Blog Post

Looking Forward: HASTAC's Near Future

What a year! HASTAC has accomplished so much in the past 12 months: the wild success of the Digital Media & Learning Competition, the publication of the proceedings from HASTAC I: Electronic Techtonics, not to mention the extensive planning for what promises to be an exciting event at the end of this month, HASTAC II - TechnoTravels/TeleMobility: HASTAC in Motion, this summer's upcoming publication of electronic supplements to Christopher Kelty's book on the free software movement Two Bits, and the upcoming new HASTAC/MacArthur Competition in Digital Media and Learning that we're working on now.

That's a lot for a virtual organization, we know, but we also know that there are some things we haven't been able to do this year. The biggest: we did not have the staff nor the energy to foster and extend the momentum and reach of the distributed HASTAC network that we had built up during the In|Formation Year. This summer and fall, we intend to focus again on that momentum, with plans for new interactive elements on our website and a new program of HASTAC Scholars, graduate and undergraduate, to help to enliven, communicate, and report on new media, digital and participatory learning, net activism, and other issues in our field.

HASTAC webmaster Brett Walters will be leading the effort to redesign HASTAC.org, with an eye toward better serving the collaboration and information-sharing needs of the HASTAC consortium. We welcome your suggestions -- from design to desired functionality -- and hope that everyone who participates in HASTAC.org will have a stake in shaping its future contours. We hope to make the website easier to use, to better feature activities, projects and initiatives already underway across the HASTAC consortium, as well as to invite broader participation in our discussion forums and blogs.

Erin Lamb, a doctoral student at Duke, will be joining the HASTAC team in June as the Director of the new HASTAC Scholars Program. Her work spans the cultural study of science, technology and medicine, aging studies, bioethics, new media studies, science fiction and American literature and culture. She will be defending her dissertation, The Age of Obsolescence: Senescence and Scientific Rejuvenation in Twentieth Century America, in the fall, and working with HASTAC throughout the 2008-2009 academic year. In concert with our planned redesign of HASTAC.org, this new fellowship program will be aimed at integrating emerging scholars and artists more fully into our dynamic, interactive virtual institution. The goal of the program is not only to recognize and offer visibility to graduate (and potentially some undergraduate) students working across the areas of technology, the arts, the humanities, and the social sciences but also to use their expertise and collaborative energy as a generative force for HASTAC 2.0. Participants in the fellowship program will serve as the networked eyes and ears of their home institutions, linking the work that is happening in their centers, campuses and beyond into the HASTAC network.

We?ll post updates throughout the summer on these interrelated initiatives. In the meantime, tell us your vision for the future of HASTAC! Simply login to post your comments here, or, if you're not yet a member of HASTAC.org, registration is easy. Registration carries with it the added benefit of being first in line to receive from HASTAC occasional announcements (2 - 3 per month) about events, publications, competitions, and other great things.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Mark Olson
HASTAC Director of New Media & Steering Committee Member

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