Tim Sherratt, organizer of THATCamp Canberra, asked me to say a few words when the event commenced. Here’s the written version:
THATCamp, like Fortune, favors the bold. So congratulations to you on boldly going where only a few have gone before, exploring a new type of academic conference. It can be a bit disconcerting for both organizers and participants, but that’s part of the fun: who wants a flat roller coaster?
Here are the ground rules for THATCamp, as beautifully expressed by Tom Scheinfeldt: THATCamp is fun, productive, and collegial. It’s fun, which means you are enjoined to be creative, witty, and above all short: it’s productive, which means that while we do hope you’ll have many wonderful conversations today, we also hope you’ll take the opportunity to begin writing articles, begin writing code, begin planning events, takeovers, partnerships, and love-ins. Finally, it’s collegial: we’re here not to compete but to collaborate, to meet amazing people who are, like us, devoted to the idea that ideas can make a difference, that it is not only technology but also the study and practice of humanity can lead to the betterment of humanity, and that the only thing worse than an impoverished mind is an impoverished heart. As Mita Williams memorably put it after attending Great Lakes THATCamp, “An unconference runs on love. “ And the proof of that is the careful genius of Tim Sherratt; only the separation of continents could prevent me from embarrassing him with my fervent admiration.