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


TORONTO, April 24, 2013 – 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, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC), is an international organization dedicated to sharing innovative ideas and practices in fields such as digital humanities, information science, data visualization, museum studies, computation, social networking, entrepreneurship and new media design. Through the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Competition, it has distributed more than $6 million to projects that explore how digital technologies are changing the way people learn and take part in daily life.

HASTAC members from Canada, the U.S., Europe, and beyond will come together at their 10th anniversary conference to 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:

Cathy N. Davidson, Duke University professor and co-founder of HASTAC, recipient of the 2012 Educator of the Year award from the World Technology Network in recognition of her visionary contribution to science and technology in education – Interactive digital technologies have changed how we learn faster than they have changed the structures, motives and metrics of our educational systems…..until now. (Thurs. April 25, 6pm TIFF Bell Lightbox)

Kia Ng, Director of Interdisciplinary Centre for Scientific Research in Music, University of Leeds – 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.  (Fri. April 26, 9am, Tribute Communities Recital Hall, Accolade East, York University)

Paola Antonelli, Director of Research and Development and Senior Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art, New York – Designers today can focus on interfaces, the web, socially minded infrastructures, immersive spaces, biodesign, sustainability, video games, critical scenarios, or products and furniture. (Fri. April 26, 3pm, Tribute Communities Recital Hall, Accolade East, York University)

Joseph Tabbi, Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago – How literary databases promote literary collaboration between disciplines and institutions, by giving authors and critics direct access to present discourse networks. (Sat. April 27, 9am, Sandra Faire and Ivan Fecan Theatre, Accolade East, York University)

Keynote bios and abstracts are available at:

York University Film Professor Caitlin Fisher, Canada Research Chair in Digital Culture and Fulbright Research Chair, organized the conference, which is supported by York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, The Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies and the Faculty of Education, as well as York’s Centre for innovation in Information Visualization and Data-Driven Design (CIVDDD), the Future Cinema Lab and the Institute for Research on Learning Technologies.

The Faculty of Fine Arts 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 (full release, including featured projects in the exhibition, available HERE.

WHAT: 10th annual conference of HASTAC (pronounced “haystack”) – “The Storm of Progress: New Horizons, New Narratives, New Codes”
WHEN: Thurs. April 25 to Sun. April 28, 2013
WHERE: Accolade East, York University (building 92 on MAP) and other Toronto locations


PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Fri. April 26, 8:30pm - 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. See:

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Media Contacts:

Janice Walls, Media Relations, York University, 416 736 2100 x22101 /

Robin Heron, Media Relations, York University, 416-736-2100 x22097 /