What is THATCamp Bay Area?

The Humanities and Technology Unconference (“THATCamp”) is a global phenomenon that has taken hold in the last few years, created and attended by people passionate about exploring the intersection of technology and the humanities. While every THATCamp is unique, they all have a lot in common. Here in the Bay Area, it’s entirely organized by volunteers across many sectors. We draw participants from local colleges and universities, libraries, archives, museums, various non-profits and for-profits, technologists, teachers, learners, enthusiasts–a great variety. The main requirement is that you have a passion for exploring the intersection of technology and the humanities, broadly defined. We try to hold our events in various exciting and inspiring locations, that are donated to us for free.

When and Where

THATCamp Bay Area 2011 will be held on October 22-23, 2011 at Google headquarters in Mountain View. We’ll have more detailed logistics as we get closer, and here’s the schedule.

Who Should Attend?

Anyone with a passion for the humanities and technology and the places they overlap. This includes academics, students (undergrads and postgrads), independent scholars, new media practitioners, lawyers, curators, archivists, cartographers, librarians, artists, public historians, enthusiasts, DIYers, hackers, developers, data-mungers and more. From complete newbies to hardened coders, anyone with the energy to explore the possibilities and problems raised by the application of technology to the humanities is welcome at THATCamp Bay Area.

How do I register?

If you’re interested in attending THATCamp Bay Area just fill in the brief application form, which has space for a bio and info about your interest in THATCamp. We’re looking for participants across diverse sectors and disciplines, and priority will be given by the order in which applications are received. Applications will be open from July 21 to August 31, 2011.

What is an “unconference,” and how does it work?

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.” An unconference is not a spectator event, and its success depends on passionate participants. No papers will be submitted, no formal presentations made. Check your ego and insecurities at the door. Participants will create the agenda, discuss their work, share their wisdom, and actively collaborate with fellow participants in a welcoming, inspirational and energizing environment.

Largely influenced by Open Space Technology, we’ll create the agenda in the first hour together, creating a marketplace of sessions in break-out rooms based on topics raised and organized by the participants. Participants are encouraged to propose topics on the website prior to the unconference, but on the morning of, participants will suggest a topic and find a slot on the marketplace board and take responsibility for the sessions and notes. Topics may merge or split, based on common interests and themes.

Throughout the event, one law is critical, the “Law of Mobility,” which says: If at any time during our time together you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, go someplace else. This is to say, all participants have the right and responsibility to get the most out of their time here, and are encouraged to move about between sessions freely. If you’re not getting something from one session, you’re likely missing something great in another, so move! There is plenty of space at THATCamp for “bumblebees” and “butterflies.” Bumblebees tend to move from group to group, cross-pollinating sessions by carrying energy and information. Butterflies float around and may not join any group, yet create space for quiet conversation and contemplation that is equally important.

What kind of session should I propose?

That’s up to you. You should come to THATCamp with something in mind, and on the first day you’ll have a chance to find a time, a place, and people to share it with. Once you’re at THATCamp, you may also find people with similar topics and interests to team up with for a joint session. Here’s some examples of sessions from past THATCamps.

What’s BootCamp?

Alongside the regular unconference sessions, we’ll be running a BootCamp featuring hands on workshops. The BootCamp will provide an introduction to some of the tools, methods, technologies and standards used by researchers in the digital humanities. For THATcamp Bay Area 2011, we are organizing our Bootcamp sessions around the themes of GIS, spatial analysis, and maps. If you are in the Bay Area, are knowledgeable in any of these fields, and would like to share your expertise at a bootcamp session, please contact us at .

Any THATcamp participant may attend a Bootcamp session, but we also offer several small fellowships for Bootcamp attendees. For more information, and to apply for a Bootcamp fellowship, please see thatcamp.org/go/fellowships/.

What are Dorkshorts?

Dorkshorts are sort of the THATCamp version of Ignite talks. Everyone who wants to give a Dorkshort has 2 minutes to showcase their idea or project or product. The time it takes to get your laptop hooked to the projector, etc is part of your time. A time-keeper will show you how much time you have remaining and let you know when your time is up. If you go past your allotted time, you face the wrath of the crowd.

How much does it cost?

We’re asking for a $20 donation which helps cover some of the costs of coffee and breakfast snacks, lunch on Saturday, and some swag. Not a bad deal, eh?

Who are the Organizers?

Scott McGinnis (@majining), UC Berkeley
Aditi Muralidharan, UC Berkeley
Barbara Hui (@barbarahui)
Supriya Wronkiewicz (@supriyavpw), SF Ballet Archivist, Museum Performance & Design
Dave Lester (@digitalhumanist), UC Berkeley iSchool, UMD-MITH
Shawn Simister (@narphorium), Freebase/Google
Lori Lindberg (@msarchive) San Jose State, Archive Consultant
Jon Voss (@jonvoss), Historypin

Special thanks to @amandafrench and the whole crew at CHNM behind the scenes of @THATCamp!

We’d also like to thank our organizing committee who are helping us out on things like getting the word out to people in their communities, and helping us solicit sponsorship:

What can I do to help?

We’re glad you asked! Right now, the main thing is to spread the word to people you think would love to be involved in this kind of thing. Point people to the website, and to @THATCampSF. If you’d like to help organize or sponsor, please let Jon Voss know.

Leave a Reply