Diversity and Accessibility at THATCamp

Hi Everybody,

At THATCamp Prime a few weeks ago, in the meeting that produced this very page, we talked about the need to include tips on encouraging diversity at THATCamp in the instructions planners receive.  I’m hoping that we can use this space to create that list of tips.

I will get us started with a few ideas.  Please suggest additions (or subtractions, or revisions) in the comments section.  I will monitor the comments and revise the list as we go.

Additionally, I want us to think carefully about the language we are using.  Is “Encouraging Diversity” too soft?  Should we, as George Williams suggested, be talking about making THATCamp accessible?  Please share your thoughts and suggestions.

If you need or want to get in touch with me for any reason, please email me at ude.y1542388385rome@1542388385renra1542388385v.tra1542388385wets1542388385

All the best,



Tips for creating an inclusive THATCamp

  • Contact under-represented communities. Make sure you reach out to all the institutions of higher education in your area.  Are there any community colleges, small schools and/or Historically Black Colleges which have been traditionally underrepresented.  If you don’t know who to contact, you should start with humanities librarians who are often very knowledgeable about the interests of faculty members.
  • Designate an Outreach Coordinator.  This need not be a full time position – and could be combined with Advertising / Marketing – but you need to make sure some one is responsible for making sure everyone knows they are welcome at THATCamp.
  • Be conscious of how and what you communicate. Make sure that there is nothing in your promotional material that unintentionally excludes underrepresented groups or creates a less than welcoming picture of THATCamp.
  • Make your THATCamp welcoming. Along the same lines, look for ways to make your material as welcoming as possible.  For example, instead of simply stating that everyone is welcome, be specific!  See the Who Should Attend? section from the 2011 Great Lakes THATCamp


Categories: General |

About Stewart Varner

My name is Stewart and I am the Digital Scholarship Coordinator at Emory University's Woodruff Library. I can also fix your bike.

6 Responses to Diversity and Accessibility at THATCamp

  1. Thanks for bringing up the issue of language. I’d personally veer away from “diversity”, primarily because I think a lot of people who do work in race and ethnic studies find it troublesome in various ways (in ways that are similar to “multiculturalism”). What about something like “promoting inclusion”?

    I think beyond the great suggestion of proofreading for language in promotional materials that may unintentionally exclude people, it is also important to include welcoming language.

  2. Thanks Jennifer. To that point, can we come up with some examples of “welcoming language” that organizers could use?

  3. I was thinking about this…I think it will vary depending on the purpose of the material, but perhaps things like listing among example topics issues that are not currently well-represented or that people might not typically see as being pertinent to THATCamp, in order to draw people who do work in those areas.

    The “About” page for Great Lakes THATCamp is a good example www.2011.greatlakesthatcamp.org/about/ — under the “Who Should Attend?” section, we see a nice range of examples in terms of institutional roles and fields of study, which could be even larger to include Disability Studies, Queer Studies, and/or Race and Ethnic Studies. I also think including examples is generally better than just saying “everyone is welcome”.

    Other suggestions?

  4. Ian Thomas says:

    The “Who Should Attend” section from GLTC is a great example for future THATCamps to use. The “What If I’m Not a Humanist” section is particularly great. I worry that if we begin to list specific areas of study (Queer Studies, Disability Studies, Composition, what have you) we risk leaving possible participants out. Of course, nothing will ever be perfect so it’s just a thought.

    Perhaps we could leave the language as broad as possible (i.e. saying humanists and non-humanists alike are all welcome) then reach out to specific departments or people in our institutions that cover the subject-areas mentioned above. My impression is that under-represented people aren’t turned away by the language of the invitation, but rather that they never receive it.

  5. David Morgen says:

    I think one fundamental tip to include in the instructions planners receive is to recommend that someone be designated as an outreach coordinator, whose job it would be to contact institutions in the area and to generally be thinking about diversity and inclusiveness.

  6. Thanks everyone for the great ideas. I’ve been editing as suggestions come in so keep checking and keep the feedback coming.

    Also, is everyone free to edit this page? If so, please feel free to do that. If not, would it make sense to move this to a Google doc?


Comments are closed.