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Scholarship details

RTP2021 R2 Digital intimacies and social media

Status: Open

Applications open: 15/07/2020
Applications close: 1/09/2020

View printable version [.pdf]

About this scholarship

As social media increasingly open up intimate lives and everyday social and identity-making practices to public and semi-public gazes, we are in the midst of important cultural contestations over the meaning of intimacy in the digital age (Dobson, Carah and Robards, 2018).  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. Intimacy is generally understood as to do with the ‘personal’ and with ‘closeness’ — as describing feelings or relationships that are most ‘inward to one’s personhood’ (McGlotten, 2013). But, as much queer and social theory tells us, intimacy is also socially and culturally constructed and sanctioned, defined by institutions, laws, and social and cultural norms and practices. This now happens centrally through digital media, via public and semi-public media platforms and spaces. Digital platforms are structured by a ‘like’ economy (Gerlitz and Helmond, 2013), by drives towards the quantification of self (Lupton, 2016), and algorithms, as well as algorithmic imaginaries (Bucher, 2018; Carah and Angus 2018). Digital intimacy has been described in this context as a new kind of social capital (Lambert, 2016), as well as new media ‘genre’ (Raun, 2018). Practices of certain kinds of intimacies via the digital are increasingly seen as vital to ‘successful’ and economically productive use of social media, especially for cultural intermediaries and internet celebrities (Abidin, 2018). Simultaneously, many forms of intimacy and communication are being encoded, aggregated, analysed and commercialized, provoking unsettling questions about new forms of surveillance, influence, and control, as well as distinct lack of transparency around new avenues of data collection tracking practices, and forms of governance. We invite projects exploring a range of digital cultural practices to do with digital intimacies and their contestation, including on topics such as:

- digital identities, self-presentation online, and identity politics;

- dating and hook-up apps, sexual media, and sexual communication;

- digital feminisms, hashtag activism, and everyday activism; for instance, as associated with movements such as #MeToo and #Blacklivematter;

- influencer cultures and tensions around public intimacies, authenticity, and commercialisation

  • Future Students
  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Higher Degree by Research
  • Australian Citizen
  • Australian Permanent Resident
  • New Zealand Citizen
  • Permanent Humanitarian Visa
  • International Student
  • Merit Based

Total value of the annual scholarships (stipend and fees) is approx. $60,000 - $70,000 p.a.

Curtin PhD Stipends are valued at $28,092 p.a. for up to a maximum of 3.5 years.

Successful applicants will receive a 100% Fee offset.

Scholarship Details


All applicable HDR courses

·         English language IELTS level of 6.5

·         Future Higher degree by research applicants

·         Research skills or experience gained through academic or professional work

Application process

To apply for this project opportunity applicants must submit an email to the contact Project lead listed below. The email must include their current curriculum vitae, a summary of their research skills and experience and the reason they are interested in this specific project.

The Project Lead will select one preferred applicant for this project and complete a Primary reference on their behalf. 

After confirmation from the Project Lead that they will receive a primary reference for this project the applicant must submit an eApplication for admission into the applicable HDR course no later than 1st September 2020.

All applicants must send an external referee template to their chosen external reference. 

All references are confidential and must be submitted by the referee directly to no later than 1st September 2020.

Scholarship applications submitted without a primary reference or a completed application for admission will be considered incomplete.

For further information on the application process or for more RTP2021 Round 2 scholarship project opportunities visit: 

Enrolment Requirements

Eligible to enrol in a Higher Degree by Research Course at Curtin University by March 2021


To apply for this project opportunity email your current curriculum vitae, a summary of their research skills and experience and the reason you are interested in this specific project to:

Name: Amy Dobson


Contact Number: 08 9266 2341

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