Friday, April 13, 2012

From Friday, March 31 to Sunday, April 1, THATCamp Iowa City took place in The University of Iowa Main Library. THATCamp (The Humanities And Technology Camp) was organized by UI HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) scholars Melody Dworak (MLIS candidate, Graduate College) and Katherine F. Montgomery (English PhD candidate, CLAS). Following an “unconference” format, participants voted on discussion topics on their first day, instead of pre-planned panels or presenters. 

Seventy-five people attended and presented at the three-day event, including scholars in the humanities and library and information sciences, archivists, and museum specialists. Workshop and discussion topics, all generated by participants, included "Teaching with a WIKI," "Accessibility, ADA, and the Tech Divide," "The Digital Dissertation," and "Museums and Social Media." (A full report of THATCamp, photos, video, and a Tweet roll are available here.)

Dworak and Montgomery decided to organize a THATCamp last fall. As UI HASTAC Scholars, they wanted to offer a large-scale project that would both further the discussion of the digital humanities on campus and offer some pragmatic assistance to their fellow graduate students and other scholars. They both deemed the three-day event a success. "The diversity of people who were there really led to new conversations," says Dworak. "I think most attendees gained new perspectives that might be incorporated into their future teaching, scholarship, and project work."

The HASTAC Scholarship provides UI students with an opportunity to create a project connected to the digital humanities on the UI Campus. Other projects have included organizing and filming talks with campus digital humanists and helping to create the City of Literature Smartphone app. The first HASTAC Scholars, Bridget Draxler and Peter Likarish (2010-2011), are both now teaching in positions that utilize their skills as HASTAC Scholars.