Saturday, August 21, 2010

Greetings from Helsinki

Greetings from Helsinki, where I have been attending the annual conference of SHARP (Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing), whose general theme is "Book Culture from Below." (Admittedly, most of Helsinki and the swelling tourist population were fixated on the coming festival, featuring U2.)

Although I had been considering sending regular posts from here, I decided to wait and think about posting some longer pieces later. Not only has it been a very busy and full schedule, what with meetings of the Executive Council and Board of Directors as well as the regular program of papers (not to mention the need to finish up my own talk).  In addition, this is the first SHARP conference to take advantage of Web 2.0.  We have been featuring live streaming coverage of major addresses and plenaries, and several colleagues and I have been energetically tweeting reports throughout the proceedings (Twitter hashtag #sharp10).

It was a marvelous experience, the more so as it demonstrates that it is indeed possible to organize a full SHARP conference in a site outside one of the major North American, UK, or western European metropoles boasting a larger membership in the organization.  Dedication and energy of organizers are all that are required, and all possibilities are open.  Who will be next to take up the Helsinki challenge?

Next year, making our habitual trip back across the Atlantic, we'll be in Washington, D.C.

[links & image update]
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