Worlds colliding but academics and gamers on the same ‘page’ at upcoming conference

Will technology transform the humanities in our lifetimes? Sooner than that, according to a virtual network of educators, digital visionaries, scientists and students whose members will meet this week at York University and other locations in Toronto.

Humanities, Arts, Science, Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC), is an international organization dedicated to sharing innovative ideas and practices in fields such as digital humanities, information science, museum studies, computation, social networking, entrepreneurship and new media design. Members from Canada, the US, Europe and beyond will share how their labs and classrooms are building the technologies and subjects of the future, and doing collaborative research that extends across traditional disciplines and from the academic world to society at large.

Keynote speakers:
Duke University Professor Cathy Davidson, co-founder of HASTAC, will deliver a presentation “Interactive digital technologies have changed how we learn faster than they have changed the structures, motives and metrics of our educational systems…..until now.” on Thursday, April 25 at 6pm, at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Kia Ng, director of Interdisciplinary Centre for Scientific Research in Music, University of Leeds will speak on “Human/technology interfaces are changing the way we make music, as sensors and multimedia interface technologies are used to improve the playability and expressivity of musical instruments” on Friday, April 26 at 9am, at the Tribute Communities Recital Hall, Accolade East Building.

Paola Antonelli, director of Research & Development and senior curator of Architecture & Design at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, “Designers today can focus on interfaces, the web, socially minded infrastructures, immersive spaces, bio design, sustainability, video games, critical scenarios, or products and furniture” on Friday, April 26 at 3pm, at the Tribute Communities Recital Hall, Accolade East Building.

University of Illinois at Chicago Professor of English Joseph Tabbi‘s presentation will look at how literary databases promote literary collaboration between disciplines and institutions, by giving authors and critics direct access to present discourse networks on Saturday, April 27 at 9am, at the Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan Theatre, Accolade East Building.

Keynote bios and abstracts are available here.

On Friday, April 26 at 8:30, images from the Archives of Ontario will be projected onto an exterior wall in the courtyard between Accolade East and Accolade West. Over a five-minute looped show, a 40 foot wide hole will appear to be cut out of the building, revealing closeups of hands processing and preserving documents, images, films and maps. The archived materials tell the story of Ingersoll shoe salesman and world traveler Douglas Carr, who in 1938 cycled from London to Cairo and through Africa to Cape Town. Viewers with smartphones will be able to take a closer look at the documents. To learn more, click here.

York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts, which is hosting the conference with the Faculty of Education and Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, will launch Sensorium, a new research cluster focusing on digital arts and technology, with the lecture by Antonelli and an interactive exhibition showcasing digital media research at York.