I’ve recently come to this sobering realization: Twitter has made me a bit lazy. I’m so used to reaching an immediate audience that way (and it’s not a negligible one; the THATCamp Twitter account has nearly 700 followers, and I have somewhere north of 3000 (don’t be too impressed; I’m sure many of them are bots and spammers). Announcements I tweet often get retweeted, and then they make it into Digital Humanities Now, and then I’m left with the comforting feeling that what I’ve said has been heard. I’ve also been known to blog and to post announcements to HASTAC and HUMANIST and H-NET, but at that point I tend to shut my computer and call it a day.
But there’s a pressing need, I’ve realized, to reach an audience who does not frequent those digital halls. The BootCamp fellowship program is specifically designed for the benefit of “analog” humanists as well as digital humanists; the program is meant to introduce people who don’t necessarily have a great deal of digital expertise to people who do, to the possibilities of what computers can do to further and enrich the humanities, and, most importantly, to their own capacity to learn digital skills. Making things more difficult is the fact that THATCamp is not only interdisciplinary but interprofessional: we can’t just post an announcement in the Publications of the Modern Language Association and forget about it. We want to reach philosophers, historians, archaeologists, classicists, art historians, cultural critics, religious historians and theorists, and everyone like that there, but we also want to reach librarians, archivists, art museum staff, K-12 educators, and, well, just about anyone we can get our hands on.
To that end, I’m planning a mass physical mailing sometime in the next couple of months of a brochure describing THATCamp and the BootCamp fellowship program. But until that goes out, perhaps those of you who are reading this would consider e-mailing your departments, your co-workers, and your Aunt Nancy who works in the Analogville County Library to let them know that they’ve got as good a chance at anyone at a $500 fellowship that will help defray their travel costs to a THATCamp near them, or even not so near them. I’ve provided some sample text below. Please, as they say, disseminate widely.
The Humanities And Technology Camp (THATCamp): Fellowships available
THATCamp, The Humanities And Technology Camp, is a free, open, interdisciplinary “unconference” where humanists and technologists meet to work together for the common good. Through the generosity of the Mellon Foundation, the Council on Library and Information Resources, and the Kress Foundation, $500 (USD) fellowships are available to academics in the humanities, librarians and archivists, and art museum professionals of all ranks and fields to help defray the cost of traveling to a THATCamp for the purpose of attending both THATCamp and an accompanying “BootCamp” workshop series. BootCamp workshops are free, introductory workshops held at THATCamp that will enable humanists to begin acquiring digital skills that can help further humanities study: examples might include text encoding, data visualization and mapping, and website development.
Applications for BootCamp fellowships to THATCamps across the United States, Europe, and Australia are continually accepted; graduate students are particularly encouraged to apply. No advanced computing skills are necessary. Learn more about BootCamp workshops and apply for a BootCamp fellowship at thatcamp.org/fellowships. Note that while not everyone is eligible for a fellowship, everyone is eligible to come to THATCamp: find an upcoming THATCamp near you by visiting thatcamp.org and learn more about THATCamp at thatcamp.org/about. E-mail with any questions.