What’s that Logo?

It’s not a microchip; it’s a Mies corner. Chicago architect Mies van der Rohe used existing technology—steel i-beam construction as shown in the logo—to realize his vision. Technology did not dictate his design, rather Mies employed technology in imaginative ways to develop its full potential and beauty. The corner, traditionally a difficult element to design, in a Mies building is more than an example of the intersection of aesthetic vision and technology. Mies’ design has significantly improved the built environment for Chicagoans and the subsequent development of modern architecture. While perhaps on a less monumental scale, THATCamp shares these aspirations — not only to exploit technology to carry out the vision of humanities scholarship but to improve technology itself, with lasting, practical, well-designed projects as a result. THAT is more.

What is a THATCamp?

Here are the key characteristics of a THATCamp:

  • There are no spectators at a THATCamp; everyone participates.
  • It is small and intimate, having anywhere from 25 or 50 to no more than 100 participants. Most THATCamps aim for about 75 participants.
  • It lasts no more than two days.
  • It is not-for-profit and inexpensive; it’s funded by small sponsorships (e.g., for breakfast) and by passing the hat around to the participants. Attendance should be free, but attendees can donate to cover expenses if they want.
  • It’s informal: there are no lengthy proposals, papers, or presentations. The emphasis is on discussion or on productive, collegial work.
  • It is also non-hierarchical and non-disciplinary: THATCamps welcome graduate students, scholars, librarians, archivists, museum professionals, developers and programmers, administrators, managers, and funders; people from the non-profit sector, the for-profit sector, and interested amateurs.
  • Participants make sure to share their notes, slides, and other materials from THATCamp discussions before and after the event on the web and via social media.

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.

Who should attend?

Anyone with energy and an interest in the humanities and/or technology.

What should I propose?

That’s up to you. Sessions at THATCamp will range from software demos to training sessions to discussions of research findings to half-baked rants (but please no full-blown papers; we’re not here to read or be read to.) 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 sponsor THATCamp?

A limited number of sponsorships are available to corporations and non-profits. Send us an email at thatcampchicago@gmail.com.

Write the THATCamp Coordinator at thatcampchicago@gmail.com with any and all questions.

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