Chief Executive Report 2018-03-10

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Board Meeting March 2018 Chief Executive’s Report


Key activities and achievements since the last board meeting include:

  • Our three year business plan has been reviewed and updated
  • The delivery plan for 2018/19 has been finalised
  • The fully absorbed budget for 2018/19 has been finalised, subject to approval
  • A Wikipedia editing module is now a formal part of the Welsh Baccalaureate
  • The long term impact evaluation of Wikimedians in Residence has been completed
  • The design of new print materials and other resources is underway
  • We ran a successful and well attended Wikidata hackathon at Newspeak House
  • We also held a highly successful ‘in conversation with Katherine Maher’ event
  • The Independent published a positive and informative ‘long read’ article about us
  • Feminism and Museums: Intervention, Disruption and Change is now published
  • An in depth interview with Lucy for CILIP’s Information Professional is due out soon
  • Successful editathon events were held with a range of partners
  • Continued high levels of delivery across our Wikimedians in Residence projects
  • Recruitment of a new Programme Co-ordinator, who joined the team on 1st March
  • Recruitment of an interim Chief Executive, starting on 19th March
  • Recruitment of a new Programme Co-ordinator based in Scotland, starting in April

Programmes Report

The Quarterly Performance Report provides qualitative analysis of the charity’s progress towards our strategic goals and metrics during the final quarter of the financial year. We can therefore now consider our year end results against our quantitative indicators, which are very positive - with almost all targets having been met or exceeded (with the exception of the volunteer survey results, which were very close to target). You can see the full picture in the report, with some of the highlights including:

  • Over 100,000 content pages were created or improved in the last quarter, bringing the annual total to 408, 947 against the 80,000 target
  • Total participants for the year were 6252, exceeding our target of 4000
  • There were 275 leading volunteers during the year, and in the last quarter 63% of these were women, against our target of 33%

Daria and others in the team are currently working on the Impact Report to be submitted online by 28th March. This will include a much fuller picture of our achievements against our quantitative and qualitative indicators plus a full narrative report with case studies and other information.

In terms of programme activities coming up, we have a number of events on or around International Women’s Day - including some specific Art+Feminism events - and are working towards on a major collaboration with Amnesty which will see worldwide events take place in May/June this year.

We had a productive Partnerships Advisory Group meeting in January and some ideas emerged about a potential project with school librarians (working title ‘Truth and Lines’), as part of a follow up campaign to Facts Matter that CILIP are running with this audience.

Staff and Board Update

This has been a very busy quarter from an HR perspective, with Richard Nevell’s move to English Heritage for a year long sabbatical at the end of January meaning that we needed to advertise and recruit three posts in total, with the interim Chief Executive and the new Programme Co-ordinator for Scotland.

We received 18 applications for the London-based Programme Co-ordinator and Daria, Jordan and I interview six candidates, including three well known Wikimedia UK volunteers. The successful candidate was Hannah Evans, who joined the organisation on Thursday 1st March. Hannah has a background in membership-led engagement programmes and campaigns, particular interests in youth engagement, gender equality and human rights, and was a stand out candidate at interview.

There were a very high number of applications for the post in Scotland and Lorna joined Daria for interviews in Glasgow, seeing five candidates in total. The role has been offered to Sara Thomas, who was previously the Wikimedian in Residence at Museums Galleries Scotland and is currently the resident at Scottish Libraries and Information Council. She therefore brings a high level of understanding of both Wikimedia and the UK Chapter and an understanding of the needs of residents.

We advertised the CEO post quite widely, mainly as I worried we wouldn’t receive a high level of interest in a short term, part time post. However, I was proved wrong (and/or the advertising worked!) and in fact we had an extraordinary 74 applications, many of them from highly skilled and experienced candidates. I reviewed all the applications to produce a long list of about 25, from which Josie and I shortlisted seven candidates for interview across two days. Josie and Kate interviewed all seven candidates in person and were very pleased to offer the role to Sandy Balfour.

Sandy has a varied background including both executive and non executive roles in the charity sector and brings skills in leadership, financial management, education, media and communications. He will be joining the team on Monday 19th March with two handover days with me scheduled for that first week and an induction being planned by me and Katie. I’m sure he will introduce himself to you all by email and that you will enjoy working with Sandy during his time here.

My last scheduled day in the office is Thursday 22nd March and I’m planning to return in late October. Davina also has a confirmed date for her leave and her last day in the office will be Thursday 12th April with a projected return date of Tuesday 10th July.

Katie Crampton, our Membership, Fundraising and Operation Assistant, was confirmed in post in January following her probation. Daria and I have met with Karla Marte to discuss her return from maternity leave in the summer and she has requested coming back part time.

External Relations and Advocacy

In December, John visited the Bradford Media Museum to interview the curator of their Fake News exhibition, producing this video. Following this he was invited back to talk at their Fake News event alongside an impressive panel, off the back of which John persuaded the Independent (who covered the event) to write a comprehensive ‘long read’ article about Wikipedia and Wikimedia UK in February. Katherine Maher emailed John and I personally to congratulate us on this article.

Wikimedia Day at Newspeak House was held on Saturday 3rd February and organised at short notice around a visit to the UK from Katherine Maher. John planned a Wikidata hackathon during the day, with the support and input of Wikimedians in Residence and other volunteers and about 40 participants. The event went very well and suggested that there is the potential in the UK to plan and host a larger scale hackathon. This was followed by ‘The Future of Wikipedia’ event, which was essentially a conversation between me and Katherine Maher which was attended by around 100 people. Again, this was very successful and acted as something of a ‘proof of concept’ for the chapter to hold lectures and other events of this nature in future.

In addition to the Fake News video, since the last board meeting John has produced videos about the history of women in art, 1lib1ref, Wikipedia at 17, the Wikidata Hackathon and the event with Lucy and Katherine Maher. He has also published blogposts on Second World War propaganda films on Commons, 1Lib1Ref, Medical articles in Welsh blogpost, How should journalists use Wikipedia blogpost, 1Lib1Ref blogpost, the upcoming Celtic Knot conference in July 2018 blogpost, Wikipedia and journalism case study blogpost.

As always, a lot of John’s time is spent promoting our work and open knowledge more generally through our social media accounts. In early February, we received 21,000 retweets and 4400 replies for a lighthearted Twitter poll about K-Pop (which nearly 90,000 participated in). Through this initial post going viral, John was able to communicate a lot of our key messages to completely new audiences with follow up tweets. A recent tweet about Black Panther being the most popular Wikipedia page in February has so far received nearly 9000 retweets and 5600 likes.

In February I was interviewed by CILIP for an in-depth article that should be published in their Information Professional magazine in March. I also responded to some questions about gender parity for International Women’s Day which have been included (alongside quotes from Mary Beard amongst other) in three articles produced for the Information Professional website.

To continue the CILIP theme, in February Mark Taylor, Director of External Relations at CILIP, spent the day with Wikimedia UK to learn more our work and to support and advise us in terms of our external relations. This was really helpful and I hope we will continue to benefit from this relationship over the following months. In particular, Mark has recommended some of the PR services that CILIP uses including a media database and distribution company from whom we are currently getting a quote for Wikimedia UK. This may be particularly useful for the forthcoming Amnesty events, for which we are currently planning a communications campaign.

We are now at the design stage for a new suite of six postcard-sized printed materials about Wikimedia UK, and have also engaged a designer to create a PDF version of the full Wikimedians in Residence Impact Report, and a shorter booklet (which will be printed) incorporating highlights of the report with other information about the programme, to be used as a promotional tool with potential partners. We are working with Edinburgh University on a resource about Wikimedia in education, incorporating work from the university as well as case studies from elsewhere in the UK. We are hoping that this will be a co-branded printed resource and that it will be available in term for the next OER conference in April.

Following agreement at the last board meeting we have created new organisational membership pages on the website and are currently ironing out some minor issues with online payments for organisational members, with the help of our developers.

There have been a few developments in terms of political engagement and advocacy. Following a briefing with Dimi Dimitar I have been in touch with Sajjad Karim MEP about safeguarding public domain in the EU copyright legislation that is currently being debated. Following a conversation with the British Science Association, who are setting up an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Diversity and Inclusion in STEM, I have been invited to join this group; although it’s likely that Daria or Josie will attend the first meeting at least given my maternity leave.

Engaging with the global Wikimedia movement

At the end of February I attended an Executive Directors meeting (for Wikimedia chapters with an ED) in Utrecht, where we explored the next phases of the movement strategy amongst some more specific chapter issues. I have included more details about this meeting in my strategy paper.

We continue participate in global campaigns such as #1lib1ref and Art+Feminism, and are collaborating with other Wikimedia chapters on our Amnesty partnership. We also participated in the recent ‘We Miss Turkey’ campaign, with our tweets on this getting picked up by Turkish media outlets.

Lucy Crompton-Reid

March 2018