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THATCamp CAA: An Unconference on Digital Art History

posted by Christopher Howard — Oct 17, 2012

Registration for CAA’s THATCamp has now closed.

CAA invites interested participants to attend its first Humanities and Technology Camp (THATCamp) “unconference” on digital art history, taking place on the two days immediately preceding the Annual Conference: Monday, February 11, NOON–5:00 PM, and Tuesday, February 12, 9:00 AM–3:00 PM. The event will take place at Macaulay Honors College, City University of New York, located at 35 West 67th Street in Manhattan.

CAA’s THATCamp is free and open to graduate students and scholars at all career stages. The only requirements for attendance are an active interest in how digital technology is affecting the discipline of art history and the humanities in general and a willingness to share your questions and ideas. Space is limited! Register today to secure your place. Graduate students may apply for a limited number of fellowships funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation to lessen the cost of travel expenses to New York.

The purpose of the CAA unconference is manifold: to increase awareness of existing digital projects in art history, architectural history, and archeology; to foster a community of scholars invested in digital art history; to identify digital tools that may be used to improve future CAA conferences; to facilitate technology workshops and training sessions; and to provide support for art-history professionals pursuing nontraditional career paths.

“Unconference” is a term that may be new to people in art and academia but has, in fact, been around since the late 1990s. It is used to describe a participant-driven meeting that in many respects is the opposite of a traditional academic conference. Formal presentations or a set program of speakers are not determined beforehand. Unconferences generate productive encounters among diverse groups of people, an experience that can be compared to being a member of an improvisational acting troupe.

THATCamp itself, however, is a recent invention, founded in 2008 at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, as a meeting for technology and humanities professionals—including professors, librarians, and museum curators—to share ideas and collaborate on projects. The camps have since sprung up in locations across the United States and internationally.