THATCamp New Souths
Virginia Commonwealth University
901 Park Avenue, Richmond, VA 23284
Part of a national group of events, The Humanities and Technology Camp (THATCamp) is a user-generated "unconference," an informal and participatory event where humanists and technologists of all skill levels learn and build together in sessions proposed on the spot. The Richmond THATCamp has a theme: New Souths. "We're interested in exploring the point(s) at which technology intersects with social justice, history and society, activism and the sharing of hidden voices, especially in the modern American South," said Eric Johnson, head of Innovative Media at VCU Libraries. The lead organizer, Johnson said the theme New Souths was inspired by other events, including a 2011 THAT Camp that focused on technology and social justice. "We expect to draw participants from scholars, community activists, and others who study and/or are engaged in social and political action. Those who are curious about such an approach, or are experienced with it, are especially invited."
The event is free and open to all, but because space is limited to 75 participants, participants are asked to register in advance. Spaces for this event will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration closes March 1. For questions, please contact the THATCamp organizers at email@example.com.
THATCamp was originally the brainchild of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, where the first THATCamp was held in 2008. Since then, more than 60 THATCamps have convened across the US and internationally. This particular THATCamp is planned by the organizers of VCU Libararies' Digital Pragmata program; other staff of the VCU Libraries; faculty from the departments of History, of English and of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies; and others at VCU.
What is an "unconference"? According to Wikipedia, an unconference is "a conference where the content of the sessions is created and managed by the participants, generally day-by-day during the course of the event, rather than by one or more organizers in advance of the event." Participants in an unconference are expected to share their knowledge and actively collaborate with fellow participants rather than simply attend or read a paper. Unconferences strive to avoid pomp and hierarchy. As a result, they're generally more comfortable and free-flowing than a typical academic gathering. A frequent THATCamp attendee summed up the difference between a THATCamp and a regular academic conference this way: "[THATCamps] give all the good of traditional conferences and nix the endless PowerPoint presentations, sage-on-stage moments and insane costs."
Who should attend THATCamp? Anyone with energy and an interest in digital humanities. More specifically, we're looking for those with a particular interest in our exploration of the intersection of technology with social justice, history and society, activism and the sharing of hidden voices in the modern American South. Other participants might simply have a larger interest in the humanities and/or technology. To put it another way: community activists, scholars, library staff, museum professionals, undergraduate and graduate students, programmers, archivists, developers, non-profit staffers, people from the for-profit sector, lifelong learners—all are welcome, whether experienced THATCamper or first-timer.
What will happen at THATCamp? Our THATCamp will feature workshops and sessions. We're finalizing details about the workshops, but they are pre-planned, and feature informal and fun instruction in a particular skill or topic in the digital humanities. Sessions are looser, participant-generated gatherings, which will be collaboratively scheduled on Saturday morning of our THATCamp. At THATCamp New Souths, sessions may range from software demos to discussions of research findings to talk about uses of digital tools in community activism.
What's my role in shaping these sessions? Using our THATCamp blog, propose a session before we meet in person. Alternatively, bring a session idea and propose it to the group during our scheduling session. Once you're at THATCamp, you may also find people with similar interests to team up with for a joint session.