THATCamp event brings together humanists and technologists
Published: October 10, 2018 Author: Emily Baxstrom

On September 21 and 22, around 60 humanists and technologists came together to discuss their interests in the Digital Humanities (DH) during a THATCamp (The Humanities and Technology Camp) event on the Athens Campus.

“Digital Humanities offers a lot of possibilities for our teaching and research,” said conference attendee Brian Schoen, associate professor and assistant chair of history and director of the Master of Social Sciences program. “It was interesting to see how sophisticated and easy to use the software and technologies have become.”

The meeting was a participant-driven “unconference” in which attendees collaborated to determine session content almost entirely on the spot. The session topics related to pedagogy; Digital Humanities and race, sexuality, class, ability +; data visualization; and more. For notes from some of the sessions, visit the THATCamp OHIO website.

“Beyond the comfort and excitement of attending a conference at your own university, the learning quotient was something I greatly appreciated about this conference,” said Seema Mahato, doctoral candidate in educational research and evaluation and THATCamp attendee. “This was my first ‘unconference’ and I liked the situationally responsive sessions where the attendees decided the themes of each session. I learned about important data visualization tools that I could use in my own research.”

Friday’s meeting featured two sessions: Edmond Y. Chang, Ohio University assistant professor of English, presented about gender, sexuality, and race in games, and Leigh Bonds, Digital Humanities librarian from Ohio State University, presented about text analysis.

Saturday’s events kicked off with a keynote address from Roopika Risam, assistant professor of English at Salem State University. Risam gave an inspiring presentation about social justice in the Digital Humanities. She discussed how Digital Humanities offer the opportunity to leverage skills in humanities disciplines to create change.

“Dr. Risam’s presentation was compelling,” said conference attendee Nicole Reynolds, associate professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. “The idea of mobilizing the Digital Humanities community for social justice causes really expanded my understanding of the purpose and relevance of DH.”

The THATCamp event was part of the Digital Humanities project supported by the Academic Innovation Accelerator. Several OHIO faculty and staff attended the THATCamp event at Marshall University in March 2018, and OHIO’s THATCamp welcomed a contingent from Marshall.

“Students, faculty, and staff from Marshall and OHIO have worked together to determine what Digital Humanities looks like in our region and why DH research and learning are beneficial,” said Kristen Lillvis, director of Digital Humanities and associate professor of English at Marshall University. “The strong student presence at both THATCamps shows me the deep interest our students share in using technology to answer questions about the human experience. I look forward to seeing how our universities will continue working together to provide students with the best resources as they continue their investigations.”

Participants live-tweeted throughout the event’s sessions. Look through the hashtag #THATCampOHIO18 for a glimpse into the day’s discussions and to view photos.

A committee is currently being formed that will work together on next steps for the project.

The Office of Instructional Innovation (OII) serves as a catalyst to spark bold experimentation and sustainable discovery of innovative instructional models that fulfill the University’s promise of a transformative educational experience. OII provides a variety of services to faculty, staff, and students in support of academic units and online programs, as well as to advance initiatives to further the institution’s mission. Visit for more information.

Attendees listen intently during a Friday workshop at THATCamp.

Photographer: Brady MenegayAttendees listen intently during a Friday workshop at THATCamp.

Participants listen to a presentation about text analysis during the THATCamp event.

Photographer: Brady MenegayParticipants listen to a presentation about text analysis during the THATCamp event.