UK Wikimedian of the Year 2020

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We'll soon be taking in nominations for Wikimedian and Partner of the Year for 2020!

The UK Wikimedian of the Year Awards recognise the work of community members and partner organisations in sharing open knowledge. We have held them every year since 2012, and this year's winners will be announced at our Annual General Meeting in July.

Nominating someone is a great opportunity to celebrate an individual who's made a significant impact to the Wikimedia projects over the past year. We also celebrate the organisations we've partnered or worked with in 2019/20 who have gone the extra mile with the Partner of Year award. We will be taking nominations for the two awards via Google Forms.

If you'd like more information, please contact Richard Nevell at

For some inspiration from nominations which have stood out before, you can see 2019's winners here.

2020 UK Wikimedian of the Year[edit | edit source]

Caroline Ball

Caroline has been a tireless champion of the use of Wikipedia within the higher education sector, working to change the perception of Wikipedia as an unreliable resource to one with real value for students, both as a resource and as a tool for developing their academic skills. She designed and taught an entire module for an undergraduate Publishing programme (a rare opportunity for a librarian!), structured entirely around editing and writing Wikipedia articles, which resulted in the students creating 6 new articles, edited 124 more and adding over 50,000 words to Wikipedia. This module has been featured in the Wikimedia in Education brochure and written up as a journal article in the Journal of Information Literacy. On the back of this she has supported academic colleagues within her own institution to incorporate Wikipedia into their own teaching, within science communications, education and healthcare programmes. She has also written a book chapter on how Wikipedia can be used to teach issues of systemic bias and symbolic annihilation, been published in the Times Higher Education on the use of Wikipedia for teaching, and has presented at four national conferences on the pedagogic value of Wikipedia as a teaching and learning tool.

Honourable Mention - Ian Watt

Ian became an accredited Wikimedia UK trainer in November 2019, having become increasingly engaged with the Wikimedia Projects, particularly Wikidata. Ian has worked in and been a key open knowledge advocate in Scotland for many years, and most recently co-founded (and held the unsalaried CEO position at) the charity and civic hacking initiative Code The City in Aberdeen. He has been active in recording Scotland's COVID-19 data as open data. Ian's outreach and engagement activities have helped Wikimedia UK make inroads into GLAM partnerships and volunteer support in the North of Scotland, hosting a number of events - both in person, and now online - to improve open data around Aberdeen's history and heritage, helping to develop a Wiki-literate open knowledge community in the city. Ian's enthusiasm, friendliness and energy make him a great advocate, and his dedication to documenting his work in clear and accessible language make it easy for others to learn and replicate his on-wiki work.

2020 Partnership of the Year[edit | edit source]

National Library of Scotland

Over 2019-20 the National Library of Scotland (a previous host of two Wikimedians in Residence) has continued to grow and develop. In late 2019, Gill Hamilton arranged a series of meetings and events under the banner "Culture to Commons", with the aim of exploring how the Library might better engage with Wikidata and Wikimedia Commons. These have led to renewed interest within the Library in the Wikimedia projects. As the COVID-19 situation developed into lockdown, Gavin Willshaw took the opportunity to engage Library staff with Wikisource, uploading and transcribing the Scottish Chapbook collection to WikiCommons / WikiSource, as an activity that in which staff could engage whilst working from home. This imaginative approach has resulted in possibly the largest ever partner staff group engaging with Wikimedia (around 70 people, all in). Not only have they contributed a huge amount of material to WS (2698 pamphlets uploaded, of which 724 transcluded, and counting), but will be re-importing that material back into the Library's own collection, showing very clearly the benefit to partners of engaging with a Wikimedia project less often spotlighted. They have engaged well with the WS community, and have been able to offer feedback on WS processes. Their WS project page can be found here:

Honourable Mention - University of Edinburgh

The University has been trailblazing incorporating Wikimedia in teaching and learning since 2015, advocating for other UK institutions to follow suit esp. among the Russell Group universities through evidencing the benefits in published research and the published outputs of the Wikimedia residency based in its Information Services directorate. This has resulted in an expanding portfolio of work with over a dozen course programmes in all three teaching colleges, hosting three Wikimedia student internships, surfacing research datasets as linked open data in Wikidata, and now the first ever UK booklet of Case Studies of Wikimedia in Education published in April 2020.

2020 Up and Coming Wikimedian (jointly awarded)[edit | edit source]

Emma Carroll

Emma Carroll, the first Wikidata 'Witchfinder general' student intern, accomplished an enormous body of work to complete the Wikidata Map of Accused Witches in Scotland over a 12 week period from June to September. This extraordinary achievement was down to her assiduousness and dedication to helping surface the stories of these accused witches from the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft's Microsoft Access database so people around the world could learn all about this little understood period of history... and the lives behind the data.

More than anyone she has accomplished so much in demonstrating what is possible in terms of working with Wikidata and taking a much loved but static research dataset and opening it up for further research and inquiry through sharing it to Wikidata and the linked open data cloud. The variety of visualisations she created, the ease of use of the site and the success of this project in general in opening up this data to new audiences has meant that the site has received attention from local, national and international news and inspired new collaborations such as the Mapping the Scottish Reformation Project who were directly inspired by Emma's work and made use of the OpenRefine tutorial she created in order to do this work. This video tutorial was acclaimed at the last WikidataCon event as the single best explanation of how OpenRefine can help process and reconcile data into Wikidata. Emma documented her process thoroughly, blogging her experience every week so others could learn how to do what she did and thereby make life easier for anyone following in her wake. She continues to speak and enthuse about the Witches project whenever she can, most recently in the Science Museum Group webinar on Wikidata and Cultural Heritage Collections on 18 June 2020.

It is in no small part thanks to Emma that the witchhunts of Scotland are back in the national conversation once more with discussions taking place on how best to memorialise what happened to the accused witches in Scotland so that this dark period of history is remembered.

Laura Wood Rose

Laura Rose Wood has been involved in multiple Wikimedia projects over the last year: designing artwork, promoting and helping run the Celebration of Open Source event at the University of Edinburgh last September and worked tirelessly to support diversity on Wikipedia, both in terms of supporting new editors and helping run editathons to improve the diversity of content on Wikipedia. As the world's first Wikimedia Women in Red intern, she has learnt how to deliver training online and in-person through a time of extraordinary upheaval and never been less than fully committed, and enthusiastic about democratising access to knowledge. She scrupulously researched worklists on notable Women in Sport, Women of Scotland, Women of the NHS and Healthcare, Edinburgh Pride and more with great attention to detail and passion for the topics. She has also developed a resource to make it easier for anyone else looking to participate and run Women in Red editathons or similar. You can read more about Laura's work in her blog post reflecting on her internship.