Category Archives: Session Proposals

Proposals for unconference sessions from THATCamp participants.

Who’s afraid of the big bad … WordPress?

As of 2018 WordPress has around 60% of the Content Management System market. Though building a website may seem like a daunting task, WordPress makes this process very accessible. In this session we will jaunt through an intro to wordpress and website building. This is intended for a non-technical audience who is wanting to get started using WordPress, but does not know where to start.

Intellectual Property and the Public Domain


Navigating intellectual property and copyright law is challenging, especially in the digital age. During this interactive session we will play a fun game of ‘Can I use this?’ Our game will help players understand content that can and cannot be used on digital platforms because of copyright regulations. We will engage in discourse about content bots and uploading copyrighted materials. We will also share resources and information about works already in the public domain, accessing Creative Commons, and understanding fair use. Our session will be a dynamic overview of intellectual property and how it plays a role in our digital lives.

Mapmaking for Dummies

In this ‘play’ session, we will share and discuss various user-friendly digital tools for mapmaking and representing geographic features in the classroom. My contribution will focus on NatGeo MapMaker Interactive and the Palmer Drought Severity Index, but participants are encouraged to bring their own favorite (or less favorite) tools into play. This session complements GIS workshops by highlighting less technical options for mapmaking. If you consider yourself a relative newbie to mapmaking or if you’re interested in learning about tools ideal for non-specialists, including students, we hope you will join us.

Session Proposal: Recycling old media tools for new creative expression

In this session I would like to talk about the philosophy of modifying and re-imagining old media devices as tools for creative exploration. At the center of this session I will talk about the genesis of the Paik/Abe raster manipulator, a modified cathode ray tube television that uses electromagnets that animates the electron gun of the television to create swirling patterns and movements driven by audio oscillations from a sound source. I will talk about the history of this tool, how I and a couple of artists redesigned it to work on color televisions, and why finding new uses for old technology is so important in the age of environmental crisis. I will also bring the device, pictured above, for people to play with during the session.


Poetry with Python

example of a Python for loopTo paraphrase Shakespeare in the digital age, a for loop in any other language would iterate as well. From the perspective of Distant Reading (Moretti), today’s digitally literate scholars and students need to be able to understand some basic coding (indeed, what is a for loop, anyway??). Python is a great place to start! This session will look at one example of writing and applying a Python script to a text file to highlight and track references to targeted key words (perhaps, “rose” and “sweet”). We can then graph these keywords using some of Python’s libraries. The coding will be very basic, but the insights will hopefully prove very valuable.

Teaching the Humanities with a Spreadsheet

image of google fusion tableGeorge Steiner once wrote the intellectual is the person who reads with a pen in hand. Today, however, we need to rephrase this idea and say: The intellectual is the person who reads with a spreadsheet in view. Felienne Hermans has argued for the relevance of spreadsheets for coders. I am interested in exploring the potential for teaching the humanities with spreadsheets. I will review one case-study carried out with students in my advanced Spanish Culture course. While studying the medieval pilgrimage route in northern Spain, the Camino de Santiago, we leveraged Google’s fusion tables to create interactive maps (kms files) for identifying the locations of cultural exchange. Using the same spreadsheets, we could develop network analysis visualizations on which the stages of the pilgrimage are nodes and the student’s engagement with this culture are edges. Join me to discuss this example and share your ideas on other use cases for teaching the humanities with a spreadsheet.