Upcoming Talk: “I feel like such a badass! Using Digital Tools to Empower Students as Makers”

A few months ago Spencer Keralis, one of the organizers of the 2013 Digital Frontiers Conference tweeted at me that I should submit something on Fashioning Circuits. The conference description encourages participants to re-think the composition of academic panels so it seemed like a great opportunity to craft a proposal with students. I asked current and former students if they would like to participate. It was a coincidence, but it worked out that 1 undergrad, 1 MA student, and 1 PhD student responded. We co-authored a proposal and I’m happy to say that we were accepted and will be presenting next week!

Our panel is entitled “Fashioning Makers with Archives and Arduinos in the Classroom.” Here is our panel description: The Fashioning Circuits project was originally conceived to connect studies in the Emerging Media and Communication program at UT Dallas with events at the Dallas Museum of Art. Though the art exhibit which spawned the project has come and gone, the project is ongoing. The panel “Fashioning Makers” will address how the project uses open source digital tools such as the Arduino and WordPress to create wearable projects and a scholarly archive of fashion and technology. Particular emphasis will be given to the ways that students develop as “makers,” including multiple students discussing the work they did as part of the course.

My paper, “I feel like such a badass! Using Digital Tools to Empower Students as Makers,” will center on the pedagogy and public humanities aspects of the Fashioning Circuits project.  I plan to talk about the ways the project uses humanities and feminist strategies to challenge the dominant narrative of hypermasculine programming spaces and how we encourage participants to consider themselves active participants in “collective intelligence” (Pierre Lévy). I will also discuss future plans for the project.

The conference schedule looks really exciting and I am looking forward to meeting some people whom I have followed online for a while. One of the things that I think is going to make it a really good experience is that it brings together a variety of participants including students, teaching faculty, and librarians on topics that include traditional scholarship, pedagogy, and digital projects. Plus it is a one-track conference, which in my experience builds a sense of camaraderie among participants and offers a chance to make robust topical and theoretical connections across panels and sessions. I am looking forward to experiencing this with students and am highly optimistic that it will be a good first experience at an academic conference for them.

The Twitter hashtag for the conference is #DF13UNT and you can also follow the official Twitter account at @DigiFront.

Of additional interest is that the Digital Scholarship Cooperative has also organized a THATCamp (The Humanities And Technology Camp) to take place the day after Digital Frontiers. Although Digital Frontiers registration is closed, I believe you can still register for THATCamp Digital Frontiers (requires that you register for an account on THATCamp.org if you don’t already have one and then separately register for this specific event). This event will have a separate hashtag, #tcdf13.

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