Great Lakes THATCamp (The Humanities And Technology Camp) is a user-generated “unconference” on digital humanities originally inspired by the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University.
At THATcamp 2009, CHNM floated the idea of holding regional camps around the country, an idea that quickly took hold, leading to events in Austin, Texas (THATcamp Austin) Washington state (THATcamp Pacific Northwest), Columbus, OH (THATCamp Columbus) as well as planned events in California (THATcamp SoCal), and Paris.
Great Lakes THATCamp will be held on the beautiful campus of Michigan State University on March 20th and 21st in the Residential College of Arts & Humanities.
What is an “Unconference?”
The Wikipedia entry for “unconference” will give you a good idea what to expect. An “unconference” is “a facilitated, participant-driven conference centered around a theme or purpose.” These unconferences came up from the hacker world—see BarCamp—as a way to avoid high conference fees, sponsored presentations, and (for lack of a better term) the “fluff” that keeps people from getting down to business. Unconferences are not spectactor events, nor are they places to “be seen.” Participants are involved from the schedule creation to the wrap-up session, and actively present, discuss, and collaborate with fellow participants.
Who Should Attend?
Anyone interested in studying, supporting, teaching, researching, creating or otherwise shaping digital humanities, humanistic social sciences, information sciences, new media, and any other allied fields. You can be an academic, a librarian, an archivist, a developer, a writer, a student (grad or undergrad), a curator, a designer, an educator, a public historian, an archaeologist, an independent scholar, or any combination thereof (as most of us are). You can be an expert or a newbie; as long as you have something to talk about and things you want to learn regarding the intersection and integration of the humanities and technology, this is the place to be. The list of “who should attend” is as broad as the field of “digital humanities” itself.
So, No Suits, No Papers…What Do You do?
Show, tell, collaborate, share, and walk away inspired. Sessions at Great Lakes THATCamp will range from software demos to training sessions to discussions of research findings to half-baked rants. The only real thing we don’t want to see is people standing up and reading a full blown paper, this isn’t your typical academic conference – we’re not here to read or be read to.
Still a little unsure as to what you might want to propose? Check out the blog for the 2009 edition of the original THATCamp or some of the regional camps (THATCamp Columbus, THATCamp Pacific Northwest, or THATCamp Austin) to get an idea of the scope of topics. Don’t feel limited by these topics, however – If it falls under the topic of the humanities (very broadly defined) and technology, and impacts you, your organization, or the field of digital humanities (broadly defined) then it’s fair game.
How do I Submit a Proposal?
Easy! Just go to the Apply section of this website, fill in the form, and you are good to go. Unfortunately, we can only accept a max of 75 people, so we’re going to have to do some vetting. If you’ve got any questions about applying, contact Ethan Watrall (watrall [at] msu [dot] edu). Deadline for submitting is February 10th, 2010.
How Much Does Great Lakes THATCamp Cost?
THATCamp isn’t your average academic conference, so you aren’t going to have to pay your average (and usually outrageous) conference registration fee. All we ask is that all attendees kick in $25 to cover meals (attendees will be provided breakfast & lunch during the event), as well as a snazzy t-shirt.
What If I’m not From Around The Great Lakes?
Don’t live and/or work in a state or province that borders the Great Lakes? No problem! We are open to anyone who wants to attend – regardless of their location. In fact, we’d love to see people submit applications who aren’t in the Great Lakes area. That means that the discussions that take place at Great Lakes THATCamp will have a broader and more diverse perspective – which is awesome!
What If I’m not a Humanist?
The word “digital humanities” has become an umbrella for a large number of scholars in a wide variety of disciplines. Just because you don’t consider your self a “humanist,” doesn’t mean that you aren’t working in the digital humanities. There are also lots of domains – the sciences for example – that intersect with the humanities and humanistic social sciences in some very interesting areas. So, the bottom line is that even if you aren’t a “humanist,” you are still welcome at Great Lakes THATCamp. In fact, having “non-humanists” in on the conversations would make Great Lakes THATCamp even more diverse (and therefor super awesome)
Who is Organizing Great Lakes THATCamp?
Well, mostly the attendees. However, there are a few people who are making sure everything goes smoothly: Ethan Watrall (Michigan State University), Suzanne Fischer (The Henry Ford), Bill Turkel (University of Western Ontario), Brenda Trofanenko (University of Toronto/Acadia University), Amanda Sikarskie (Michigan State University), and Bethany Nowviskie (University of Virginia).
Hacking Wearables and E-Textiles Workshop
In this workshop, organized by Bill Turkel and Bethany Nowviskie, participants will play with components like the Lilypad Arduino (http://web.media.mit.edu/~leah/LilyPad), a tiny computer that can be sewn into clothing, stuffed toys, textiles and other craft items to create soft, interactive devices that are ‘high-touch’ as well as high tech. We will have a number of components on hand for participants to experiment with; you are also encouraged to bring your own LilyPad and supplies if you have a project in mind and want to take it home with you.
The workshop will be limited to those who are attending Great Lakes THATCamp (and only 20 people max). So, if you are interested in participating, just fill out the relevant sections when you submit your Great Lakes THATCamp application.
This workshop is intended for people of all skill levels – so no prior experience is required. Participants will not have to bring sewing machines, as we will have a number available for use.
Interested in learning more about wearables and e-textiles? Check out these resources:
- a Zotero group on soft-circuits teaching, theory, and practice: http://www.zotero.org/groups/soft_circuitry/
- “Open Softwear: Fashionable Prototyping and Wearable Computing Using the Arduino” (an open-access PDF): http://softwear.cc/
- http://www.fashioningtech.com (for project ideas)
- http://www.kobakant.at/DIY (for project ideas)
- http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/soft_circuits (for project ideas)