I spent today at a conference. Well, technically it was an unconference – a THATCamp to be precise, a Digital Humanities event (THAT stands for “Technology And The Humanities”) which is a semi-planned, mostly make it up as you go along, mix of planned and impromptu sessions based around the idea that everyone has something to learn and something to teach.  It’s quite different from a standard academic conference (which is why they call it an “unconference”) – only a handful of the attendees were traditional academics, the rest of us were from IT, or the “GLAM” sector (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums), or just vaguely interested in the ways that technology is allowing Humanities to ask new questions, or to ask very old questions in new ways.
The sessions were a strange mix of techy geeky stuff and deep philosophical discussion (which combination is at the heart of what Digital Humanities is all about) – for example, a workshop on how to programme a kitset-like Raspberry Pi computer to get your doorbell to talk to your cellphone was followed by a discussion on what community means in the age of Facebook and Twitter.  In the lunch break there were “Dork Shorts”, 3 minute speed presentations on various projects people are working on – Lucy-Jane and I gave a demo of the Javascript bookmarklets we’ve been playing with lately.
Definitely a very interesting day, and gave me lots to think about.  I’m looking forward to getting back to work on Monday so I can try out some of the cool ideas I picked up.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love my job? 🙂

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