What I Know Is

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Venue, Date & Booking

  • Iris Murdoch Building, University of Stirling.
  • Wednesday 19th March 2014.
  • Venue opens 9am. Speakers: 9.30am-4.30pm.
  • Twitter #WIKIsymposium
  • Lunch provided.

This symposium is an open event, and is free to attend although advance registration is required.
For enquiries or to book a place: communications.media@stir.ac.uk

A Google doc of the booking form can be downloaded here

This event is now taken place and booking is closed.

A Research Symposium on Online Collaborative Knowledge Building

Dogma concerning the use of the Wikipedia has, for many of us working in Higher Education, tended to dictate a lukewarm and grudging acknowledgement of its existence at best; at worst, a belief that any and all uses of it ought to be expunged from academia forever. This attitude to the Wikipedia, and its umbrella organisation in the UK, Wikimedia UK, has in recent years mellowed and in some disciplinary circles it has now been appropriated as a tool for Learning and Teaching.

The gravity of this sea-change is such that Wikimedia UK has been involved with partnering influential AHRC initiatives such as the British Library’s Wikipedian-in-residence (2012) and a similar scheme has been set up at the National Library of Scotland. With two major EduWiki national conferences in the last two years, and a handful of smaller, themed events, it is now timely to reassess the Wikipedia and other online sites not only as pedagogical tools, but also as platforms where knowledge is built, shared and transformed; sites and objects for analysis, critical engagement, as well as philosophical debate.

This event takes the Wikipedia (the most popular amongst other wikis) and inquires as to its status as a platform for collaborative online knowledge-building. As such, it is but one of a number of examples where online communities of trust and participation have formed their own cultural protocols and have led to all manner of creative user generated content; the building, sharing and transformation of knowledge; and even political engagement, within a broader context of social structures of freedom, expression, agency and public-mindedness. Such broadly civic values, associated in part with stripes of Western liberal tradition, arguably have at their heart an ethical dimension which engenders (or at least, seeks to engender) a more robust digital literacy than perhaps that which has come to shape policy-making and Web ownership in the last few years.

As such, it is with pleasure that the Division of Communications, Media and Culture brings together speakers from a range of disciplines, with a range of interests, from within the School of Arts and Humanities, and from across the UK, to share their work addressing different dimensions of these knowledge-building activities. It is hoped that in engaging with and sharing the various philosophical and interdisciplinary strands of research included in the symposium’s speaker-respondent structure, we will gain some insights into the true value of these online collaborations.


  • Lorna Campbell on Open Learning (Cetis/Open Scotland/Open Knowledge Foundation)
  • Dr Zoe Drayson on Extended Cognition and Agency (University of Stirling)
  • Dr Padmini Ray Murray on the future of publishing (University of Stirling)
  • Dr Toni Sant on Collaborative Learning and Teaching (University of Hull/WMUK Academic Liaison)
  • Dr Greg Singh (University of Stirling, Symposium Chair)
  • Dr Penny Travlou on Networked Communities, Creativity and Spatiality (University of Edinburgh)
  • Professor Mike Wheeler on Extended Cognition (University of Stirling)
  • Dr Alison Crockford on Open Access (University of Edinburgh/National Library of Scotland)
  • Dr Ally Crockford (National Library of Scotland Wikimedian in Residence)


  • 9.00-9.30 Registation
  • 9.30-9.45 Welcome by Dr Greg Singh
  • 9.45-11.00 Digital Publishing and Open Access. Speaker - Dr Ally Crockfrord; Respondent - Dr Padmini Ray Murray
  • 11.00-11.15 Refreshments
  • 11.15-12.30 Extended Cognition and Agency. Speaker - Professor Mike Wheeler; Respondent - Dr Zoe Drayson
  • 12.30-13.30 Lunch
  • 13.30-1.45 Networked Communities, Commons and Open Leaning. Speaker - Dr Penny Travlou; Speaker - Lorna Campbell
  • 3.00-3.15 Refreshments
  • 3.15-4.15 Wikipedians and the Humanities. Dr Toni Sant in conversation with Dr Greg Singh

Social Media

External Links

Open Scotland
Open Knowledge Foundation Scotland
Wikimedia In Scotland 2014 blog post
Open Tech Calendar

The symposium is part of the Research Seminar Series 2013-14, Division of Communications, Media and Culture, School of Arts and Humanities, University of Stirling. It was made possible with the generous support of Wikimedia UK.

Conference Proceedings and Report


This section Conference Proceedings and Report is a fulfilment of requirements to evidence various impacts and demonstrate transparency in relation to the receipt of a Wikimedia UK Macrogrant. The discussion for that application, and its approval, can be found here [1].

The building of this report is on-going, as it will involve coverage of small follow-up projects in the wake of the Research Symposium. I welcome suggestions, comments, and ways forward from the wiki community on the discussion pages. The resulting report and its contents may end up being placed on Wiki Commons eventually.


Funding Make-up

  • Wikimedia UK Macrogrant
  • £1280
  • See discussion.
  • A facilitation grant to enable the event to be held as a free-to-attend event; an open event.
  • Objectives met.
  • Spend was under budget.
  • On-going discussions to follow-up the symposium with mini-projects to consolidate achievements.
  • Division of Communications, Media and Culture, University of Stirling
  • School of Arts and Humanities, University of Stirling

Feedback for WMUK re: Macrogrant Application

I have been asked to feedback on the process involved in acquiring the grant from WMUK which helped to facilitate this project. Generally-speaking, this is a relatively straightforward process, where the application follows a clear template, posted on the wiki on the appropriate site, and the transparency of discussion and decision-making on the grant bid is laudable and is welcomed as a positive.

In the case of the discussion for this particular project funding bid, it seemed overly long, and was commented by one of the participants as being such. Perhaps one of the issues rested with the interdisciplinary nature of the event - from delegate feedback, we can surmise a positive outcome in relation to the interdisciplinarity of the symposium, which is relatively rare for these kinds of events. Indeed, it proved a little difficult to describe with precision what this event actually was in advance of the day, because we were unsure what dialogue would emerge in the course of the delegation interaction with spekaers and in conversation with each other. One of the deciding factors was that the Uniersity itself has agreed to provide funding for the venue, and the Division of Communications had agreed to put forward some of its research funding to pay for delegate travel and accomodation.

Once the macrogrant had been approved, there was little communication between the event organiser and WMUK. Indeed, when in private conversation with the academic liaison officer of WMUK and the on-site WMUK rep at the end of the proceedings, they were both surprised when I told them that the funding had not come through to the University account in advance. To this day, I am not entirely sure what the process and flow for receiving approved funds is. I just submitted the receipts as instructed and the payment went through to the University's finance department (who deal with all transactions involving research- and event-related funding). As the event run significantly under-budget, there are still significant approved funds that in my view could be freed up to help organise future events, such as promoting editathons, facilitating student travel to WMUK-sponsored events, or supporting students in setting up a Wikipedia Society at the University of Stirling. For the record, I am open to any/all of these initiatives.

In summary, the application process was a positive experience, although in terms of flows for approved funding, this could be made more clear.

Follow-Up Projects

Following from the event Ally Crockford, one of the speakers, was in contact with the Scottish Government regarding work with Wikimedia in Scottish schools - one of the proposed outcomes from that contact is the organisation of a Wiki training session for pupils involved in the Digital Leaders programme (programme involves school pupils training teachers in tech-related fields). As of Spring 2014, in discussion.

Directly following the Symposium, Dr Greg Singh was invited to give a short presentation on the event and some of its implications in his research on digital literacy at the Glasgow Open Knowledge Foundation Meet-up on the 31st March 2014.

Dr Greg Singh has also been invited to present on some of the issues associated with the positions and approaches offered at the Symposium, at Eduwiki 2014, in Edinburgh in November.


A brief critical review of the presentations to follow, here.


A number of audio recordings of the symposium's proceedings were made. These were recorded and edited with generous support from Sara Gardner at the University of Stirling's Scottish Cultural Memory Project.

All recordings were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons with kind permission of the speakers.

Links to these recordings (in .ogg file format) may be found to the right --->

Click on the menu button on the thumbs and followthe link to download the file for playing. You will need to install the appropriate media player (such as VLC, which is a gratis downloadable player) on your machine in order to listen to the recording.

Wiki Symposium Stirling Dr Alison Crockford
Wki Symposium Striling Dr Padmini Ray Murray
Wiki Syposium Stirling Prof Michael Wheeler
Wiki Symposium Stirling Dr Zoe Drayson then Q A 2
Wiki Symposium Stirling Dr Padmini Ray Murray 2
Wiki Symposium Stirling Dr Penny Travlou then Q A
Wiki Symposium Stirling Lorna Campbell
Wiki Symposium Stirling Dr Toni Sant in conversation with Dr Greg Singh closing

Stills Gallery

Delegate Feedback

A number of delegates were kind enough to offer feedback on the Symposium. These comments were overwhelmingly positive, and there were several contributions made towards constructive ways in which the event could be improved upon in any follow-up event in future.

In response to the question 'What were the most positive aspects of the event for you?', delegates responded on the networking opportunities with a wider community interested in Open Education, as well as the opportunity to network with colleagues across different aspects of the digital humanities. One delegate commented on the opoortunity to discuss a wide range of perspectives on the issues of open access digital scholarship within the academic and cultural sectors. Other delegates responded positively to the well-organised nature of the event and in particular, its diversity - the variety of dlegated and speakers from a number of sector and disciplinary backgrounds was seen as a real positive. One delegate commented upon the uniqueness of participation of philosophy experts, something not often facilitated in discussions on wiki-related themes, and on the usefulness of this different approach for research. Indeed, a number of delegates seemed to enjoy the wide range of topics and the variety of speakers in different disciplines and subjects, while others commented upon the nice venue and friendly welcoming atmosphere during the event.

In terms of improving the event, delegate tended to respond positively, commenting that the advertising for the event could have been more widely circulated. Others commented on the lack of wifi provision in the building (currently undergoing a campus-wide refurbishment of communications infrastructure), with one delegate commenting that 'an event based around technology and building online contents needs connectivity'. However, one delegate did mention that it was 'nice to be in a quiet spot for just a while' particularly in the context of the sort of event whose theme is often treated in an overtly 'techie' way.

The delegation featured a number of postgraduate and undergraduate students from the University of Stirling's School of Arts and Humanities, and the Stirling Management School. This made a positive impact on the atmosphere and critical make-up of the attendance. One delegate's feedback included the comment that they would like to see 'more integration for postgraduate students, and that can be through inserting workshops to enhance awareness about wikipmedia and collaboration, because they are the future researchers.' This is something that ought to be taken forward and is an issue I address in the section on Follow-up Projects (see above). In addition, a number of delegates mentioned that in future events they would like to have more workshop-style sessions, and 'more live debates on this emerging area'.

In relation to the range of formats for presentations, again delegates tended to respond favourably. Usefully, one delegate described the range as reasonable, but less 'chalk and talk' and more tutorial, round table discussions would be useful in future events, with the possible addition of an unconference element to help build communities and dialogue.

The responses to the speculative question 'What kind of events would you like to see Wikimedia UK run in the future?' were illuminating, and extremely useful in thinking about how best to take forward future event organisation in partnership between WMUK and the academy. It is useful to quote one or two of these in full here:

'In addition to the usual edit-a-thons, workshops, backstage passes, and conferences I would love to see WMUK host more of these conceptual symposiums. However, I also think that there would be significant value to running discussion-driven round-table style forums, with less of an emphasis on presentations or talks, and more on open discussion on issues and possibilities faced by Wikimedia in the UK.'
'Collaboration and Wikimedia in (non-western context and non-English speaking context).'
' A mix: clearly this kind of academic forum has its place, but this has to go hand in hand with other things too. So the presence of hackathons and editathons to engage other groups is good. Perhaps we should be looking at more direct engagement with schools and teachers (especially in the secondary sector) to make those groups more aware of the issues we were discussing.'
'Student oriented how to use/contribute to wikimedia workshops.'

One delegate described the closing conversation session as 'a great session, both very engaging and humorous speakers, entertaining for the last hour of the day. Made me think outside the box' which was a real positive for such an innovative addition at the end of a challenging day of talks.

Presenters’ Biographical Notes

Lorna M. Campbell is an Assistant Director of Cetis, the Centre for Education, Technology and Interoperability Standards. She has over fifteen years’ experience working in education technology and interoperability standards and has been actively involved in the open education community since 2009. Lorna is currently involved in a number of projects including the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative with Creative Commons, and Open Scotland, a collaborative cross sector initiative that aims to raise awareness of open education policy and practice in Scotland. Lorna is one of the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Community Coordinators in Scotland and she blogs regularly about all aspect of open education practice.

Dr Alison Crockford took up the post of Wikimedian in Residence at the National Library of Scotland in July 2013, the first programme of its kind in Scotland and part of an attempt to lay the groundwork for a more open access policy at the NLS. She organises internal training events for NLS staff while also building a stronger community of Scottish Wikimedians. In addition to her role at the NLS, Ally is also currently the inaugural Susan Manning Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in Edinburgh, where is creating an open-access online resource about Medicine in Literature as part of a project on ‘Digital Articulations.’

Dr Zoe Drayson is an Impact Research Fellow in the philosophy department at the University of Stirling. Before coming to Stirling, she had a postdoctoral position at the Australian National University. Her research interests lie at the intersection of philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience, and focused particularly on the different kinds of explanations used in these various fields.

Dr Padmini Ray Murray lectures in publishing and digital media at the University of Stirling. She has published articles on the impact of technology on the publishing industry, especially comics, and is currently working on cultural specificity in videogames, following an AHRC funded fellowship in India. She is the most recent Trustee to be co-opted to the Wikimedia UK board, and is seeking to bring Wikipedia into closer working relationships with HEIs, an issue which has strong bearing on issues such as open access and the knowledge economy which are currently affecting the wider academic environment.

Dr Toni Sant is Director of Research at the University of Hull’s School of Arts and New Media, in Scarborough, where he also leads the Media and Memory Research Initiative. He coordinates education activities for Wikimedia UK and provides consultancy on Digital Curation & Innovation for the Routledge Performance Archive. Toni is also the author of the books Franklin Furnace & the Spirit of the Avant Garde: A History of the Future (Intellect, 2011) and Remembering Rediffusion in Malta (Midsea Books, 2015 - forthcoming).

Dr Greg Singh is Lecturer in Media and Communications at the University of Stirling, and has a particular remit to develop digital and social media subject areas in the Division of Communications, Media and Culture. He has published on a number of subjects, including US indie film, reality TV, Web psychology, kitsch, and gamestudies, and is author of Film After Jung: post-Jungian approaches to film theory (Routledge, 2009) and Feeling Film: Affect and Authenticity in Popular Cinema (Routledge, 2014). Some of his students complete a Wikibook as part of their coursework assignments, and Greg is keen on fostering digital literacy, specifically as ethical and civic activities in educational projects – the Wikibook and the Wiki Symposium form part of this on-going innovation. He is currently working on a monograph relating to affordance and psychosocial aspects of the Web.

Dr Penny Travlou is a Lecturer in Cultural Geography and Theory at the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of Edinburgh. Her research is inter-disciplinary with a particular focus on theories of space and place and their implementation in transdisciplinary research. She was Co-I at the EU-funded (HERA JRP) project, “Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice” (ELMCIP) and Principal Investigator at the project “Creation and Publication of the Digital Manual” funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK looking at authority, authorship and voice in the co-creation of open source publications.

Prof Michael Wheeler is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Stirling. His primary research interests are in philosophy of science (especially cognitive science, psychology, biology, artificial intelligence and artificial life) and philosophy of mind. His book, Reconstructing the Cognitive World: the Next Step, was published by MIT Press in 2005. He is currently finishing off a new book, provisionally called Thinking without the Box: the Case for Extended Cognition.


Wikimedia UK for their generous sponsoring of this Symposium. Sara Gardner at the Scottish Cultural Memory Project, University of Stirling. The School of Arts and Humanities, University of Stirling. The Division of Comunications, Media and Culture, University of Stirling.