[Air-L] some tidbits ofr Aoir history

Jones, Steve sjones at uic.edu
Fri Feb 16 15:42:26 PST 2018

It really was an amazing event, that first conference, and if it wasn’t for Nancy Baym (not “Baum”) not only would the meeting have not happened but AoIR wouldn’t have happened. It was what catalyzed people beyond subscribing to an email list. Without that face to face meeting….

There were five keynote speakers: Susan Herring, Helen Nissenbaum, Manuel Castells, Rob Kling, and Barry Wellman, and so many excellent panels and papers, and what has for me been the hallmark of AoIR conferences, the spontaneous between sessions conversations among people from different disciplines, countries, perspectives, etc. Everyone who has ever organized or gone to (or will go to!) an AoIR conference deserves credit for maintaining the conference’s spirit of openness, collegiality and collaboration that Nancy instilled in us from the start.


> On Feb 15, 2018, at 8:36 AM, Barry Wellman <wellman at chass.utoronto.ca> wrote:
> 1. I was the first keynoter at the first AoIR conference in 2000 in Lawrence Kansas. It was an amazing event, filled with positive energy and smarts and a sense of mission. Nancy Baum, altho weighed down by an imminent birth of a child, did a wonderful job running the conference.
> 2. Besides the elected presidents of Aoir, Jeremy Hunsinger was the glue that kept Aoir going -- establishing and running the DB, listserv, and providing a unique combo of wry humor, common-sense, and incredibly hard work.
> 3. I also got elected to the first board of Aoir, when it formalized. A key debate then is what I characterized as Quality vs Quantity.
> In short, do we refer papers strictly for the annual conference or do we allow in as many as possible. In my biased opinion, the latter won.
> 4. One unmentioned crisis is that the key organizer in the Toronto annual meeting was not doing the job, and several weeks before, a bunch of other Torontonians had to leap in and pull it together (successfully, I may add.) I recall Catherine Middleton as one of the key pullers-together, but there were others who can contribute their own age. (The ousted organizer is now deceased, RIP).
>  Barry Wellman
>   A vision is just a vision if it's only in your head
>   Step by step, link by link, putting it together
>                 Streisand/Sondheim
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