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Digital Intimacies

Digital media

“Digital intimacies” has come to signal an area of scholarly work in the humanities on intimate, social, cultural, and political life in the digital era. “Digital Intimacies” has also come to gesture towards a particular approach to the study of digital cultures – one that is centrally influenced by queer, intersectional feminist and gender theory in order to think through shifting notions of public and private in the digital era, and “digital intimate publics” (Dobson, Carah, and Robards, 2018). As social media increasingly open intimate lives and everyday sociality to public and semi-public gazes, we are in the midst of important cultural contestations over the meaning of intimacy, as well as the relationship between intimacy and politics. How intimacy plays out in, and in relation to, the digital has become a prominent concern in scholarship of digital cultures, as well as in broader public debate.

This program of research explores a range of digital media cultural practices and issues to do with digital intimacies and their contestation, including sexual communication, dating apps, online harassment and abuse, digital communities of care, mental health and wellbeing, digital activism and resistance, feminism online, identities and subjectivities in the digital media era, and related tensions around publicity and privacy, authenticity and commerce, that arise in digital cultures.

Program leader

Dr.  Amy Dobson,  Senior Lecturer, Internet Studies, Faculty of Humanities


Prof. Katie Ellis, Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT)

Prof. Crystal Abidin, Senior Research Fellow, Internet Studies, MCASI

Dr. Sky Croeser, Internet Studies, MCASI

Dr. Eleanor Sandry, Internet Studies, MCASI

Prof. Tama Leaver, Discipline Lead, Internet Studies, MCASI

Dr. Jin Lee, Research Fellow, MCASI

Dr. Sijun Shen, Research Fellow, MCASI



HDR Researchers

Janey Umback (she/her)
Janey is a PhD candidate in Internet Studies at Curtin. Janey’s PhD research examines digital remix cultures and gender identity within the fan communities of pop music idols Harry Styles and Jeon Jung Kook [BTS]. Her wider research interests include youth studies and popular culture, influencer studies, queer studies, and fandom.
PhD Project title: Spaces of Advocacy and Care: Digital Friendship and Allyship within Idol Fan Communities

Saadia Ahmed (she/her)
Saadia is a Pakistani Australian digital journalist and PhD candidate in Internet Studies at Curtin, based in Boorloo/Perth. Saadia hosts a podcast on the human rights issues in Pakistan. Her areas of interest include human rights, gender, disability, and advocacy.
Project title: Exploring gendered harassment of Pakistani women public figures on social media

Chloe T. Rattray (she/her)
Chloe is a PhD candidate in Internet Studies at Curtin. In 2022, Chloe received a First-Class Honours for her project examining the representation of disability, gender, and intersectionality in contemporary Australian documentary television. Through her work, Chloe aims to highlight the importance of diverse representation in media, ultimately contributing to broader discourse on social equity and inclusion.
PhD Project: Chloe’s PhD project explores the potential for animated fantasy to imagine alternative, affirmative futures for queer and disabled lives. By applying queer and crip readings to popular children’s animated television series, Chloe evaluates how animated texts and characters defy or subvert ideals of cis cisheteronormativity, compulsory ablebodiedness, and dominant approaches to social roles, identities, and kindship models.


ARC Discovery Project (2022-2024): “Understanding selfie-editing apps in youth visual digital cultures.”  ($166,626) Chief Investigators: Dr Julia Coffey, Dr Amy Dobson, Dr Akane Kanai, Professor Rosalind Gill.

ARC Linkage Project (2021-2023). “Young Australians and the promotion of alcohol on social media.” ($265,949). Chief Investigators: A/Prof Nicholas Carah, Dr Amy Dobson, Dr Brady Robards, A/Prof Dan Angus. Partner: Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education.

VicHealth Research Tender (2020-2021). “A Citizen Science approach to monitoring unhealthy industry digital marketing to young people.” ($200,000). Chief Investigators: Dr Brady Robards, A/Prof Nicholas Carah; Dr Karla Elliott, Dr Claire Tanner, A/Prof Steven Roberts, Dr Amy Dobson, Dr Michael Savic.

Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund (2020-2022). “#MeToo; A Cultural Shift? Young New Zealanders’ Exposure and Responses to Sexual Harassment Media.” ($842,000).  Chief Investigators and Principal Investigators: Prof Sue Jackson, Prof Antonia Lyons, Prof Jessica Ringrose, Prof Rosalind Gill, Dr Amy Dobson, Dr TNN Neha.