June 22nd, 2010

About THATCamp Bay Area

THATCamp Bay Area is a user-generated “unconference” where humanists and technologists meet to work together for the common good. “THAT” = “The Humanities And Technology”. It’s inspired by the original THATCamp, organized in 2008 by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, and is one of a growing number of regional THATCamps springing up around the world.

When and Where

THATCamp Bay Area will be held on October 9-10, 2010 at the Automattic Lounge on Pier 38 in San Francisco. Thanks to Automattic, the people behind WordPress.com, for hosting us in their beautiful space, right on the San Francisco Bay. Please see the Logistics page for more about specific times and location information.

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.

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 an 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 Two Feet,” which says: If at any time during our time together you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, use your two feet, 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 will 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. You can get an idea of what kinds of sessions have happened from past THATCamps by paging through the blogs of THATCamp Prime and Great Lakes THATCamp, for instance.

What’s the BootCamp?

Alongside the regular unconference sessions, we’ll be running a BootCamp featuring hands on training. The BootCamp will provide an introduction to some of the tools, methods, technologies and standards used by researchers in the digital humanities. It’s a camp within a camp – a crash course to get you up and running, helping you to get the most out of your THATCamp experience. We’ll be tailoring the content of the BootCamp to the interests of participants, so if there’s anything you’d like to learn, let us know on the application form. There is also a limited number of fellowships available to attend BootCamp.

How do I register?

Numbers are limited so we might have to do a little vetting. If you’re interested in attending THATCamp Bay Area just fill in the brief application form, which has space for a bio, session ideas you might propose, and skills you might want to learn or teach in BootCamp. Applications will be open from August 1 to September 1, 2010.

How much does it cost?

We’re asking for a $25 donation which helps cover some of the costs of coffee and breakfast snacks, lunch on Saturday, T-shirts, and drinks on Saturday night. Not a bad deal, eh?

Who are the Organizers?

Jon Voss (@LookBackMaps), LookBackMaps.net
Lori Lindberg (@msarchive), San Jose State University, School of Library and Information Sciences
Shannon Supple (@mazarines), Robbins Collection, UC Berkeley
Glen Worthey (@gworthey), Stanford University Libraries
Barbara Hui (@barbarahui), UC Humanities Research Institute
Cameron Blevins (@historying), Stanford University

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 sphere of influence, and helping us solicit sponsorship:

Aaron Straup Cope, Stamen Design
Abigail Phillips
Ari Y. Kelman (@aykelman), UC Davis
George Oates (@openlibrary), Internet Archive
James Leventhal (@jamesgleventhal), Contemporary Jewish Museum
Kirrily Robert (@skud), Freebase
Kris Carpenter Negulescu, Internet Archive
Mano Marks (@manomarks), Google Maps
Megan Prelinger (@meganprelinger), Prelinger Library & Archives
Perian Sully (@p_sully)
Rick Prelinger (@footage), Prelinger Library & Archives
Roy Tennant (@rtennant), OCLC
Schuyler Erle (@schuyler)

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.

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