January Profile – Naomi Robinson

Naomi is in the final stages of her Master of Philosophy (Engineering) in the Computing and Information Systems department at the University of Melbourne, before moving on to her PhD. Her research uses ethnographic methods to explore livestreaming and video games with a focus on the online platform, Twitch.tv, a website designed exclusively for real-time video game content. Paying particular attention to concepts including publics and performance through understanding interactions, presentation of self, and identity, Naomi will bring discussions of social media, mental health, leisure and play, and the shift from a hobby to a profession, to the forefront. She completed Honours in Anthropology at the University of Melbourne in 2015, and a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Psychological Science at the University of Adelaide in 2013 and 2014.
You can contact Naomi at: naomir@student.unimelb.edu.au
Visit her website: https://naomieirobinson.wordpress.com/
Or follow her on Twitter: @naomieir

ANSA speaks to… Naomi Robinson

1. What first attracted you to anthropology?

Anthropology was something I naturally fell into. It’s something I always speak to colleagues about; that to be an anthropologist, you have to be a certain type of person, someone who knows there’s more than one side to every story, they like to observe the situations that they are in but also things going on in the periphery, and they have a love for learning about people and their lives – those are things I have always known about myself, and after I moved to anthropology from biomedical science, everything fell into place for me.

2. What resource, writing, or fieldwork tips do you have for those new to anthropology?

Attend as many seminars and symposiums as you can, no matter the size and even when it doesn’t seem like it would relate to your work. It’s a good way to become a familiar face, to make connections, but you can be inspired by one word that someone says.
My tip for writing is simple, it’s never too early to start writing and everything is worth writing down. You might end up with a lot to cut down in the end, but sometimes (most of the time) your research interests will probably shift during and/or after fieldwork.
In terms of fieldwork, don’t freak out about the fact you feel like you’re making it up as you go. The truth is, all researchers are always learning and no two fieldwork experiences will be the same, so don’t beat yourself up. Every mistake is a teachable moment, and when you’re doing online research where the manuals are still being written and are readily changing, that is no truer than it is here.

3. What book are you currently reading (academic or otherwise)?

After buying this book in April, I am finally sitting down and reading, Internet Spaceships Are Serious Business: An EVE Online Reader, edited by Marcus Carter, Kelly Bergstrom and Darryl Woodford. I know some of the authors featured in the book (supervisor included), but even if I didn’t, I always end up reading anything academic related to video games, and this book is really engaging.

4. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about doing anthropology and/or ethnography?
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While doing postgraduate research, it’s yours and it’ll be your name on that thesis or dissertation. Trust your supervisors, but also trust yourself…and like anything in life, make sure you have the fire inside you to study what you’ve chosen.
Also, other students, staff, research fellows, and anyone else interested in ethnography are allies not enemies. No matter what you think, other people are going through or have been through similar situations while studying or researching, so it’s good to have people around you to share the highs and lows. Have you ever read an article or noticed a researcher at another institution that was related to your research? Well, you’d be surprised at where a quick email or knock on a door can get you. The opportunities in front of me wouldn’t have been possible or even known to me had a name not been given to me, and if I had not sent two spur of the moment emails.

5. What’s your favourite saying, phrase, or quote?

“She slept with wolves without fear, for they knew a lion slept among them” – R. M. Drake