The day starts with George Breslauer, Provost of UC Berkeley, talking to us. Three questions – 1. Impact of new technology – technology can make research more efficient, but how to do this as smart as possible? By the time you implement a new system in the university, you only have 12-18 months before the next cutting edge – whether technology has the capacity to transform the humanistic disciplines? 2. Where will shared technologies work best, and where will individual campuses need to invest? 3. How does Bamboo create a collaborative cultural model to sustain this effort? Making collaboration work depends on non-self-evident cultural factors.
We were broken up into tables of eight people for the morning to discuss scholarly practices. I was at a table with fascinating folks – Ted Warburton from UC Santa Cruz, a dancer who uses 3D motion capture to create new art; Niek Veldhuis from Berkeley, who researches ancient Sumerian from cuneiform clay tablets; Katherine Harris from San Jose State, whose research area is 19th century literary annuals; Sharon Goetz, a medievalist who manages digital publications at Berkeley’s Mark Twain Project; Tom Laughner, Director of Educational Technology Services at Smith College; Angela Thalis from UC Santa Cruz; and Michael Ashley, an archaeologist who is the program manager for Berkeley’s Media Vault.
The conversation was wide-ranging and captivating, covering how people do their research, how they connect to others in their field, through to publication and professional development. I thought the organizers posed two really good questions to get things flowing: On a really good day, what activities do you do; and in a really good term, what things do you accomplish?
In the afternoon we combined two tables to try to cluster and categorize the practices we identified in the morning. I found that less compelling, perhaps because we lost some of the fascinating details, perhaps because it was harder to have an involving conversation with sixteen people; or perhaps because I just got tired.
It will be interesting to see where this conversation evolves, both through the rest of this meeting and in the following meetings in Chicago, Princeton, and Paris.