What it looked like



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Was it a win or a fail? (THATCamp Cyprus 2011 report)

English follows

Παιθκιά συγνώμη για τα Αγγλικά, γίνουνται αναγκαία λόγω της open source διάθεσης και της ελπίδας πως οι κουβέντες μας ίσως κάποτε γίνουν χρήσιμες & σε άλλους.

Προσθέστε ελεύθερα εαν διαφωνείτε ή για πράματα που εξέχασα, & αν θέλετε συμπληρώστε & τούτην την έρευναν του κεντρικού THATCamp.

Was it a Win or a Fail?
Some things we succeeded in and some things we failed at. All in all the unconference was both spontaneous and comfortable for a group of people with diverse backgrounds and a lot of energy. The question is, was it too comfortable?

Attendance
We had 18 participant registrations on the website, 7 of whom didn’t make it to the unconference. Another 7 people dropped in during the course of the Saturday without having registered in advance. The core group for Saturday was made up of 11 people, and the core group for Sunday was made up of 7 people. The majority of the people (18) only participated on Saturday morning. The Sunday felt like the most productive. We didn’t meet the THATCamp minimum of 25 participants.

Session proposals
The process of putting proposals up on the board was undisciplined as we (the organisers) didn’t quite manage to control the intuition of the majority to enter into immediate exchange and ride the momentum of topics as they were being proposed. The programme turned out a bit too flexible with constant amendments, and even though we did have parallel sessions on the board, we never did split into smaller groups. We had also presumed that because of the small number of participants, there was no real need for voting, but it is clear in retrospect that the use of a voting system would have encouraged people to weigh in, who didn’t otherwise. At the same time it seems that the proposals posted on the website in advance were central to defining the character of the event, and ended up being the dominant ones.

Themes
- There seemed to be a majority interest in museums, and so we spent a lot of time talking about the problems museums are facing in Cyprus. Ultimately this was to the expense of other topics, and left some participants unsatisfied. I’m afraid this was down to a call I made about prioritising the numerous Museum post-its on the schedule.
- Collective efforts were made to move beyond pointing out problems and deficiencies, to proposing solutions, and especially ones that were immediately executable (some ideas: All Cyprus Museums website, the collected timetables excel sheet and the Museum of Air experiment)
- The Proposed Session of whether or how academia can bring about policy change fed into the above discussion.
- The Layering proposal did not in the end get it’s own session, but infiltrated other ones rather delightfully!
- The ‘E-book vs. Printed Book’, as well as the ‘Should Knowledge be Free’  sessions were entirely sidelined, which was disappointing.
-  Ideas on the constructive potential of immediate action by the participants received considerable criticism, as did the unconference format, although there was consensus on the value of functioning as an open and interdisciplinary support network for people interested in technology and the humanities.
- Three animations were screened as part of a Help-athon for a PhD project, and gave rise to a discussion on how the medium of animation can be used in conflict resolution, with the case of Cyprus in mind.

Weaknesses
- A lot of people dropped in and out of the unconference at different times and although this was something we initially wanted to encourage, it made for inconsistent momentum throughout the Saturday and complicated the schedule.
- The promotion for the event was insufficient: the ‘Last Minute Reminder Email’ didn’t get forwarded to the University lists, the majority of promotion took place over the summer.
- The dates (the weekend before start of term) were unhelpful for academics and students who weren’t Limassol residents.
- Internet failure at CUT premises.
- We failed to get enough proposals, nor were there enough of us to make it comfortable to split into multiple groups.

The Sunday
Given the internet failure at CUT, we decided to continue at a beach cafe with free wi-fi for the Sunday. A group up of 7 people met up. Conversation varied.

Sunday keywords: the use of technology at the Vavla museum POED, Cyprus Online Museums, Blender, Omeka, Shrek & contemporary animation standards, Creative Commons, how to get around civil service bureaucracy and into photographic archive digitisation projects, alternative/reflective sociology methodologies, McLuhan, multimedia in Cypriot museums.

On Sunday the following decisions were made:
- THATCamp Cyprus has given rise to an open team/collective/network of people interested in pooling resources and collaborating on projects as and when they arise.
- A workable plan was put together for a group visit, before September 18th, to a private museum which has requested consultation by the VSMSLab. The aim of the visit is to help the museum in small ways by using existing resources.
- Another THATCamp Cyprus will take place in Spring 2011, and this blog will stay alive in order to plan this!

Marina will be posting her notes soon, but do feel free to add your thoughts and comments!

 

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THATCAmp Cyprus moves outdoors for Sunday Sept 4th

Change of plans:

For those of you who missed today’s last session we’ve decided to move outdoors for Sunday! Thalassaki to start with (on Paraliakos, close to Molos) and will see from there onwards.

Give us a ring on 25002162 at any time for better directions.

See you there!

p.s. Note that we start at 11am.

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museum literacy-multiliteracies

Dear all,

I am interested in your ideas or experience of multimodal* practice and/or engagement during museum visits with special emphasis on school visits.
If you have any papers, projects or links related to suggest I would be grateful.

*in which written-linguistic modes of meaning interface with oral, visual, audio, gestural, tactile and spatial patterns of meaning

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Registration extended

Registration will remain open for a while longer.
(We’re really not very strict about deadlines!)
Do be on time on the first day though, because that’s when we’ll be putting together the program.

Many thanks to those of you who registered and have already initiated conversations!

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E-books vs. Printed books: is reading changing and how we define it?

Essentially the two formats are quite similar; both allow you to do one thing: read. But the act of reading from a printed manuscript is essentially different if not more ‘authentic’ from reading the same hypertext from a device in an electronic format.

What concerns me is not only if e-tablets slowly come to replace the printed book but also how the experience of reading is changing along with the new technological advances and the culture of e-books. I believe the experience of reading is as important as someone’s own body, as it would be an extension of someone’s arms, of hands, and it is without a doubt an internal part of how we perceive the world and how we construct it.

For example, for me reading means (a printed book) that I am connected with a recollection of a specific place, time, feeling, smell and a particular moment. My understanding of the world and of myself comes to be defined from the act of reading.

So how this memory is constructed now if the way we read is rapidly changing? Does that enhance our understanding of our world and of ourselves or just our experience?

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On museum upgrades


A while back I was talking with a museum professional about this sense that I have and I know others share, to do with Cypriot Museums (state museums especially) ‘not moving with the times’, and I was trying to understand how people who work in these museums feel about this. It was put to me that there may be value in the fact that some exhibits (if not entire museums) have remained more or less the same as when they were initially put together, sometimes as far back as 40 or so years ago.  So in a sense, the fact that these museums have remained the same (without change, without money, without technology) now allows us valuable insight regarding the early days of Cypriot archaeology and museology among other things, and so it’s conceivable that ‘upgrading’ by some definition may actually be the non-scientific thing to do..

There’s a wonderful paradox here I think, which I understand is already being talked about, and it would be great to see how to raise it formally, if it hasn’t already been raised, and to see whether there is previous work on this that may help us better deal with these issues in Cyprus.

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Cypriot Archives

Perhaps it would be useful to have a conversation about the difficulties faced by Archives today in Cyprus. It would be especially valuable for us at the Visual Sociology and Museum Studies Lab to share a few thoughts around how photographic digitisation initiatives can work, the necessary protocols, the hurdles (questions around open access and copyright issues to say the least) and the available resources, as well as ways to pool them.

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Layered

My suggestion is let’s get layered!

I would be interested to discuss layering as a theoretical concept, a feature in design-related and other software, and as a perceptual mechanism.

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Academia in the fore! Crowdsourcing and disaster management.

Hi all,

This is my first time in a Thatcamp and I fully support new ways of looking at issues.

There has been a growing concern on two aspects of academic discourse:
1) the delay between research and publication time
2) the increasingly theoretical aspect of research

Although both aspects are being improved (through online pre-publication on academic articles or policy based opinion pieces), the chasm between other media and traditional academic publications still remains wide, especially when a national catastrophe requires urgent analysis and policy response.

The earthquake in Japan and the subsequent nuclear meltdown in Fukushima prefecture introduced the possibility of crowd sourcing as a way to understand the extent of the damage and to start a faster way of allowing academics to have an impact on the discourse of actions as understood by the social and traditional media and policy makers. For example, the crowd sourcing of radiation data has enabled a faster collection of data for analysis.

Today Cyprus is facing its own crisis through the Mari explosion that occurred on the 11th of July. An initiative of a syndicated blog and the printed press seems to have been able to push the discussion of what is to be done in the forefront more rapidly than other traditional media, and has spurred other notable research on the economic effects of the explosion to publish results and policy recommendations faster. However the impact on policy makers has remained minimal, and there was no attempt of cross -collaboration between researchers using novel techniques.

I would like to have a discussion in how we can use crowd sourcing in order for academics to be able to both publish academic research on issues of national emergency and influence policy, and how traditional issues of copyright, idea and patent control and of impact factors can be adapted and/or adjusted to take such things into account.

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