About

For more information about THATCamp in general, see the central THATCamp website at thatcamp.org and/or write the central THATCamp Coordinator at gro.p1503065580macta1503065580ht@of1503065580ni1503065580.

What is a THATCamp?

THATCamp stands for “The Humanities and Technology Camp.” It is an unconference: an open, inexpensive meeting where humanists and technologists of all skill levels learn and build together in sessions proposed on the spot. An unconference is to a conference what a seminar is to a lecture, what a party at your house is to a church wedding, what a pick-up game of Ultimate Frisbee is to an NBA game, what a jam band is to a symphony orchestra: it’s more informal and more participatory. Here are the key characteristics of a THATCamp:

What is an “unconference”?

The shortest answer is this: an unconference is a highly informal conference. Two differences are particularly notable. First, at an unconference, the program isn’t set beforehand: it’s created on the first day with the help of all the participants rather than beforehand by a program committee. Second, at an unconference, there are no presentations — all participants in an unconference are expected to talk and work with fellow participants in every session. An unconference is to a conference what a seminar is to a lecture; going to an unconference is like being a member of an improv troupe where going to a conference is (mostly) like being a member of an audience. Unconferences are also free or cheap and open to all. For more information, see Wikipedia’s entry on the unconference.

Some say that the first unconference was BarCamp, which is the model for THATCamp. Read more about BarCamp at barcamp.org, radar.oreilly.com/2005/08/bar-camp.html, and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BarCamp.

Who should attend?

Anyone with energy and an interest in the humanities and/or technology.

What are “the humanities”?

Good question. Turns out there’s a legal definition! As the National Endowment for the Humanities puts it: “According to the 1965 National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, ‘The term “humanities” includes, but is not limited to, the study of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life.’ ”

What is “technology”?

We suggest you read this brilliant article by Professor Leo Marx, American cultural historian at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “Technology: The Emergence of a Hazardous Concept.” (Side note: those who love technology should be those who are most aware of its hazards.)

What should I propose?

See the Propose page for ideas, or come up with a creative idea of your own for a session genre or topic. You should come to THATCamp with something in mind, and on the first day, all THATCamp participants will figure out together what goes on the schedule.

Is a THATCamp only for scholars / grad students / librarians / archivists / programmers / instructional technologists? Can scholars / grad students / librarians / archivists / programmers / instructional technologists apply?

No to the first, yes to the second. THATCamp aims at the broadest diversity of backgrounds and skills possible.

I’m poor. How can I get funds to travel to THATCamp?

Some academic participants have mentioned that their universities will not fund any travel unless for the purpose of presenting a paper, and since there are no presentations and no papers at THATCamp, they cannot come to THATCamp. We have a few suggestions. First, you might frame your trip to THATCamp as “professional development,” if such a category exists at your organization — coming to THATCamp is definitely much more of a learning experience than a showing-off experience. Second, you might wait for a THATCamp to pop up nearby so that travel will be cheap: you can sign up to be notified of new THATCamps by email. Third, you might contact the organizer of a THATCamp you particularly want to go to to see whether a generous sponsor might help fund your travel. Fourth, you might consider simply organizing your own THATCamp — that way, the world will have to come to you.

How do I organize my own THATCamp?

There’s plenty of advice for THATCamp organizers on thatcamp.org/plan. After you’ve read through that, and looked through some old THATCamp websites (there’s a list at thatcamp.org), why then you can go right ahead and register a new THATCamp.

Write the THATCamp Coordinator at gro.p1503065580macta1503065580ht@of1503065580ni1503065580 with further general questions about THATCamp.

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