What is a THATCamp?
Here are the key characteristics of a THATCamp:
- It’s collaborative: there are no spectators at a THATCamp. Everyone participates, including in the task of setting an agenda or program.
- It’s informal: there are no lengthy proposals, papers, or presentations. The emphasis is on productive, collegial work or free-form discussion.
- It’s spontaneous and timely, with the agenda / schedule / program being mostly or entirely created by all the participants during the first session of the first day, rather than weeks or months beforehand by a program committee.
- It’s productive: participants are encouraged to use session time to create, build, write, hack, and solve problems.
- It’s lightweight and inexpensive to organize: we generally estimate that a THATCamp takes about 100 hours over the course of six months and about $3000 to organize.
- It’s not-for-profit and either free or inexpensive (under $30) to attend: it’s funded by small sponsorships, donations of space and labor, and by passing the hat around to the participants.
- It’s small, having anywhere from 25 or 50 to about 150 participants: most THATCamps aim for about 75 participants.
- It’s non-hierarchical and non-disciplinary and inter-professional: THATCamps welcome graduate students, scholars, librarians, archivists, museum professionals, developers and programmers, administrators, managers, and funders as well as people from the non-profit sector, people from the for-profit sector, and interested amateurs. The topic “the humanities and technology” contains multitudes.
- It’s open and online: participants make sure to share their notes, documents, pictures, and other materials from THATCamp discussions before and after the event on the web and via social media.
- It’s fun, intellectually engaging, and a little exhausting.
What is an “unconference”?
The shortest answer is this: an unconference is a highly informal conference. Two differences are particularly notable. First, at an unconference, the program isn’t set beforehand: it’s created on the first day with the help of all the participants rather than beforehand by a program committee. Second, at an unconference, there are no presentations — all participants in an unconference are expected to talk and work with fellow participants in every session. An unconference is to a conference what a seminar is to a lecture; going to an unconference is like being a member of an improv troupe where going to a conference is (mostly) like being a member of an audience. Unconferences are also free or cheap and open to all. For more information, see Wikipedia’s entry on the unconference.
Who should attend?
Anyone with energy and an interest in the humanities and/or technology.
What should I propose?
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). See the list of sample sessions at the original thatcamp.org/proposals/ for ideas, or come up with a creative idea of your own for a session genre or topic. You should come to THATCamp with something in mind, and on the first day, all THATCamp participants will figure out together what goes on the schedule.
Is a THATCamp only for scholars / grad students / librarians / archivists / programmers / instructional technologists? Can scholars / grad students / librarians / archivists / programmers / instructional technologists apply?
No to the first, yes to the second. THATCamp aims at the broadest diversity of backgrounds and skills possible.
How can I get funds to travel to THATCamp Caribe?
Some academic participants have mentioned at other THATCamps that their universities will not fund any travel unless for the purpose of presenting a paper, and since there are no presentations and no papers at THATCamp, they cannot come to THATCamp. We have a few suggestions. First, you might frame your trip to THATCamp as “professional development,” if such a category exists at your organization — coming to THATCamp is definitely much more of a learning experience than a showing-off experience.
We will attempt to raise funds for a number of participants from the Caribbean and low-income graduate students from the United States. The funds will cover travel and lodging. There is no registration fee for the unconference. We encourage you to register first, even if you don’t have funds. We will work really hard to help you get to Mayagüez.
How much does it cost to register?
Zero, nada, rien, niets, anyen… 00.00
What if I don’t have a visa?
Go ahead and register. We will work tirelessly to get you an academic visa. With the support of several academic institutions in Puerto Rico and the continental US, we don’t expect major problems. To learn more visit the Visas section in our Travel page.
How do I organize my own THATCamp?
If you can’t join us and you think there should be a THATCamp held at your university, there’s plenty of advice for THATCamp organizers on thatcamp.org/plan. After you’ve read through that, and looked through some old THATCamp websites (there’s a list at thatcamp.org), why then you can go right ahead and register a new THATCamp. If your THATCamp will be in the Caribbean, let us know. We would love to share our experiences and perhaps even help you set it up.