• Proposing a Session

    Everyone who goes to a THATCamp proposes a session. Do not prepare a paper or presentation. Plan instead to have a conversation, to get some work done, or to have fun.

    No papers, no presentations

    An unconference, in Tom Scheinfeldt’s words, is fun, productive, and collegial, and at THATCamp, therefore, “[W]e’re not here to listen and be listened to. We’re here to work, to participate actively.[…] We’re here to get stuff done.” Listen further:

    Everyone should feel equally free to participate and everyone should let everyone else feel equally free to participate. You are not students and professors, management and staff here at THATCamp. At most conferences, the game we play is one in which I, the speaker, try desperately to prove to you how smart I am, and you, the audience member, tries desperately in the question and answer period to show how stupid I am by comparison. Not here. At THATCamp we’re here to be supportive of one another as we all struggle with the challenges and opportunities of incorporating technology in our work, departments, disciplines, and humanist missions.

    Session genres

    General discussion

    Sometimes people just want to get together and talk informally, with no agenda, about something they’re all interested in. Nothing wrong with that; it’s certainly a much better way of meeting people than addressing them from behind a podium. Propose a session on a topic that interests you, and if other people are interested, they’ll show up to talk about it with you.

    Hackathon

    Several coders gather in a room to work on a particular project.

    Helpathon

    You’re working on something, and you suspect that some of the various people who come to THATCamp might be able to help you with it. You describe problems you want solved and questions you want answered, and strangers magically show up to hear about what you’re doing and to give you their perspective and advice.

    Writeathon

    A group of people get together to start writing something, whether it’s an article, a book, or a plan (please note, Great Lakes THATCamp has a “No Manifesto” policy).

    Solvathon

    People get together to figure out how to address a shared or general problem.

    Readathon

    A group of people show up to discuss a particular blog post, article, video, report, or book. Not much different from a graduate seminar or highly intelligent one-time book club.

    Workshop

    A pre-planned session with an instructor who leads students through a short introduction to and hands-on exercise in a particular skill. Great Lakes THATCamp has a series of BootCamp sessions, which means that attendees can apply for a fellowship. If someone is interested in running a non-bootcamp workshop, that is perfectly fine a well.

    Grab bag

    Ah, miscellany. One of our favorite categories. Indefinable by definition. It’s astonishing how creative people can be when you give them permission; performances and games are welcome.

    • David Staley, An installation, THATCamp Prime 2009.
    • Mark Sample, Zen Scavenger Hunt, THATCamp Prime 2010 (N.B.: The Zen Scavenger Hunt didn’t actually happen, but it was still a great idea).

    Adapted from: http://thatcamp.org/go/proposals/ and http://www.thatcampmelbourne.org/propose-a-session/