AGM 2021 minutes

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1.39pm    Welcome and introduction to the AGM (Nick Poole)

AGM was opened by Nick Poole and meeting declared quorate.

1.40pm    Approval of 2020 AGM minutes (Nick Poole)

NP explained that the approval of last year’s minutes will be done online using the Choice Voting system. There were no questions on the minutes.

1.41pm    Board report (Nick Poole)

NP opened to say we are fortunate to have a strong and multifaceted Board of Trustees in place, representing a broad range of skills. He outlined tasks of the board as standard; in the past year the main focus of the board was supporting WMUK throughout the pandemic. The board meets four times a year, has two main subcommittees, and receives regular reports about programme delivery.

A highlight of the past year was expanding capacity in fundraising and comms, which will help with visibility and resilience. The board also worked on supporting the global Universal Code of Conduct. We have maintained a strong relationship with the Foundation despite internal changes, and have engaged in global conversations about knowledge equity.

Nick extended thanks to fellow trustees, especially Doug whose term ends (as does Nick’s).

1.46pm    Questions on board report (Nick Poole)

There were no questions.

1.46pm    Finance report (Nick, on behalf of Marnie Woodward)

We were pleased to report positive results for our financial year, which ended on 31st January 2021, and covered the pandemic.

We received early reassurances from the Wikimedia Foundation, but we remained financially cautious.

Our unrestricted income for the year just ended was £746,000, higher than the previous year, and we would like to thank all of our members and donors for their continued support through this challenging year.

WMF awarded us an additional grant to expand our fundraising capacities. This restricted grant of £120,000 to help us build our fundraising capacity over the next three years.  Thus our total income came to £867,000. This includes Gifts in Kind, and mostly consists of costs for Wikimedians in Residence, in 10 institutions in the past year.

Total expenditure was £694,000.

We were able to post a surplus of £52,000, and our total unrestricted reserves grew to £290,000, with a further £121,000 in restricted funds for specific future use, acting as a buffer in uncertain times.

A new reserves policy based on assessment of financial risks was introduced in the past year. Current level of reserves meets our targets.

Looking ahead we are particularly pleased to have been awarded funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, part of the Digital Skills for Heritage initiative. We will receive £119,000 over 2 years, to raise digital skills and confidence across the UK heritage sector.

Nick extended congratulations to the team for a great year.

More information is available in the 2020/21 Strategic Report, as well as the Annual Report and Accounts, which are available online at

1.52pm    Questions on finance report (Nick Poole)

There were no questions.

1.53pm    Activity report (Lucy Crompton-Reid)

Lucy outlined that our activity year starts in February 2020, and it opened with an exciting programme of work, for example plans for gender gap events in March, and an education summit in Coventry in February.

With covid on the horizon, we started contingency planning, but still the move from mitigation to lockdown happened quickly. The change was rapid, and Lucy is proud of the team to be able to adapt to the situation, experimenting with new events programmes and compassionately supporting partner organisations.

Lucy is also proud of the international editor community who worked to make covid information accessible for all, especially in the context of misinformation.

2020 was the second year of our 3 year strategy, and we continued working to our strategic programmes. Lucy highlighted the following activities.

  • Education booklet, with highlights of Wikimedia in Education work in collaboration with Edinburgh University.
  • Celtic Knot conference 2020, which was one of the first in the movement delivered online, and was inclusive and had a broad reach.
  • Education work, which was disrupted, but the commitment to continue secondary schools programmes continued in Wales.
  • New WIR at the Science Museum, and a member of staff being on secondment there.
  • Online Train the Trainer, for whom we are well known, and which helped boost our trainers confidence in online training delivery.
  • Wikipedia’s 20th bday celebration was a successful celebration event in January, with 160 people attending.
  • The most impressive achievement was that our quantitative results increased in comparison to the previous year.

We introduced new measures within this strategic cycle, including reach of content - the scale of which is incredibly high - content we supported in 2020 received 1.4bln views.

We also monitor the number of events focused on underrepresented subjects of people. In 2019 this was 38%, and in 2020 - 50%.

We were pleased with our advocacy work too.

The world is still affected by covid. And the following year we will be moving to a hybrid programme, capitalising on our online delivery experience, but also celebrate being able to meet in person.

We will be running community consultations this autumn to help shape our upcoming strategic plans - Lucy encouraged attendees to participate.

Lucy ended with a big thank you to the staff team, trustees, volunteers, partner organisations, members and donors, all doing great work in difficult circumstances.

2.04pm    Questions on activity report (Lucy Crompton-Reid)

Julian Manieson: what are the upcoming plans to maintain a good gender balance within our lead volunteers?

Lucy: gender gap events will continue. There is momentum built within this work now. The upcoming challenge is to focus on other areas of representation too; this feeds into WMUK’s equity, diversity and inclusion work. There’s also a tension between what WMUK can do, and the environment on wiki projects.

Deryck Chan: what is the plan regarding reopening of in-person events.

Lucy: will be looking at mixed model, we want to keep the success of online events. Will support some physical meetups and will take a careful approach.

2.10pm    Resolutions and Elections: Explanation of process (Katie Crampton)

Katie explained the process for live online voting (which was enabled after a resolution at last year’s AGM). For trustees elections it will be a single transferable vote. For resolutions it will be oppose or support.

2.16pm    Questions to candidates (Chair asked the questions posed by members on the wiki)

Candidates were:

Caroline Ball

Richard Jenkins (joined late)

Julian Akodoye Manieson

Femke Nijsse

Clem Rutter (absent)

Rod Ward

Q Nick: please outline your interest in joining the board.

Caroline: From University of Derby, academic librarian, interested in Wikipedia in education, which is a great tool to teach digital literacy. Passionate about fair access to resources. Awarded Wikimedian of the year last year.

Julian: graduated from law last year, now working as an investor. Used Wikipedia as a tool throughout, likes the collaborative ethos. Hope to bring in commercial experience, in project management etc, using Wikipedia also as a platform for education.

Femke: research fellow at University of Exeter, climate scientist beforehand. Wikipedia editor for 8 years, working against misinformation on climate change. Want to bring more professionals, scientists, into the editing process, and collaboration with universities.

Rod: nurse, then higher education. Retired last year. Edited for the past 17 years. Elected to be a trustee 2 years ago, learnt a lot about WMUK. As a trustee focused on highlighting editing community and its opinions and concerns.


Q Lucy CR: What is the biggest thing you will contribute, and the biggest thing you’ll need to learn.

Caroline: Haven’t been a trustee before so need to learn what the role involves. Will bring enthusiasm and experience of working with students. Will also be able to bring the knowledge of Wikimedia back to her work.

Julian: Technical expertise, good grip of law and charity law. Worked as a management consultant in the public sector, worked in PR so understands the external communication piece too. Stakeholder relations. Run a number of societies, understands the social interaction piece.

Wants to learn more about how the charity can be different things to different people.

Femke: Bridge between editing community and the academic community, selling being an editor to the academic community - has done this before.

Need to learn charity law, has been a trustee of a Dutch charity but aware it would be different.

Rod: Liaison with the wider community.

Still not an expert on charity law, found the letter he received from Charity Commission scary. Still needs to learn how spreadsheets work for various budgets and finances.

[Richard Jenkins joins]

Richard: education IT professional, head of IT at an independent school. Has promoted Wikimedia projects as something to be used in schools in his various roles; involving teachers too. Active editor on Wikipedia, especially technical side; as a trustee would align the charity with the editor community.

Hasn't served as a charity trustee yet, and would need to learn charity law.


Q Doug: Given that Trustees are responsible for the overall strategy of WMUK. If elected, how would you go about increasing our volunteer base?

Femke: Hook people to stay editing. Volunteer grants by WMUK is a good example to continue, support activities from volunteers. It should be promoted more. Getting new people from university. E.g. early career researchers.

Rod: Culture on Wikipedia could be a barrier, wondering if the code of conduct would create a welcoming culture. Retention is key. WMUK should be a part of this process.

Caroline: Retention is important. Some Wikipedia editors can act as gatekeepers and put newcomers off. We should encourage the Assume good faith culture. We should work with schools more.

Julian: Agree with Caroline. Use Sandboxes to address the gatekeeping problem.

Richard: getting students involved, using sandboxes - all good ideas. Using projects beyond Wikipedia - Commons, Wikidata - various tasks could be used to bring people in. We can only influence the general community slightly - so we should focus on what we can do - recruiting new people into the projects.


Q Kelly: (1) with the view to Wikimedia 2030 strategy, how do you see Wikimedia UK’s role in working to incorporating it. (2) there’s been recent conversations about there being an English Wikipedia user group - what are your thoughts on that if that were to happen.

Femke: Not familiar with 2030 strategy, or the user group conversation.

But on 2, having another way to feel a part of a community is good. We could support educational activities through English User group.

Richard: Read all of the 2030 strategy. It doesn’t have a good reputation, sceptical about how much WMUK should do. Knowledge as a service and knowledge equity are good. But it reads bureaucratic and has little relevance to the editing community and to the affiliates. WMUK should be careful not to take on board everything that WMF says is important. Instead focus on ideas that serve our purpose best.

User group, good idea, could support it.

Caroline: Have issues with 2030 strategy, in terms of Wikimedia being the essential infrastructure. It has flaws, especially in bias - without addressing these imbalances first, we run the risk of damaging the infrastructure of free knowledge.

User groups, good to be connected to users. Could compliment WMUK.

Rod: heard a bit about 2030 strategy through the WMUK board itself. There are good ideas in there, but not sure the way forward has been identified. WMF can be separated from the editing community. There are on-wiki groups that could be contacted.

English User group - would be quite large, and could lead to disconnect in power relationship to other user groups. One to watch.

Julian: Agree that Wikipedia has bias issues and accuracy issues, but it is the backbone of open knowledge, and knowledge generally. This is a responsibility. The strategy is a set of guidelines to follow.

User group - not familiar with these org structures, but agree with Rod.

3.07pm    BREAK/VOTING

3.14pm    Wikimedian of the Year Awards (presented by Lorna Campbell) and Honorary Member Awards (presented by Nick Poole)

Lucy Moore, Abd Alsattar Ardati - joint winners of the Upcoming Wikimedian of the year

Scotland slavery and Black history project at the University of Edinburgh - honorable mention for Partnership of the year.

London College of Communications and their decolonising knowledge network - Partnership of the year

Ian Watt - honorable mention for Wikimedian of the year

Cobra3000 -  Wikimedian of the year

Honorary members:

Rosie Chapman

Mike Peel

Martin Poulter

3.32pm    Announcement of Monisha Shah as Chair Elect and Lorna Campbell as interim Chair (Nick Poole)

Nick welcomed Monisha to the board, and gave background to her experiences.

3.35pm    Announcement of results of elections and resolutions (Katie Crampton)

Julian Akodoye Manieson

Caroline Ball

Rod Ward

All resolutions have been passed.

3.39pm    Thanks and close (Nick/Lucy)

Lucy extended thanks to Nick for his time as the Chair of WMUK.