The Big Sessions at the 2017 Australian Historical Association Conference

Stage taken from the back of the hall

The main venue of the 2017 Australian Historical Association conference was at the Newcastle City Hall Concert Hall. I liked this evocative tweet by Mike Jones.

If you want to know what history excites historians living in Australia and the latest historical research, you should follow the annual Australian Historical Association conference held each July. This year’s record conference Twitter stream together with the conference program and abstracts gives us a peek into the vibrant conference held recently at the University of Newcastle.

Today I will just focus on the keynotes and the plenary sessions at the conference.

The keynote and plenary presentations are a good indicator of some of the issues and topics which are of great interest to historians. As all the people at the conference attend these sessions there are more people tweeting these presentations. Following a conference from afar via social media is not as good as being there, but we can gain a glimmer of what has been discussed by reading the conference abstracts and tweets.

The record number of tweets about the conference was great but it generated a problem. It takes a lot of time to wade through more four thousand tweets. I puzzled about how I could share with you some of the valuable commentary in the conference’s #OzHA2017 Twitter stream in a way that you would find readable and relevant without requiring you to invest too much time.

Storify is often used to archive tweets but I find the dump of hundreds of tweets in a regular Storify story tedious and not very useful. Even with good curation of tweets (ie only including useful original tweets) storifying the entire conference in one story would produce a complex and time-consuming resource for anyone to use.

So I decided to curate each keynote and plenary of the conference in separate Storify stories. Each story starts with the biographies of the presenters, the abstracts for the session and then the tweets of that session. The focus is on the text of the tweets and photos of presentation slides if they were tweeted. The end of each story has additional photos of the room and speaker(s) that were tweeted in case you want to use one for your own blog posts etc.

You can start your weekend by reading brief accounts of the keynotes and plenaries that interest you:

There is more to the conference than the keynotes and plenaries. In my next post about the conference I will look at the topics which dominated the papers and panels delivered in the concurrent sessions as well as those topics and issues which interested the historians who were tweeting.


Further Reading and Resources

This is the second in a series of posts about the 2017 Australian Historical Association Conference. Read the others:

You can still access some resources about the 2017 Australian Historical Association conference:

I have been blogging about conferences since 2012:

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