feeling, sensing and understanding research and knowledge processes using autoethnography?

  • How can one use and defend autoethnographic approaches in more traditional academic disciplines and why might this be an important step to take in one’s own field?

  • What is the spectrum of theoretical traditions related to autoethnographic methods?

  • How can autoethnographic genres and media be applied by the individual course participant / researcher in a PhD thesis?

The course includes lectures and workshop time for autoethnographic text production (text in the expanded sense). The course includes three segments:

1) The first week includes three half-day meetings of lecture, discussion, and small exercises (Mon, Wed, and Fri), along with two days of independent practice with the approach (Tues, Thurs).

2) The second meeting occurs three months later, with a one day symposium inviting participants to showcase and present/perform their work.

3) The third meeting follows directly after the symposium, where facilitators and participants meet to talk about the outcomes, consider future publications, and discuss an ethics of care embedded in autoethnographic practice.

The groups are facilitated by Professor Annette Markham (RMIT University) digital-ethnography.com in collaboration with Associate Professor Lisbeth Frølunde (Roskilde University) forskning.ruc.dk/da/persons/lisbethf

Lisbeth will also give a presentation on her autoethnographic research in the Dancing with Parkinson’s collaborative project https://ruc.dk/en/forskningsprojekt/dancing-parkinsons

Students are expected to read the papers in his or her own group prior to the course as well as course literature. For more updates, visit the external course website here: digital-ethnography.com


Free for students from Denmark and other countries. Students should be enrolled at a Doctoral School within the Humanities. All other PhD students are welcome at the price of 3.600 DKK.

Maksimum antal deltagere

Max. participants: 16


See the list of literature on this website: digital-ethnography.com

Ansvarlig Lisbeth Frølunde (lisbethf@ruc.dk )