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!

 

Categories: general |

About chrystalleni

I’m a PhD candidate at the London Consortium attempting to produce a Cypriot media history of sorts (¬¨_¬¨) and I have recently taken up a research associate post at the Cyprus University of Technology, at the Department of Multimedia and Graphic Arts. A few years ago I put together a few youtube videos, a projection of a live mIRC feed, and some FlickR and mass email printouts into an exhibition called ‘Cyprus on the Net’. I have previously worked for an archive and as an editor for an online multimedia journal. I am especially interested in the intersection between the digital humanities and the arts, and I am looking forward to conversations on referencing, academic collaboration and social mobilisation tools.

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

  1. Myria Christophini says:

    Screening my animations on ThatCamp proved very fruitful for my research on animation as a tool for Peace Building. Apart from the feedback I got and the discussion we started, I found useful the idea of presenting finalised works or even works in progress to people with similar interests. I also enjoyed the horizontal structure of the meeting where we were all equals and comfortable to express our opinions.

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