Friends' Newsletter/2024/Issue 01

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Arthog, Barmouth Bridge, Wales, with Snowdonia in the background by Themountainphotographer.

Welcome to the spring 2024 newsletter

I have the privilege of introducing this newsletter and once again, I’m struck by the diversity of activities that Wikimedia UK and our wider community has been involved in over the past few months. From the London College of Communications’ continued work to address content gaps and issues of equity on the Wikimedia projects, through to talks at events and conferences; from the launch of the Changemakers’ Toolkit in partnership with Sheila McKechnie Foundation, to participation in the global photography competition Wiki Loves Folklore (the deadline for which is the end of March, so do get your entries in before then) we continue to deliver and support a wide range of work to achieve our vision of a more informed, democratic and equitable society through open knowledge.

Whilst issues of equity affect many groups, this month our attention is on women, as we celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. It was wonderful to see the work of Lucy Moore featured in a Guardian article, chronicling her own tireless work to document notable women around the world, and calling for more people to contribute to Wikipedia and close the gender gap. March – which includes Mothering Sunday in the UK and also my own mother’s birthday – is also a month of personal reflection for me; as a mum of two young boys who I am endeavouring to raise with respect for all and an appreciation of  difference, and the daughter of a mum who was innately feminist, although she wouldn’t have described herself in those terms. I’m very happy to call myself a feminist and see so many wiki editors – whether intentionally or simply because they admire the women they're writing about – share their knowledge on how women have helped shape our world.

Lucy Crompton-Reid

Chief Executive of Wikimedia UK

Women’s History Month

It’s Women’s History Month, and as usual editors around the UK are working to close the gender gap on Wikipedia. Women’s representation on the Wikimedia projects has been a vital aspect of our knowledge equity work, which enhances the involvement and portrayal of marginalised individuals and topics on Wikipedia. Partners and lead volunteers have been busy organising some really interesting events with this goal in mind.

Black and white photo of Brigitte Reimann speaking before the Executive Committee of the National Council of the GDR, 1963
Brigitte Reimann speaking before the Executive Committee of the National Council of the GDR, 1963

In Glasgow, a trilingual editathon in German, French and English on contemporary women writers was held at the Goethe-Institut. Guests were invited to work on authors of their choice in any of the three languages, with our Programme Manager, Sara Thomas, on hand to teach Wikipedia editing and Wikidata querying. The event attendees added over 1.69k words to Wikipedia, on biographical articles such as Brigitte Reimann’s, who wrote Franziska Linkerhand – a heavily censored book which was written before the fall of the Berlin Wall, and was only released uncensored in 1998.

The University of Edinburgh held their 81st Women in Red editathon on International Women’s Day. Women’s representation on Wikipedia has long been a focus of the Edinburgh residency, with the Witches map in particular gaining awards and global recognition for its use of Wikidata to document the trials of Scottish people – the majority of whom were women – that were unjustly accused of witchcraft. Ellie Whitehead became the Assistant Wikimedian in Residence working with Ewan McAndrew, and has taken on the planning of themed editing events. She promoted and trained participants at her first Wikipedia editathon in January for Burns Night, focusing on a variety of Scottish/Gaelic women poets and writers. The event on the 8th March was on women activists such as Wahida Amiri, an Afghan Librarian and protestor against the Taliban and their ban on women's education and right to work.

Women’s contributions to history are not always noble, even if they are notable. UCL made a pledge to confront its history of eugenics and its lasting legacy in 2020, and as part of that pledge they ran two events on the women scientists at UCL’s Galton Laboratory for National Eugenics. The Galton Laboratory, established in 1904, aimed to establish eugenics as an academic discipline to legitimise the broader eugenics project in Britain and beyond. Participants at the events joined students from the Public History MA programme and UCL Special Collections for interactive workshops about the women scientists who took part in this research. They looked into how the women in the Galton Laboratory impacted the production of eugenics’ scientific, mathematical, and nation-building legacies. They also examined how to critically understand the historical work of the women who developed and advanced oppressive ideologies against the backdrop of today’s women in STEM movement.

We were delighted to see Lucy Moore recognised for her work in a brilliant interview with the Guardian. Lucy spoke on completing her ‘round the world’ editing trip, in which she created an article for at least one notable woman from every country in the world. She spoke on the challenges in undertaking this kind of editing, such as finding reliable sources on women and receiving criticism – and sometimes mass deletion of articles, such as Dr Jess Wade experienced – from male editors both on Wikipedia and on social media. The articles Lucy has contributed are so valuable to Wikipedia, not only for women’s representation, but for knowledge that everyone is seeking when they visit the encyclopaedia.

Changemakers’ Toolkit

Stop Kavanaugh Rally - US Capitol Grounds - 09-04-2018 04. By Ziggyfan23.

This month we launched the Changemakers’ Toolkit in collaboration with the Sheila McKechnie Foundation (SMK). Across the UK people are working to change things for the better. Campaigners, activists, and changemakers of all types are stepping up to address injustices, improve conditions in their communities, and draw attention to neglected issues. Almost half the world is going to the polls in 2024, and as the need for action grows we are experiencing fewer spaces where citizens can develop and practise key civic skills such as collaboration, self-representation, and working within a context of diversity and difference of opinion.

The Toolkit is based on SMK’s Campaign Carousel which draws on nearly two decades of experience training hundreds of campaigners and activists. The three introductory modules are Introduction to changemaking, Analysing the Problem and Planning for Change, and Communicating for Change. Following these modules will develop an actionable understanding of campaigning and change-making. Our aim is to support everyone to campaign more confidently straight away, and to give anyone interested in changemaking a framework to build more knowledge in the future.

The ambition is to add to the Toolkit over time, providing changemakers with a comprehensive library of free campaigning resources. We’d love your feedback on how the Toolkit works for you and what else you would like to see added. You can email us at

Wikimania deadline for proposals

The deadline to propose sessions for Wikimania 2024 is fast approaching. Whether onsite, virtual, or hybrid, you’re invited to propose a session by 3rd April, 12pm UTC. This year’s conference will be in Katowice, Poland from the 7th-10th August. The theme is ‘Collaboration of the Open’. We have a few members of staff and Wikimedians in Residence who have proposed sessions, which we’ll be telling you all about in the next newsletter. The benefit of the event being hybrid means you don’t have to fly to Poland to hear the great talks and workshops that’ll be on offer!

Wikimedia and AI

The acceleration and proliferation of generative AI tools over the past 18 months has prompted reflection and discussion about misinformation, disinformation, copyright, bias, and media and information literacy skills among civil society and policy makers. Increasingly, Wikimedia UK is being seen as an important voice for “good tech” within a very fast moving environment, with our Chief Executive, Lucy, invited onto policy platforms and other forums to talk about our work and mission. Examples of this include a provocation at the British Academy’s Roundtable on Rethinking the Principles of Public Service Media for the Digital Society (report available here); speaking on a panel at an Open Science & AI Policy Discussion organised by CILIP (the library and information association), Knowledge Rights 21 and Research Libraries UK; participating in a Creative Commons roundtable about Generative AI and Open Culture; participating in a Chatham House roundtable to gather evidence for UK and international policymakers on the use of AI for governance and democracy innovation; and earlier this month, joining a panel at the British Library and Guardian’s policy summit Safeguarding Tomorrow: The Impact of AI on Media and Information Industries.

Climate residency at the Global Systems Institute

Infographic of stats made by Tatjana for reflecting her first year as the Wikimedia Visiting Fellow for Climate at GSI.
Infographic of stats made by Tatjana for reflecting her first year as the Wikimedia Visiting Fellow for Climate at GSI.

Tatjana Baleta has been the climate Wikimedian Visiting Fellow for Climate at GSI since 2022, helping the institute share their research and knowledge on climate change to Wikipedia and its sister projects. In February she helped deliver a seminar for masters students so they could pick up editing and share their knowledge on environmental policy content with Wikipedia. In the same month she addressed a number of bioscience lecturers about using Wikimedia platforms in teaching. Tatjana also visited the Met Office to talk to the researchers there and plan an editathon together. The project has involved many such people, students who are eager to learn new content and skills development, lecturers and teachers interested in new ways to teach, and researchers and academics keen to share their vast and detailed knowledge. In working with this network of people – all with their own interests and abilities – Tatjana has compiled a list of useful tips for how best to engage academic audiences, which she shared in a Diff blog in January.

Our residents are all doing brilliant work within their institutions, and while there’s regular sharing of ideas and skills between them behind the scenes, it’s not every day that we see an event hosted by two of our residents. It’s therefore exciting to see Tatjana team up with Adam Harangozo from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) to deliver two workshops on the effects of climate change on health. NIHR and the University of Exeter are running the joint editathons online, calling on experts in health and climate change aspects of indoor environments to improve Wikipedia’s information about indoor air quality. We’re looking forward to the results of these editathons, and will likely be posting a blog to Diff on the results. In the meantime, you can see Adam’s recent blog on how his residency is using Wikipedia to help disseminate medical research.

2024 AGM

We’ve moved back our AGM from its usual summer slot to Saturday 21st September. This is an important date for your diaries, particularly if you are a member of the charity (which costs just £5 a year). The meeting will include reports from the board and executive, voting on resolutions and of course trustee elections. There will be an opportunity to ask questions about our work in 2023/24 and to find out more about people standing for election to the board.

Reaching libraries

On 1st March our Chief Executive, Lucy, gave the keynote talk at the British Library's Press Play conference. Billed as “a playground for digital ideas”, the Press Play conference was the first event as part of the LibraryOn programme to drive digital innovation in public libraries, and attended by hundreds of librarians and library service leaders. Lucy’s talk focused on trust, connection and stories, the importance of libraries in helping to create a healthy information ecosystem and the role that Wikimedia plays in supporting information literacy. You can watch it on playback here.


In arts and humanities, digital humanities, data research, computer sciences, and the technology sector, there exists a recognised "diversity gap," wherein women, individuals with disclosed disabilities, Black, Asian, and minority ethnic groups remain disproportionately marginalised and underrepresented. The DAReS (Digital Arts and Humanities Research Skills) CoLab at UAL endeavours to establish and test an inclusive framework for imparting advanced data and digital research skills within the arts and humanities, particularly focusing on researchers from marginalised backgrounds across all career stages.

We had our Wikibooks hackathon on the 26th January. The Hackathon brought together participants, partners and the project team to co-create a skills wiki and engage in the last iteration of digital skills. We had a good turnout with around 100 people taking part, working on a Wikibook about data and digital research skills – preparing guidance on topics from planning your research journey to data visualisations. Thanks to Jonathan Cardy and Sophie Whitfield for volunteering their time helping attendees.

Celtic Knot 2024

Photo of Waterford city at night.
Waterford by night by Typhoon

As was mentioned in the last newsletter, Wikimedia UK and Wikimedia Community Ireland have put in a joint bid to host the Celtic Knot Wikimedia Languages Conference this year. The Celtic Knot aims to bring people together to share their experiences of working on sharing information in minority and minoritised languages. We’ve done five Celtic Knots now, and have seen how they bring people who are working on growing and maintaining their communities – on Wikipedia, but also Wikisource or Wikidata – together to learn from each other, share support on topics like community growth, technical tools, or collaboration with partners.

Our plan is to hold the conference in late September in Waterford City in Ireland and theme the conference around the Irish language and culture. Submissions from the community will open in May/June.

Neurodiversity Week at Leeds University

In support of Neurodiversity Week 2024, our volunteer trainers led an editathon with Leeds University to improve Wikipedia’s neurodiversity content. Neurodiversity and disabilities are underrepresented in all areas of knowledge, with scientific information taking a ‘disorder’ rather than a ‘condition’-based approach. In an effort to make Wikipedia’s content inclusive and accurate, the editathon added information on a number of related topics, such as initiatives to make public attractions and workforces more accessible and inclusive, the representation of neurodiversity in fictional characters, and how autism is evident in many comedians. Over 34k words were added to over 100 articles, making use of over 300 sources. You can see some of the articles on the dashboard or event page.

Sankofa London Schools Project

Photo of Nadege Forde-Vidal delivering Sankofa London Schools' History project presentation at the 2023 Classical Association Conference at University of Cambridge, England, on Sunday 23 April 2023.
Nadege Forde-Vidal delivering Sankofa London Schools' History project presentation at the 2023 Classical Association Conference at University of Cambridge, England, on Sunday 23 April 2023.

In our last issue of the newsletter we highlighted the Sankofa London Schools Project. We’re pleased to report that we’re continuing our work with three schools running Wikipedia sessions in the first few months of 2024. The project allows students to learn about the diversities of their local communities, exploring the lives of men, women and children from an array of backgrounds and cultures who lived in London over 300 years ago, especially those of African and Asian heritage. The students use a database made by the University of Glasgow which has newspaper adverts that offered rewards to the public for the capture and return of escaped enslaved and bonded people of colour, which are now described as freedom seekers. These adverts provide a wealth of information that allow us to piece together some of the stories of these people’s lives, which up until now were entirely hidden within the archives. The students reconstruct these histories with the help of curators, archivists and historians with a task-orientated workbook that contains the resources they need. Wikimedia provided the perfect solution for students to share this knowledge with an unlimited number of people around the world, learn to edit, produce text for a public platform, and analyse the data, all while decolonising wiki content.

We ran the first pilot project at Chiswick School back in 2021, focusing on year 9 students with assistance from A-level History students as volunteers to help oversee and guide the year 9’s research. We’ve also launched a programme that’s specifically for A-level students, to cover more sensitive topics and resources and receive good critical feedback from an older group of participants. So far the project is run as an after school project, but we’re hoping to incorporate it into the curriculum in future.

Wiki Loves Monuments UK winners

More than 13k photos were submitted from across the UK for Wiki Loves Monuments in 2023. Photographers submitted their shots of listed buildings and scheduled monuments in an effort to document the UK’s most striking architecture. Richard Nevell, who has organised the competition for many years now, published this blog with the winning and highly commended shots. Wales took first place with a stunning shot of Barmouth Bridge with Snowdonia in the background, which you can see featured at the top of this newsletter.

Wiki Loves Folklore

Photo of a circular Decorative image of a Green Man set into wood, found in a community garden space in North Glasgow, Scotland.
Decorative image of a Green Man set into wood, found in a community garden space in North Glasgow, Scotland photographed for Wiki Loves Folklore by Lirazelf.

Submissions for the Wiki Loves Folklore photography competition will close on Sunday. The competition celebrates cultural diversity from around the world through Wikimedia projects. In England, Scotland and Wales, we called on people to dive into their photo archives or visit local sites with connections of culture, folklore or storytelling and upload them to win. The basic aim of the competition is to collect photos of human cultural diversity to illustrate articles on Wikipedia and its sister projects. Our Programme Manager for Scotland, Sara Thomas, wrote this blog on photographing the Brigid’s Crosses that she was making for Imbolc.

You can enter the competition for England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

Welsh Government’s language technology plan

The Welsh Government released the final report for their Welsh language technology action plan. Wikimedia UK has worked closely with the Welsh Government for nearly 10 years, so we were pleased to see that the report in six instances mentions continuing work with the Welsh language Wikipedia. The plan states that the government will “support Welsh language Wikipedia editing workshops, video workshops and other channels that encourage people to create and publish Welsh-language video, audio, graphic and text content in order to increase the presence of Welsh on the internet, to support the development of Welsh language Wikidata... which increase social capital and to encourage an increase of written Welsh.” The Welsh Government has contributed around 150 COVID-19 videos and thousands of images to Commons, helping us to ensure essential medical information is reliable and up to date.

National Trust

The second pilot project at the National Trust came to an end in February after a few successful months. The project had two strands of work, one to explore the potential of uploading images from the Trust’s collection to Wikimedia Commons, and another to create guidance and test training methods for staff and volunteers at the Trust who were interested in learning to edit. There were training workshops for staff and volunteers to learn about Wikipedia editing; empowering them means they can share information on topics such as Elizabeth Montagu, an 18th-century social reformer.

Edinburgh Wikimedia Meetups

A group photograph from the 14th Edinburgh meetup.
A group photograph from the 14th Edinburgh meetup by Discott.

Douglas Scott has restarted the ScotWiki Edinburgh Meetups. Meetups are organised around the world for Wikimedians to get together and share updates and tips in a relaxed social event. They’re great for new editors who are looking for advice from more experienced editors, and for seasoned Wikimedians eager for movement discussions or just looking to connect and share their expertise with each other. The February Meetup in Edinburgh shared Wiki events in Scotland and further afield, copyright/copyleft, general Wikipedia editing stories and questions, and future possible Wiki/GLAM projects. The next Edinburgh Meetup is on the 27th April.

GLAM-E Labs continuation

The University of Exeter’s GLAM-E Lab and Wikimedia UK are pleased to announce the continuation of our partnership into 2024. Following on from the success of the Connected Heritage project (2021–23) and the Wikimedian Residency at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM), we’re looking forward to another year of enriching the Wikimedia projects with knowledge and images from cultural collections.

Lucy Hinnie, who was the Wikimedian in Residence at RAMM, has taken on the role of Digital Research Fellow, expanding her support to organisations in the South West to develop local open access activities, networks and programming. Together with the GLAM-E Lab, Wikimedia UK is supporting smaller organisations to publish their out-of-copyright collections to Wikimedia Commons. Data aggregators using Wikimedia’s open API will identify and ingest these newly openly-licensed collections. You can see more about the partnership in this blog.

Leeds 2023

Photo of the Hibiscus Rising sculpture, a large, metal, multicolour hibiscus situated outdoors in Leeds.
Hibiscus Rising sculpture by Yinka Shonibare. LEEDS 2023. Photo credit: David Lindsay.

In 2023 Leeds ran a year of cultural activities, under the banner Leeds 2023. There were a huge number of performances, art interventions and public art work. Lucy Moore was the Wikimedian in Residence for Leeds 2023 from November to January to help release images onto Wikimedia Commons. With funding from Wikimedia UK, the copyright permissions of over 100 images were re-negotiated so they could be added to Commons. One of the achievements of the residency was an article on Hibiscus Rising, an outdoor sculpture by Yinka Shonibare. The sculpture commemorates the life and death of David Oluwale, a British-Nigerian man whose death in 1969 involved two members of Leeds City Police, which led to the first successful prosecution of British police officers for the death of a black person.

Scots Wikipedia Writing Drives

The next Scots Wiki Writing Drive (Apryle 2024 Writin Drive) takes place 15th - 21st April. We've been running these events for nearly four years, supporting the small but dedicated community over at Scots wiki, who have undertaken the challenging project of improving a minority language wiki. With many fewer editors than, Scots speakers have had to assert the legitimacy of the language both on Wikipedia and beyond it. Whereas English wiki has 40k active editors, Scots wiki has averaged just 15 over the last two years. As was highlighted on Reddit in 2020, minoritised languages like Scots can become misrepresented on Wikipedia if they are not properly stewarded by proficient speakers. Over the last four years the Scots events have edited over 4000 articles, which have been read by nearly 200k people.

University of St Andrews

In partnership with the IDEA network at the University of St Andrews Computing Science department, the Junior Honours CS class have recently presented their final projects which focus on re-use and visualisation of datasets from Wikidata. 105 students worked in five groups, for 10 hours per week between September 2023 and March 2024 – an impressive total of 23,100 hours of work. These groups were each given the freedom to pick a topic area and build a website and visualisation based upon it, with the groups variously choosing film and television, palaeontology and dinosaurs, video games, weather, and sports. Mid-project presentations were made in November, and final presentations were made in the last week of March. Programme Manager Dr Sara Thomas has supported this project, and was delighted to see the progress that the students had made at their final presentations.  It’s been a great opportunity to show the value of making data open, advocating for the use of Wikimedia in the classroom with staff, and providing an interesting and real-world-data project challenge for the students.

Join us

We’re very grateful to and proud of the network we’ve built around our chapter. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tiktok, and Mastodon. You can support the governance of the charity by becoming a member, which will allow you to vote on our board elections at the 2024 AGM on the 21st September. You can also support our projects through a donation, or volunteer on some of the projects above. Our blog has more details on some of the activities mentioned in the newsletter.