Final Report on THATCamp Iowa City


From Friday, March 31 to Sunday, April 1, THATCamp Iowa City took place in the University of Iowa Main Library. THATCamp (The Humanities And Technology Camp) was organized by University of Iowa HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) scholars and UI graduate students Melody Dworak and Katherine F. Montgomery. THATCamp followed an “unconference” format, without a pre-planned panels or presenters. Instead, the unconference schedule consisted of discussion sessions on topics voted on by THATCampers on the first day of THATCamp.

THATCamp Iowa City quickly filled with 87 registrants, of whom 65 attended workshops and/or sessions over the course of the weekend. We also had two last-minute attendees and a few members of the public that popped in for a session without registering! In addition to participants, 7 workshops leaders led or attended sessions without officially registering. Overall, approximately 75 people participated in THATCamp Iowa City. Participants included humanities scholars (from as far away as NYU!), graduate students in the humanities and School of Library and Information Science, archivists, museums specialists, and more.

The main outcomes for THATCamp Iowa City, as suggested by online feedback and last-day interviews, were:

1) Interdisciplinary conversations

Thanks to the diverse nature of THATCamp participants, THATCamp sessions included a wide variety of perspectives on the digital humanities--from pedagogy to scholarship to archive projects. This diversity helped attendees have new conversations about areas in which they may have had experience, and gain new perspectives that might be incorporated into their own future teaching, scholarship, and project work.

2) Empowering “unconference” format

Because THATCampers created their own schedule for the conference, they were more

invested in making each session valuable to them personally. Several participants observed that instead of leaving a session that they weren’t interested in, they found themselves participating more, in order to make it useful to them.

3) Collaboration opportunities

Many THATCamp participants came to THATCamp with a project in mind. Due to the flexibility of the format, the diversity of attendees, and the multiple opportunities for networking, THATCamp provided a space to make practical connections for future project work.

Detailed information about all aspects of THATCamp Iowa City (including participant biographies) is available at the camp’s website:

Workshops and Sessions

On Friday, March 31, THATCamp featured six workshop sessions. These sessions were intended to teach digital skills and concepts in a hands-on format. Around 12 - 25 people participated in each session. Sessions included:

On Saturday morning, approximately 50 people gathered in Shambaugh Auditorium to propose and vote on possible “unconference” sessions. Participants had suggested 20 sessions in advance on the THATCamp website; they were invited to say a few words describing their proposal. In total, more than 25 sessions were proposed, some were combined, and the result was a schedule that featured 22 discussion sessions over Saturday afternoon and Sunday. The schedule for both workshops and sessions can be found at:


Of the 65 registrants that were purely participants (and not workshop leaders or organizers), 51 came from the University of Iowa. 14 came from other institutions, including Dakota State University, Grinnell College, Iowa State University, Kirkwood Community College, Monmouth College, New York University, Truman State University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Vanderbilt University.

non-UI faculty


non-UI grad student


non-UI staff


non-UI undergraduate


UI faculty


UI graduate student


UI staff


UI visiting faculty


Financial Support and Budget

The Center for History and New Media at George Mason University advises that a typical THATCamp can be hosted with a budget of around $3,000; thanks to enthusiastic support from our sponsors, THATCamp Iowa City raised $5,150. The Obermann Center’s Neda Barrett was instrumental in handling THATCamp’s finances. THATCamp sponsors included:

Final THATCamp Iowa City expenses totalled $3,519.29. This broke down to:

Documentation: Notes, Photos, Videos, Tweets, and Participant Reactions

THATCamp Iowa City was captured by its participants, through Tweets, photos, videos, and notes; overall reaction to the camp has been very positive. We are currently collecting this documentation and will make it available to participants and the public through the THATCamp Iowa City website. Currently, two videos on the homepage feature interviews with participants about their backgrounds, what they got out of the camp, and their ideas about the digital humanities:

THATCamp Iowa City’s Twitter handle was thatcampic:!/thatcampic

THATCamp participant Tweets using hashtag #tcic2012 have been gathered into a Storify here:

Participants’ Flickr photos and YouTube videos were also tagged with tcic2012. There are more than 45 photographs from the camp on Flickr:

Advisory Board and Other Support

THATCamp Iowa City was made possible by the enthusiastic support of many people who provided their time, advice, and organizational support. We would like to thank:

We also thank our workshop leaders:

Further invaluable support for THATCamp Iowa City came from Angie Reams and Deborah Manion.