The 2017 Unconference had a general theme from which we began the brainstorming session: “Developing Professional Identity On and Offline.”
As scholars, we are faced with numerous institutional and professional dilemmas: How can we best utilize our unique skill sets in terms of finding opportunities to intersect our knowledge and application of digital tools with our “traditional” humanistic training? How do we deal professionally and emotionally with a job market at once oversaturated and underdeveloped? There are numerous unformed and undefined opportunities, in which we can use our expertise to take action and develop new genres, spaces, and modes for creating and communicating scholarship. As we reflect on these disciplinary crossroads and concerns over potential job placement and future professional development, a series of questions arise regarding what this new environment might look like. What do we need to develop new “markets” for scholarship in the coming years? How do we identify, professionally? How do we define our place at the intersection of old and new academic disciplines and traditions? Perhaps most importantly, how might we be able to take it upon ourselves to create a future job market with and for our unique skill sets?
This unconference was an opportunity to reflect upon and talk about the anxieties and prospects that scholars are currently faced with in their professional development. The best way to approach this event is to address the most pressing concerns facing our generation of scholars.