I began by just trying to figure out how many THATCamps I attended. I knew that I went to the original one at CHNM in 2008, presenting on a class that I had just finished teaching for the first time, and undergraduate Digital History course.
Then I realized that I actually had a section on my c.v. at one point that actually stated “THATCamp Sessions and Workshops”
- THATCamp AHA MLA (Chicago) 2019; proposed “Digital Fluency in an Information Age” again
- THATCamp AHA Denver 2017; proposed Digital Fluency in an “Information Age”
- THATCamp AHA 2016; proposed “Open Educational Resources in History: Where to Start and What to Do” and “Obligatory Valuing Digital Scholarship and Teaching Session”
- THATCamp Prime 2015 (I think I did Implementing DH Programs, but honestly, I’m not sure).
- THATCamp AHA 2015, proposed “Session proposal: What Should the Next THATCamp(s) Look Like?“
- THATCamp Council member, 2014-2015
- THATCamp AHA 2014 (co-organizer)
- THATCamp NCPH 2013 (helped run because Tom was sick); led Omeka Workshop; and proposed a session on “Digitally enabled museums”
- THATCamp Virginia 2013 (co-organizer): led workshop, “Teaching Digital History”
- THATCamp Leadership 2013; co-led session on “Show Me Your Data“
- THATCamp AHA 2013 (co-organizer): led workshop, “Teaching Digital History,” proposed session on “Classrooms and Learning Spaces of the Future”
- THATCamp AHA 2012: led workshop, “So, You Want to Teach a Digital History Class?,” proposed session on “The Problem of Old Digital History Sites”
- THATCamp Pedagogy 2011: (was supposed to lead) workshop with Amanda French, “Teaching with Omeka,” but got food poisoning and follow-up session on “Omeka in the Classroom”
- THATCamp CHNM 2011: proposed session, “Is Digital Literacy a Done Deal?”
- THATCamp Virginia 2010 (co-organizer): proposed session on “Classroom Technology.”
- THATCamp CHNM 2010: co-proposed session on “Cultivating Digital Skills.”
- THATCamp CHNM 2009: proposed sessions on “Archiving Social Media Conversations of Significant Events,” and “Strategic Planning, Digital Humanities, and Academic Computing: How to Get Money for Wild and Crazy (Academic) Times.”
- THATCamp CHNM 2008: proposed session on “Integrating Teaching and Research through Digital History.”
So, something like 17 THATCamps in 11 years. [I may have missed some.] I was a THATCamp devotee. I felt from the beginning that I had found my people, at least some of them. A significant percentage of my Twitter follows (and followers) came from these sessions. The people that I met have become colleagues, collaborators, partners in digital pedagogy and work. I have no doubt that I have been published, have been offered leadership positions, have received grants, have even been a finalist for jobs because of the community and what I learned and what I discovered among and in the THATCamp communities that sprung up around and between the various THATCamps I attended.
Perhaps not surprisingly though, my own experience at THATCamp changed over the years as increasingly my role was not to learn new things, but to teach others new things. Or to teach things I had already learned or at least could speak about from the increasing age and experience (if not wisdom) of a tenured faculty position. [To be clear, there was (is) still so much for me to learn in DH, but by 2011 I was going to THATCamps as an organizer, as a workshop leader, as a DH-friendly department chair and explainer-of-how-to-get-tenure-promotion-while-doing-DH and not typically to learn new things myself.] Given that almost every time, most of the people who attended THATCamps were new to THATCamp and to DH more generally, so fulfilling those roles with a number of like-minded THATCamp true believers made sense. There were (and still are) people who want and need a low-key, friendly environment in which to learn about DH for teaching, for research, for themselves. THATCamp’s role always worked best (in my observations) as an introduction.
And I think that’s part of why it has run its course. [That and the fact that there wasn’t funding underwriting the coordination of it anymore.] There wasn’t a clear next step for THATCamp to play in people’s own DH development. THATCamp 2.0, THATCamp at the next level, THATCamp for Advanced Users never took off (for a variety of reasons both philosophical and practical). Other options have emerged for people who wanted more than the introduction, who wanted to know what was next.
But I will always cherish the connections we made, the work we did, the fun we had, and will always be grateful for the home, the foundation, the scaffolding, THATCamp provided me over the last 12 years.