January 15, 2008

What Camp? THATCamp.

I’m very excited to announce our latest initiative at CHNM: THATCamp.

Short for “The Humanities and Technology Camp”, THATCamp is a BarCamp-style, user-generated “unconference” on digital humanities. THATCamp is organized and hosted by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, Digital Campus, and THATPodcast. THATCamp will take place at CHNM in Fairfax on the weekend of May 31 – June 1, 2008.

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.” An unconference is not a spectator event. Participants in an unconference are expected to present their work, share their knowledge, and actively collaborate with fellow participants rather than simply attend. There are many styles of unconferences. The most famous is probably BarCamp, an international network of unconference events focused largely on open source web development.

What should I present?

That’s up to you. Sessions at THATCamp will range from full-blown papers (not many of those, we hope) to software demos to training sessions to debates to discussions of research findings to half-baked rants. You should come to THATCamp with something in mind, and on the first day 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.

How do I sign up?

Unfortunately, we only have space for about 40-45 participants, so we’ll have to do some vetting. To apply for a spot, simply send us an email saying who you are, what you’re thinking about presenting, and what you think you will get out of the experience. Please don’t send full proposals. We’re talking about an informal email of maybe 200 or 300 words, max. If you want to attach a C.V., that’s OK too. Send your email to thatcamp.info@gmail.com.


The Center for History and New Media, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, MSN 1E7 Fairfax, Virginia.


May 31 – June 1, 2008.


Anyone with energy and an interest in digital humanities.

How much?

As with most BarCamps, THATCamp will be free to all attendees. But a $25 donation towards snacks and diet coke will be much appreciated by the organizers.

How do I sponsor THATCamp?

A limited number of sponsorships are available to corporations and non-profits. Shoot us an email.

This is going to be a lot of fun.


  1. That’s a great idea. I’m sure there will be lots of people blogging the conference live. What if we ask participants to tell us in advance if they will be live blogging the conference. Then we can set up a feed to aggregate all the postings. That way you (and others who can’t make it to CHNM) can get a sense of what’s going on. How does that sound?

  2. I saw during some marketing conferences a conception of using microblogging tools to encourage people to take part in the discussion. It can be also done by the preparation of offical chat room which live screen is published during the meeting in the wall of conferention room. In this way it is a chance for interactive dialogue between guests, internet users and conference lectors.

  3. Thanks. We’ll see what we can do. The camp will take place in several rooms of varying size at the same time, so it will be hard to arrange for a live feed to/from each room. Moreover, because many of the sessions will be working sessions rather than panel sessions, some will be more conducive to this kind of interaction than others. Finally, the budget for the conference is basically zero, so there is a limit on how much technology we can provide.

    My early sense is that some combination of IRC and Twitter, or another microblogging tool, may be our best bet. But let’s continue to toss ideas around. It would be great to find a workable way for people to participate remotely.

    Many thanks. –Tom

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