Project grants/Photographs covering African cultural events in London

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Basic information

Project details

Full project name

Photographs covering African cultural events in London

Project start/end dates (include month, day, and year)

July 22-24, 2016

Please describe the project in 1–2 sentences

There is a need for more high-quality photography for use on Wikipedia and by other Wikimedia projects, and also for the availability of the general public. Identifying areas with a lack of available professional imagery, and then creating that photography, is the primary motivation behind such projects. In this instance, events were identified in London at which photography could be created.

Amount requested


Project lead details

Are you an individual or an organisation?


Are you currently a member of Wikimedia UK?


Project lead name

Katy Blackwood

Project lead username or email

Katy Blackwood

Project lead title (position), if any


Impact and benefits

How will this project support Wikimedia UK's Outcomes, charitable objects and vision, values and mission?

Attending this event allows for the creation of high-quality content, as aforementioned, and contributes to the improvement of the quality of open knowledge. The previous project in which I was involved, at Pride in London, has yielded not only a plenitude of multimedia that is now used on Wikipedia (both English and otherwise), but also media that has been used by blogs, activists, a mental health organisation and the Pride in London organisers themselves. This significant impact demonstrates that creating such photography is beneficial.

As a whole, photography on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects use poor-quality imagery, either due to problems with technical composition or equipment. Many images work only as thumbnails, but are poor in a large size, making them inadequate for printing and, in the long-term, low in quality even for in-article use as retina displays become the norm. Lead images in the Wikipedia app, for example, often render poorly if the original photograph is of a below-average quality.

Improving such photography, and covering new content areas, works to "increase the quality and quantity of coverage on Wikimedia" in line with the latest strategic goals. The result is open knowledge that can be used, adapted and viewed in more formats, including in print,. Even areas that may not meet the strategic goals around diversity benefit from projects that improve the quality of content on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects as a whole.

As a final note, the strategic framework refers to a desire to "diversify content producers ... actively encouraging women and other groups to participate". As a female photographer, the availability of funding allows me to assist in ways that I may not otherwise be able to, and allows me to increase - albeit only by one - the number of female contributors to these projects.

Budget and resources

The funding is for travel expenses for Katy Blackwood, incorporating a return train journey from Sheffield to London St Pancras, and tube journeys from Friday 22 until Sunday 24 July.
Non-financial assistance requested





The project took place over the weekend of Friday July 22 to Sunday July 24, 2016. Katy Blackwood and John Lubbock produced photography at a number of events, including the African Street Style Festival for which the funding was granted in the days previous. Photographs were also produced at a pro-EU march, a Pokémon Go event (at the height of the popularity of the game), and a museum. All four events were photographed by John, while Katy contributed primarily to the African Street Style event, in line with the objectives for this project.

The project yielded an improvement in the availability of photography covering African fashions and culture on the Commons, which can be adapted for use on Wikipedia and other projects as needed. It also improved the availability of photography on current events, focusing on both a cultural phenomenon and a major political issue. This is a perhaps underrated part of such projects, as Wikipedia often lacks high-quality photography from major events, and these photographs are incredibly valuable in capturing the zeitgeist of July 2016 in London.

The project fell short in some areas. The African Street Style Festival was smaller than expected, with far less photography opportunities than hoped, and this was disappointing. We had expected more stalls and opportunities to photograph people, but much of the focus was on photo calls for fashion with many photographers present, and the sparse crowds were not particularly good to photograph either. Clearly, more research may be needed for future projects to ensure that major events are targeted that justify the funding granted, although being able to combine three events did make the project an overall success, even if only one was the subject of the grant.

We are keen to continue to work on projects. For Katy, this is in her area of expertise - accredited media photography and photojournalism - including music, sport, entertainment and other events where an official pass is available. Her professional background in this area is her strength and may allow for both the improvement of existing content and creating of new content in line with the strategic goals. Suggestions of potential events to attend are welcome.

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