I am very happy to announce that I am organizing a THATCamp at the University of Kentucky June 1-2. You can follow @ThatCampKY on Twitter or visit our little corner of the web. So if you're in or near Kentucky (Ohio and West Virginia, I'm looking at you) and have not yet been able to attend a THATCamp because of cost due to distance, please feel free to sign up and come on over. I promise it will be a great time.
(If you’re wondering what a THATCamp is, please go here and read all about it. Basically, it is a place where people who are interested in the intersection of technology and the humanities come together to learn and share. What we do is completely up to the people in attendance.)
Thankfully, I was able to attend a THATCamp before having to pull one off myself. After three years of trying, I was finally able to attend a THATCampSE in Atlanta. This year, it was hosted by Georgia Tech, and we got to experience its new learning spaces, designed specifically for collaboration and multi-modal composition; there were terminals in the halls to display student and faculty digital work, rooms with movable desks and walls that doubled as whiteboards, and spaces that provided an environment to do the kind of work I (and others, I know) aspire to do in our classrooms.
As I have said before, space matters. THATCamp Kentucky will be held in the fabulous space in the William J. Young library in some great movable spaces. The library is also home to the Collaboratory for Research in Computer for Humanities, so hopefully we’ll be able to tie them in, too.
We discussed digital publishing, using visualization tools, the process of peer-review in the digital environment, as well as comics and DH (among other things). I missed the session on professionalization and DH graduate students'; I wasn't the only "in-between academic" but I wanted to really learn something new, rather than go over some of the same issues. But that was me. I really enjoyed the variety of people who came to THATCamp, too: historians, musicians, librarians, as well as English (both literature and composition). I was able to add my own little slice of expertise by keeping a "live" twitter archive and shared the resources I've used to keep Twitter archives and visualizations.
This may be a "free" conference, but there was (clearly) still a cost for me; but, there are things that I just can't learn from reading about it. Github is one of those things, and today we had an inpromptu session on getting started with it. I love the potential of using it to track the different versions of my writing, particularly as I write my book and try to keep track of the various changes I've made through my editing process. I'm still a little too green, but now that I've seen and been shown the basics, I feel more confident in being able to use it.
But, as always, the value of these face-to-face encounters is simply just being with like-minded people who are full of ideas and who geek out about similar things. Friday morning, I had an "opportunity" to try and explain the pedagogical value of a students' smartphone or social media to two 80+ year-old professors. I may only, in their eyes, "supposedly" have social media experience, but when I was at THATCamp, I knew that what they possibly saw in me is not actually who I am as an academic.
This is one of the reason why I wanted to create a THATCamp Kentucky, so that there was a low-cost way to bring together like-minded academics within the state of Kentucky (and the surrounding areas). I hope that we can pull off something really great, but it all depends on you. A THATCamp is only as good as the people who come to share. Please spread the word and come to Lexington at the beginning of June!