VRA 2018: Thursday and Friday Workshops

Here are details on the workshops available to you on Thursday and Friday at VRA 2018 in Philadelphia. Each day features two workshops, one with a focus on technology, and another exploring issues related to professional development and advocacy for the VR profession. I should also mention that Tuesday’s workshops are nearly full, so don’t wait to register and take advantage of the great opportunities listed below.


  • How Do I?… Let’s Geek Out and Play!
    Join us in this hybrid workshop/show-and-tell demonstration and be part of the conversation of why certain types of hardware might be more applicable than others to your position and institution, what funding is needed to make it work and how the A/V will make your workflow easier and worth the cost when discussing the possibility to administrators.

The speakers will discuss the hardware and software that they use, in addition to the workflows, achievements and challenges that they have faced. The quintessential part of this special workshop is the show-and-tell where the session members will demonstrate and pass around the hardware to audience members. Chris Strasbaugh will demonstrate a Raspberry Pi, a 360 camera, and a DJI drone, while Jodi Hoover will bring a couple goodies to share including an audio recorder, a Go-Pro, DSLR, mini-projector, besides a mic and video camera. Finally, Jenni Rodda will demo her still and video camera with the group.

  • Scope Shift: Moving from Drifting to Driving
    Over the short and medium-term, professionals across a wide variety of fields have experienced profound job-related change. Referring to this change as “scope drift” has become commonplace. Workshop participants will explore recasting “scope drift” as “scope shift.” Strategies for keeping pace with current trends, mapping trends to local institutional contexts, and recasting the role(s) available within evolving conditions will be addressed so that participants can return to their home institutions feeling empowered to engage as fully invested change agents in an ever-evolving milieu.


  • VREPS Workshop: Value, Role, & Meaning: An Institutional Approach to Understanding Visual Resource Management
    In the rapidly changing field of visual resources, explaining your responsibilities and advocating for your position with administration can be increasingly complex. In this workshop, we will explore the different duties and roles VR professionals perform and provide examples of the ways your VR colleagues explain the value of their work to both peers and superiors. This workshop will provide a broad range of experiences, including: a panel of professionals from academia, archives, and museums; individual activities to help you articulate the value of your position and develop your own elevator speech; and tips for ways to increase the visibility of your position to your community. Participants will leave this workshop with a greater understanding of the tasks other VR professionals engage in and a concrete starting point for how best to explain your personal responsibilities and make a strong case to administration for the value of your position.
  • Python for Beginners
    If you are doing things like supporting Digital Humanities faculty, working with students analyzing and visualizing data, developing your own data project, processing metadata about your collections, or building web displays for digital assets, Python may be worth exploring. Many of us rely on existing tools such as Gephi, Omeka, or Scalar to come up with project solutions. But, sometimes the tools that already exist do not fit the needs of the research or project. Sometimes you need to make your own tool. Python is a flexible, cross-platform, modular, object-oriented programming language used for a variety of basic and high-level computing projects. It is great for back-end web development, data analysis, database management, scientific and humanities computing, and has an active, friendly user community. Even if you don’t plan on becoming a programmer yourself, knowledge of coding helps you to talk to, or translate between, scholars, students, administrators and programmers.

This basic introductory workshop will cover the basics of computer programming, how python can be used in your work, and how to get started from scratch. You will leave encouraged to consider coding solutions and better ready to get started using code or supporting others as they build their own tools.

Participants will be asked to provide their own laptop and have the software already installed. Previous experience with python or coding in any programming languages not required. The workshop organizers recommend novices read through or take free python overviews/tutorials in advance.