2021 Annual General Meeting/Candidate Statements
This page will contain the statements of the candidates for the 2021 elections to the board of Wikimedia UK. Applications to the board of trustees will open on 5th June 2021. If you have questions about the process of standing for election to the board, please get in touch with Katie at infowikimedia.org.uk. Please submit questions for the candidates at 2021 Annual General Meeting/Candidate Questions.
I am putting myself forward for nomination as trustee of Wikimedia UK, because I am passionately committed to the key purpose and goals of the wider Wikimedia organisation.
I firmly agree with Umberto Eco that “the cultivated person's first duty is to be always prepared to rewrite the encyclopedia” and that is exactly what Wikipedia allows everyone to do, day after day. And I want to do my part to make it even better and more accessible!
As an educator, academic librarian and co-organiser of the #ebookSOS campaign, I am committed to ensuring free and open access to the information our society so desperately needs in order to function in this era of misinformation and maliciously manipulated ‘fake news’. I very much see the various Wikimedia projects as playing a major role in this, not just as a source of information and knowledge, but as tools that can be used within education to help individuals develop the necessary critical thinking and information literacy skills to make them informed citizens.
In my role as an academic librarian I have been a champion for the use of Wikipedia as a teaching and learning tool, having designed and taught modules entirely structured around editing and creating Wikipedia article, published on how Wikipedia editing can be used to develop digital literacy skills and on the use of Wikipedia as a tool to teach the concepts of systemic bias and symbolic annihilation, and presented at multiple academic conferences. I was awarded Wikimedia of the Year in 2020 as a result of this work.
I would love to get more involved in the work of Wikimedia UK ‘behind the scenes’, and I feel that, with my knowledge and experience, I could bring as much to Wikimedia UK as I have learned from it over the years.
I am a passionate Wikimedian and educational IT professional. If elected to the WMUK Board, I would seek to (a) build bridges between the editing communities and WMUK, (b) assist WMUK staff in promoting Wikimedia use and editing in secondary education, and (c) ensure that WMUK is efficient and effective in its core mission of promoting and developing open knowledge in the UK.
As an active editor on the English Wikipedia (username ‘Firefly’), I would be well-placed to ensure that WMUK activities and training complement the processes and needs of the editing community, and conversely increase editor engagement with WMUK where appropriate. A large part of my work involves bots and other technical matters - this is an area where projects always need more volunteers, and I would be keen to promote this as a way to contribute to Wikimedia as well.
I have worked in secondary education as an IT management professional for nearly 10 years, and am passionate about the use of open knowledge, and Wikimedia projects in particular, in schools. I have run clubs and enrichment lessons related to the use and editing of Wikipedia, and also INSET sessions for teaching staff on the use of same. I would love to expand this through WMUK, and promote Wikimedia as both an excellent teaching tool, and also a way for teachers and students to contribute to the open knowledge ecosystem.
I have experience somewhat analogous to Board membership, as I sat on a Free School 'exploratory committee' for a time. I advised the group wishing to start the school on technical and financial matters. I have also been a Company Director. I am therefore aware of the responsibilities and expectations of such work, and would be able to 'hit the ground running'.
Thank you for your consideration.
Julian Akodoye Manieson
My parents arrived in the UK from Ghana in 1995, and despite both of them being hugely passionate about my education, unfamiliarity with the British system meant that it wasn’t always possible for them to help me with homework outside maths and the sciences. As a result, Wikipedia has been the guiding light for my academic development for as long as I can remember.
When I started writing what was to become my first novel (historical fiction), the “Nazi Germany” article was my first port of call; A-Level revision started by seeing what Wikipedia could teach me; and as I sat waiting before my (ultimately successful) Oxford interview, I frantically poured over the Talk page for “Jurisprudence”.
This is all to say that Wikipedia and the wider open knowledge project have played a pivotal role in my life to this point. I have ADHD and growing up I found it incredibly difficult to focus on my schoolwork. Wikipedia was a godsend for me, as its hyperlinked structure supported my essentially chaotic way of learning. I took the first step towards repaying the huge debt I owe Wikipedia earlier this year: it has been so much fun editing articles, and I find it hugely stimulating to spend a couple of hours on an under-loved page!
I would love the opportunity to take a second step towards repaying that debt by working as a Trustee for Wikimedia UK. I plan to contribute in any way I can: whether that is in the context of external communications (I have interned at both Finsbury and Brunswick, two of the largest PR firms in the world); project management, planning, and delivery (between October 2020 and February 2021 I was a consultant at Ogilvy); or even bits of work on regulation and administration (though not a qualified solicitor or barrister, I hold a Law degree from the University of Oxford).
I cannot wait to meet everyone at the AGM, and I am hugely grateful for the time and patience Ms Crompton-Reid has given me in both answering my questions about the trustee role and helping me to understand better what the charity’s future holds.
I would love to be a part of it!
I’m running for a position to serve as trustee because I believe editors should be well-represented on the board. I’ve been editing Wikipedia since 2013 on topics ranging from women in science to climate change and energy. First on the Dutch Wikipedia, and in the last couple of years on the English Wikipedia.
In my professional life, I work as a postdoctoral research associate for the university of Exeter, modelling the climate transition. Working for the university, I have an affinity for education, and I would like to see stronger communication between the higher education sector and the WikiMedia community.
I have previous experience as a trustee on the board of the young Greens in the Netherlands, where as vice-chair I was joint responsible for setting out the direction of the organisation in addition to managing day-to-day activities. I gained experience working together in a team with diverging opinions, and more broadly working together with a wide group of other charities.
In this role, I came to understand the vital importance of having a shared base of facts across society, as debate is meaningless without it. This shared based of facts should be sourced from a wide variety of people and experiences. It should be open, not only in the sense of free, but also easily accessible and understandable to nonexperts. I’m eager to contribute to this ideal as a trustee.
I am offering to serve as a trustee, thinking that my previous experiences could be useful. I worked principally in computing departments in secondary schools, as Head of Department. I also have a history in local government serving as a councillor on Rochester upon Medway City Council, and then on the sucessor unitary council, Medway Council, where I was Chair of Leisure, Arts and Libraries. I am used to taking advice from officers as well as giving direction. The rôle of chair involved representing the council on several charities. I was on the Education Committee. This was when we ran a committee and full council structure- before cabinet and scrutiny reduced the influence of individual member. I have been on 5 school governing bodies and chaired an Art Centre.
I have contributted to Wikimedia projects as ClemRutter since 2003, eclectically adding content to Commons, and English Wikipedia and occasionally the French and German sites. A glance at Wikipedia Contributions will confirm my editing record of about 6000 edits a year, and 17,000 uploaded images. My output has involved creating 520 articles to fill gaps in our coverage. I have been an Accredited Trainer since 2013 and a Coordinator for the Schools Project. I regularly attend the face-to-face UK meetups. I am familiar with the personalities, the back infrastructure , talk pages, contested deletions and the frustrations experienced by both new and prolific editors. I am interested in editor retention so keen in creating a closer connection with the volunteer editors and the board.
Rod Ward (User:Rodw on Wikipedia and other projects)
During the 17 years since I started editing wikipedia I have made over 400,000 edits which have included being primary author and nominating over 50 pieces of featured content, 150 good articles etc. During this time I have been a member of various wikiprojects and other collaborative groups, taking the lead on setting up Wikiproject Somerset. I have also participated in various activities organised by Wikimedia UK, including Wiki Loves Monuments, and I became a trainer for the charity in 2014. I have also contributed to wikicommons including uploading several thousand photographs I have taken. I participated in the pilot wikilearn course on Partnership Building, run by the wikimedia foundation, during January to March 2021. During the COVID pandemic I have attended several virtual UK wikimeets.
Outside my Wikipedia editing, I worked in NHS A&E departments as a charge nurse for several years before moving into higher education. My teaching and research has largely been around information literacy for evidence based practice in healthcare, including the importance of open knowledge. I retired in 2020 and more recent roles include volunteering in my local community library and with my local canal restoration trust.
I was elected as a trustee of Wikimedia UK, for a period of two years, in 2019. Since then I have found out a lot about how the charity works and the roles of the trustees and staff. During the various meetings and activites, including as a member of the governance committee, I have spoken up for editors and others involved in the various wikiprojects and helped other trustees to understand wider community issues. If re-elected I will continue to work hard to support Wikimedia UK and all members.