If you have not been following #HASTAC2014, you are missing the virtual conference that is playing out in images and tweets from Lima to you. Check it out.
The conference is getting off to a great start. Yes, we ran out of programs and swag----but that is a good thing. We never dreamed so many people from Lima itself would be coming to the events for HASTAC's first conference outside North America and first bilingual conference. It is exhilirating.
There have been several speeches by prominent statesmen and stateswomen, using HASTAC as a place to mark a future of collaborative research and funding across nations and disciplines in addition to dozens of talks, a maker space, lightning talks, demos. All that can be followed on #HASTAC2014.
Special thanks to Kevin Franklin and Luis Furtan, the Conference CoChairs. And thanks to Aryanna Quintal, Organization of American States, and Fabiana Raunelli Suarez of the Ministry of Culture of Peru, for herculean effort to put on an event of this scope and magnitude. 400 people! Dozens of papers. Technology everywhere. Last week, the Ministry of Culture didn't have wifi in the meeting rooms---they moved heaven and earth and even local telecom companies to turn a cultural ministry into a conference center. It has been an astonishing transformation, it is buzzing with life and ideas.
My two favorite extra-conference moments: I watched one of the conference security guards hungrily reading the conference program. It was amazing to watch him just look and smile and look again. He is not from our fields at all and his excitement was palpable even though I do not speak his language. I asked a bilungual friend to translate and he was shy at first and then pleased when I expressed my delight at his interest and he said he'd always wanted to know more about these subjects and was enjoying listening and one of the conferees gave him a program to read and he was really enjoying it. Over 90% of business in Peru are small, stree vendors--accounting for close to 50% of the GDP. Brininging HASTAC to Peru is part of Peru's bid to become a global economy, elevate the educational levels of its citizens, and you can see that energy bursting everywhere. This security guard was part of that movement.
The second came last night when I and a small group of colleagues and friends went to see a performance by Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani, a politically activist group that focuses on survivning politcs, racism, genocide, and living a long life--they have been together 43 years--as artists together. It was one of the msot amazing performances I have ever seen. Below, a few masks from that incredible event.
Thank you, HASTAC. Thank you, conference planners. Thank you, Lima for hosting us in your remarkable city.
Join us virtually!