Friends' Newsletter/2019/Issue 02
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Your latest instalment of Wikimedia UK's newsletter features updates on some of our biggest events of the year, including the third Celtic Knot languages conference. This was covered by Stephen Harrison in Slate magazine, where he praised the work our Welsh community has been doing. This year we held the conference in Cornwall, and hope to continue to work with the Cornish language community to improve the small Cornish Wikipedia as an important tool in the revival of the language.
The weekend after the Celtic Knot, we held our Annual General Meeting at the Watershed in Bristol. This is an important opportunity for our members and volunteers to hear about the work of the charity over the past year from staff and trustees, and to contribute their own ideas through questions and discussion sessions or by giving a talk.
In addition to these major events, the past few months has seen a very wide range of activity right across the UK, with a new Wikimedian in Residence launching at Coventry University, a collaboration with Adidas for the Women's Football World Cup, and many other partnership projects and events being developed and delivered. It's also been a very good few months in terms of advocacy, with Wikimedia UK staff, residents and volunteers speaking at a number of events including two keynote speeches by our Chief Executive.
Celtic Knot 2019[edit | edit source]
Celtic Knot 2019 was the third successful language conference delivered by Wikimedia UK in conjunction with partners, and the conference has now been held in Edinburgh, Aberystwyth and Penrith, Cornwall. This year's conference was a great success and hopefully will encourage the Cornish language community to get more involved in improving the Cornish Wikipedia. Participants at the conference came from Norway, Finland, Catalunya, Spain, Brittany, France and Morocco. You can watch all the sessions on this playlist on our YouTube channel. We also made a general video about the conference, which you can see on the right here.
Wikimedia UK has supported people working to increase the diversity of the content and contributors to Wikimedia projects for some time, and this conference is one of the main events we organise to promote our work in this area. Wikipedia can be an incredibly useful platform for smaller language communities, and the success of the Welsh community in creating its own Wikipedia (now more than 100,000 articles strong) and integrating Wikipedia learning into the Welsh Baccalaureate, shows what can be achieved. Different language communities have unique problems, so it's vital that these communities can get together to discuss their projects and best practice, and we hope that the conference will go from strength to strength in the coming years. Next year we are planning to take the conference to Ireland, in partnership with Wikimedia Ireland.
You can find images from this year's conference here.
Wikimedia UK holds AGM in Bristol[edit | edit source]
It was a busy start to July for the Wikimedia UK staff, as the weekend after #CelticKnot2019 we all went to Bristol for our annual AGM. The day included a keynote talk by Brandi Guerkink of Mozilla, a facilitated discussion about culture and conflict and a photography walk of Bristol. We heard lightning talks from members and presented the first ever Honorary Memberships. We also awarded prizes for the UK Wikimedian of the Year and Partnership of the Year, which were won by Dr Jess Wade and Amnesty International respectively - with Andrew Gray and the Dumfries Stonecarving Project receiving Honourable Mentions for their work over the past year.
Two new trustees were elected to the Wikimedia UK board:
- Andrea Chandler
- Rod Ward
and three trustees were re-elected:
- Sangeet Bhullar
- Lorna Campbell
- Josie Fraser
You can see our video recordings on YouTube of some of the presentations and other sessions before the AGM.
Adidas Women's World Cup event[edit | edit source]
We were contacted by a PR agency working for Adidas about a month before the start of the Women's Football World Cup, asking if we would be interested in organising an event to improve coverage of women footballers on Wikipedia. Despite the short notice, we jumped at the chance to work with an organisation with a big reach to help spread awareness of our work to close the gender gap. Only around 3.5% of biographies of football players on Wikipedia are for women, and the event aimed to raise awareness of this and help correct it. Partnering with a big company with a large social media reach resulted in some good press for the event, which was covered by Refinery29, Metro, Stylist, globalcitizen and Bustle.
They also agreed to release their video of the event on a CC license, which you can see on the right. Given the recent PR disaster that the North Face brand encountered when its PR agency misleadingly placed branded content on Wikipedia, this event represents a good case study in the way a big company can work in an ethical way with Wikimedia by being transparent and not trying to piggyback its own content onto Wikipedia. We would certainly encourage other companies who may be interested in sponsoring similar events to talk to us about partnering to improve Wikimedia projects.
Scotland[edit | edit source]
Dr Sara Thomas, our Scotland Programme Co-ordinator, has recently spoken at both the Heritage Dot and CILIP conferences. Sara presented a paper at Heritage Dot which was co-authored with Dr Tara S Beall of the Dumfries Stonecarving Project, Dumfries Historic Buildings Trust. The paper talked about medium and long-term community engagement with the Wikimedia projects by Community Heritage Projects, and the benefits to those projects of adding content to the Wikimedia projects. You can hear the recording of Sara's Heritage Dot presentation here.
The Dumfries Stonecarving Project / Dumfries Historic Buildings Trust held a series of editathons in July to upload pictures to Wikimedia Commons, and update Wikipedia articles using the findings of their archival research. You can read more about the Stonecarving project on their website here, and see pictures uploaded as part of the project on Wikimedia Commons here.
Sara and Dr Doug Rocks-McQueen, Wikimedian in Residence at the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, were successful in applying to have an intern placed with Wikimedia UK/Archaeology Scotland as part of the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities Internship/Artist in Residence programme.
Dig It! & the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland held an editathon on the 9th May to work on biographies of Women in Scottish Archaeology. New articles created included Caroline Wickham-Jones, and Olwyn Owen.
In June, Sara gave a presentation at the CILIPS annual conference, on behalf of Delphine Dallison - former Wikimedian in Residence at SLIC (the Scottish Libraries and Information Council). Our Chief Executive Lucy Crompton-Reid also gave a keynote speech at this two day event held in Dundee.
University of Edinburgh residency[edit | edit source]
New courses to include Wikipedia in the curriculum components for 2019/2020 session include Korean Studies MSc, Digital Education MSc, and PG Cert Global Health Challenges. A new booklet of case studies on the use of Wikimedia projects in UK education is being developed by the University of Edinburgh and Wikimedia UK and is due for release soon. Wikimedian in Residence, Ewan McAndrew, and Lorna Campbell, have also had a case study on Wikipedia and Translation Studies published in the newly published Open Access book, "New case studies of openness in and beyond the language classroom" - which celebrates the many ways in which language teachers & learners around the globe are embracing the concept of ‘openness’ in the language classroom.
Upcoming events include a Celebration of Open Source event on 28 September and a celebration of Women in STEM for Ada Lovelace Day 2019 on 8 October 2019. Additionally, Ewan has continued to run regular monthly meetups with WikiProject Women in Red to encourage new editors and help to reduce the Gender Gap. Recent events include an editathon with the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in May, a Women in STEM editathon at the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Feminist Writers editathon at the School of Sociology in June. He also organised events in collaboration with the Library & University Collections' team concentrating on Scotland's connections with Spain. He published a blog on the University of Edinburgh site about how staff and students at the university are engaging with Wikipedia and attended the university's Learning and Teaching conference, #uoeltconf19, where he gave a talk about his work.
The Survey of Scottish Witchcraft project has been ongoing, with an Equate Scotland student intern appointed to import the geographical and temporal data into Wikidata. Emma Carroll, the 'Witchfinder General' intern, has been blogging about her work on the University of Edinburgh's site, and you can read all about her progress here. Emma has also developed a new video tutorial on how to reconcile your datasets using OpenRefine to easily export into Wikidata. She will be presenting on the "The Wicked Findings of the Witchfinder General" at the Association of Learning Technologists (ALT) annual conference in Edinburgh on 3rd September and in an Edinburgh Centre for Data, Culture and Society seminar on 11 September. Ewan gave a presentation at the university entitled 'WikiWicca: Teaching data literacy with the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft and enabling Open Science and Open Scholarship with Wikidata'.
Award win[edit | edit source]
Very excitingly, the University of Edinburgh residency was shortlisted for the LILAC Information Literacy Award for 2019 and won the Award for Innovative use of Technology at the 2019 Herald Higher Education Awards.The university's nomination "focused on the development of digital literacy skills at University of Edinburgh through our partnership with Wikimedia UK. Project achievements have gone far beyond what might have been expected and has shown impact and reach which is unique and well worth celebrating." Ewan attended the event and celebrated with University of Edinburgh staff, who Wikimedia UK warmly congratulates for their win! You can see a video of the award win via Ewan's Twitter account here and you can read more about the award on our blog.
Wales[edit | edit source]
Wales Manager Robin Owain helped to release a Welsh database on liverwort mosses as part of the Llen Natur project, which will help create 300 new articles about plants in Welsh. Robin also started a WikiProject in participation with Arabic-language Wikimedians to add articles about the Middle East to Welsh Wikipedia, and has so far created 43 articles in Welsh. He also met the government's Welsh language Commissioner to discuss releasing content in Welsh on Open Licenses. Robin wrote about Education in Wales for our blog and presented at the Celtic Knot languages conference. You can see his presentation here. Jason Evans also attended the conference, and his presentation is shown opposite.
Arron Morris Wici Mon project continued to train school children in Anglesey to edit Wikipedia.
The National Library of Wales (NLW) shared over 600 oil paintings on Wikimedia Commons on Open Licenses.You can see the category on Commons here. In June, National Wikimedian Jason Evans (based at the NLW) created 581 Wikidata items for the medieval Peniarth Manuscripts from the NLW and added 189 images of the manuscripts to Commons. These manuscripts have recently received UNESCO Memory of the World status and you can read more about them on the NLW blog. Jason Evans has also been working with Wikidata for Welsh publishers in preparation for a Welsh Literature project - and successfully created a NLW catalogue ID Wikidata property.
An impact report has been published for the WiciPobl project which aimed to add biographies to the Welsh Wikipedia. Jason also submitted a grant application to the Welsh Government outlining a plan for an education pilot project in Wales, aimed at improving resources for school children on Welsh Wikipedia.
Residencies at Universities[edit | edit source]
Dr Martin Poulter at the University of Oxford and Andy Mabbett, newly appointed Wikimedian in Residence at Coventry University's Disruptive Media Learning Lab, have both written about their work for This Month in GLAM. Martin has been improving the Wikidata-driven applications Astrolabe Explorer, Collection Explorer and Sibthorp-Bauer Expedition, and has written a script to find outdated external links from all Wikipedia and Commons pages relating to a specific collection. A video created by Martin argues that Wikidata has an essential role to play in the future of museums' online presence.
Andy Mabbett recently started his two year residency at Coventry University where he will be working with the university's staff and librarians to help integrate Wikimedia projects into their courses, as well as on campaigns like #1Lib1Ref ("1 Librarian, 1 Reference") and WikiCite, and opening up the University's archives and collections. Andy has written an introductory blog about his work here, and you can follow the Wikipedia project page for the residency here.
In July our Chief Executive, Lucy Crompton-Reid, gave a keynote talk at the Academic Leaders Forum of the London College of Communication, which is part of the University of the Arts London. This was received very well and a number of senior staff have expressed an interest in integrating Wikimedia into their courses.
Working with the music industry[edit | edit source]
Communications Coordinator John has been working with the Association of Independent Music (AIM) and helping to send Wikimedians to festivals to take photos of artists. We started reaching out to AIM last year, who were quite interested in working with us to raise awareness of how Wikipedia works and how music organisations can engage with it in their sector. Most music promoters do not understand issues around notability and conflict of interest, and so they often engage with Wikipedia in the wrong way. We have been trying to signpost the music sector to engage with Wikipedia positively, by understanding the rules of the site, and by releasing content on their artists. We ran a workshop at Newspeak House in London for AIM members from independent music labels, where we made some good contacts with labels who promote diverse artists across the UK. We wrote a blog about what we are doing which you can read here.
This year we sent a couple of photographers to Glastonbury Festival, and you can see the Commons category for the images here. These photos have helped to illustrate dozens of Wikipedia pages which previously had no media in them. I also received a photography pass to Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona, which I was attending anyway, and took some good photos of smaller artists there. You can see those images here.
Wiki Loves Monuments 2019 approaches![edit | edit source]
It's that time of year again, when we scour the land for the best photography opportunities at the UK's historic sites – anything that's listed on the interactive WLM map. The competition runs from 1st to 30th September and there's £1,075 in prize money and a special prize donated by Archaeology Scotland. The WLM website has more details.
Wiki Loves Monuments is the world's largest photography competition, and we want your help to share the UK's historic sites with Wikipedia's readers. From photographs of historic sites in their landscape to close-up details of iron railings: all are welcome! The competition is for everyone, whether you're just starting out with photography or have years of experience behind you. We also are again encouraging people to get more shots of the interiors of buildings where there are already good shots of the exteriors.
Other Stuff[edit | edit source]
Conway Hall[edit | edit source]
Wikimedia UK has been working with the Conway Hall Ethical Society to transfer hundreds of 19th century pamphlets onto Commons and use them on Wikipedia. Conway Hall has a great collection of pamphlets on all kinds of topics that show the thinking and concerns of writers during that time. Now digitised and published on Open Licenses, we have transferred them to Commons and encourage our community to go to work and embed the pamphlets on the pages of pamphleteers and on topic pages on Wikipedia where they may be relevant. Read more on our blog.
Wikidata Workshops[edit | edit source]
We have been running a series of Wikidata meetups in London at Newspeak House in Shoreditch. The aim of these events is to encourage the formation of a community of Wikidata editors in the UK who can support each other, collaborate on projects together and share skills with people interested in working with Wikidata.
Our last event in June was held in partnership with OpenStreetMap, who had their AGM at Newspeak House before we began our joint meeting, with talks by Wikidatans about areas in which Wikidata and OSM intersect. You can watch these talks on our YouTube channel here.
Wikidata is becoming increasingly important as a project, and recently passed the number of total Wikipedia articles, containing almost 60 million data items. We hope to encourage data scientists, students, journalists and others interested in the possibilities of Open Data to come and learn about Wikidata and gain the skills necessary to use it in their own projects. A bigger Wikidata community in the UK is useful for the chapter to build capacity, diversify our membership, and do more projects in new areas with new partners. We encourage anybody who can make it to the next Wikidata London meetup on August 31 to join us in East London. Sign up here.
Publications[edit | edit source]
Wikimedia UK has been in the process of developing new outreach materials. We've recently published a long report about the impact of Wikimedians in Residence between 2012-17 which you can read on the right.
We have also had a more compact version of this report designed by our graphic design company which will be distributed to educational partners who may be considering employing a Wikimedian in Residence of their own.
You can also find our 2018-2019 Strategic Report, which rounds up all the work in the last financial year here.
Our designers have also come up with a collection of postcards which we can give out at events which give more information about the charity and how to become a member, and we are also looking forward to a forthcoming educational report produced by staff at the University of Edinburgh.
Wikimania 2019[edit | edit source]
A number of staff and trustees will be attending Wikimania this year, with Chief Executive Lucy Crompton-Reid speaking ona panel about Wikimedia partnerships at 3 PM on Saturday 17th August. A number of other UK-based Wikimedians like Edward Betts, Miriam Redi, James Heilman and Lucie-Aimée Kaffee will also be participating in programme events. You can see the whole programme for the conference here.