WikiConference UK 2012/Elections/Statements

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AGM: Elections (Candidate statements · Candidate questions)ResolutionsMinutes
Miscellaneous: 2012 Annual ReportUK Wikimedian of the Year 2012Community reflections

This page contains the statements of the candidates for the board of Wikimedia UK. Please submit questions for the candidates on the WikiConference UK 2012/Elections/Questions.


Each candidate's date of birth, occupation, former names and UK company directorships in the last five years is kept on file and will be made public only if they are elected.

Alison Fayers-Kerr

My agnatic grandmother was Ellen Murgatroyd Fayers-Kerr. A surname salvaged from obscurity the first time my father disowned me for non-conformity in the marriage game; passed on to my daughters in scenes worthy of Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia!.....In this Diamond Jubilee year they'll be scrabbling to open their laptops in search of cognatic or agnatic, if I have my way, especially if a Royal Heir is expected any time soon.

Wikipedia is not without flaws but is so inexorably unique and vital that I am definitely up for grabs in promoting the organisation which underpins the financial stability and future of its independent growth: Wikimedia UK.

The people and institutions in Britain should yearn to contribute and donate as we all gain and would all lose equally if any part of Wiki were undermined. It's the best we've got and the directors piloting Wikimedia and reaching out to enable the public to preserve this fountain of knowledge, have a mission worth fighting for.

Universal Pictures just off Hyde Park is where I first worked and where I lured in a penniless Mark Knopfler to make his first soundtrack; my boss turned him down, how dire and how foolish! My chance to go barefoot around the world, so off I went. I've been on the board since, opposite Brown's Hotel: dealing, with Sudan, Libya and Saudia Arabia (although they wouldn't let me in) exporting heavy plant, generators and high pressure steam valves. Not a likely beginning for a second-rate Hispanic scholar...which reminds me, I whopped the current President of Columbia, Juan Manuel Santos, at chess in Half Moon Street, and did likewise to Osama Daoud but in Khartoum. Nowadays I teach, I farm and hobnob with fusion physicists in Oxford! Heavens to Murgatroyd!

Ashley van Haeften

My 2011 top priority: become a charity. We did it! Now, a *sample* of everything else and the coming year...

My experience in governance and management has helped our organizational development. I interviewed 3 of our new permanent staff and led on governance from implications of our charity application to board functions and handling declarations of interest. I pressed for PQASSO (quality standard) and this has defined a path for improvement.

I had the privilege of negotiating the founding of our Association with 25 other chapters. With the Funds Dissemination Committee, this will be a means of establishing best practice and accountability while staying movement-driven, not Foundation-led. I would like Wikimedia UK to stay in the heart of these changes to help in establishing good governance globally regardless of national boundaries.

I helped the British Library to create a Wikimedia in Residence position, they also committed to hosting the global GLAMwiki2012 conference. Establishing the UK GLAM network has delivered a range of events, from the British Museum's Ice Age behind the scenes to The National Archive releasing new photographs of (sometimes shocking) British propaganda artworks from the Second World War. GLAMwiki2012 will be the culmination of several projects and in the position of trustee I would continue the style of collaborative "soft" leadership that is most effective for our diverse and creative community.

We can do more to engage with diverse groups. Steve and Martin have progressed with GirlGeeks and I have pushed for a black history month event and jointly founded the LGBT Outreach Project, that we hope to make part of Wikimania. As a mixed race and gay member of the board, I naturally bring alternative perspectives into our discussions.

Other stuff! GLAMsterdam, GLAM upload tool, trustee training, Parliament, the V&A and India, Scotland!; see more at

Christopher Allen

Let me first introduce myself. My name is Christopher Allen, 51, accountant for the last 25 years or so dealing with corporate accountancy & taxation, company formation, Companies House matters and a little offshore company and charity accounts work/filing at the Charities Commission, all as a one man band.

I was very impressed by the ability to obtain charity status and the resultant significant increase in income for the chapter and feel that this must be carefully managed to best advantage of the aims of these ideals which I believe are very close to those present at the birth of the internet. I would be honoured to be a part of this. I believe that the mechanisms that have given rise to this increase in funds should be sought with great endeavour as this “federation” of interconnected chapters may well be the basis for our future world, with the existing money driven one struggling.

Unfortunately, I cannot say that I have contributed any articles or served the chapter previously in any capacity but I do believe in getting things done that make a real difference so hope you can forgive me and provide me with the opportunity to serve.

I notice that there has not been many/any ladies on the board and feel we need to correct this to obtain balance, but will not expound further upon this. Equally, we need to persuade China to come into the fold as it is significant by its absence.

Those 300 words come up fast!

Vote for me and I will not let you down but cherish the responsibility.

Christopher Keating

It's been an immense task, and an immense privilege, to be on the Board over the past year. Wikimedia UK has achieved a huge amount, but there is much more to be done, and I woudl love to continue as a Trustee.

When I stood for election last year, I said my main role as a director would be to make sure Wikimedia UK connects with its members and the community, and that every voluntary organisation depends on its ability to inspire people to take part. I've done my best to push this forward this year (and looking at the blog and the mailing list archives I think made progress). But doing this becomes even more important as we professionalise and recruit more staff.

I've spent my career to date working in organisations that depend on volunteers taking action, and over the last year I've been surprised by the number of times I've seen situations I've experienced from those organisations recur in the Wikimedia movement, particularly in the discussions we've had with the Wikimedia Foundation and other chapters.

Professionally, I am a fundraiser, and am very proud of my role in raising £1 million in the 2011 Wikimedia fundraiser. I'm keen to help shape our fundraising strategy for the future, and hope to continue my role as fundraising advocate on the Board.

On Wikipedia, I'm User:The Land - I've written or contributed substantially to four featured articles, and have been an adminsitrator since 2006. Nonetheless, I hope that this year members will elect some people to the Board who share our vision and bring useful skills and perspectives, even if they don't edit that much - it would be great to have a broader range of skills and experience on the Board.

Doug Taylor

I am Doug Taylor, and I've been an editor for over four years. I've written featured content (both article and list) and have an interest in accessibility where I've collaborated in making technical improvements to Wikipedia.

I taught in 11-18 schools for 25 years, before starting an IT career 15 years ago, where I have taught FE and HE as well as adults. I have been a member of examining boards for 30 years, including 6 years as Chair of The West Midlands Examination Board, a registered charity. I am currently Vice-Chair of the OCR committee that deals with malpractice. For the last 10 years I have been Chair of the board of Job Change, a registered charity dedicated to helping unemployed back into work.

As a hobby, I am a scuba diver, and have been a National Instructor for the last 20 years, with a particular interest in training scuba instructors.

Over the years, I've served on many committees in different roles. Examples include: Secretary of a local teacher's trades union; Treasurer of my local constituency party; Regional Organiser and member of National Executive for the Socialist Educational Association; Chair of Governors of both primary and secondary schools.

Since my wife died seven years ago, I have given up many of these activities to bring up my children, but now that they are grown and I am close to retirement, I would be willing to devote some of my time and skills to helping Wikimedia UK in whatever way I can. In the last year, I've been able to participate in outreach events in Liverpool, Manchester, Monmouth, Coventry and London and would like to help Martin develop a team to expand outreach in the future.

Gary Hayes

Dear Members,

As an early adopter of the internet 1976 and believer in the freedom of the internet with protection for the vulnerable. I value the freedoms it has brought both to our minds and to our awareness of the needs and situations of others is a marker for our future survivial.

Wikipedia is a universal, accessible, free education unequalled in the world today and the contribution from everyone who reads and uses it and those who give to improve the content and the value are indispensible.

Answers that appear on Wikipedia which are necessary for the general learning of a population(and teachers, professors...)which promotes responsibility, growth of wisdom and learning over exploitation, crime and greed.

Who wouldn't prefer intelligent proactive, learning and conversation in a safe environment?

John Byrne

I'm User:Johnbod with 100,000 edits on English Wikipedia since 2006, and 18,000 on Commons, writing mostly on art history (see my user page). I have ten FAs and 189 DYKs, & have presented to various groups and parties, and organized GLAM events and training sessions.

Last year the Board gave Steve Virgin and I the job of finding new lawyers and progressing the application for Registered Charity status, the top priority of the membership at the last AGM. We did this in four months, despite the summer holidays. I am now assisting with the Treasurer role.

Outside Wikipedia I am a qualified (ICSA) Company Secretary, who has worked mostly in reference publishing; I was Company Secretary of the Marshall Cavendish Group, and a Trustee of its Pension Fund. I've set up new subsidiaries which experienced the kind of explosive growth in activity that Wikimedia UK now faces, and have experience of a broad range of management issues. I am married with four children and live just outside London.

WMUK still faces a period of change and growth, putting the funds that are now available to good use. The function of the Board is still changing to a much more supervisory one than at present.

I am mainly a content writer, very conscious of the urgency of expanding our base of editors. I believe this should be our main focus for WMUK activities, moving beyond GLAM to reach other kinds of organizations and groups in new ways. We also need to expand chapter membership and involvement, while accepting that many very active UK Wikipedians prefer only to engage online. I know all the current board and several of the other candidates and I believe I can work well as a member of the new board.

Joscelyn Upendran

My name is Joscelyn Upendran.

I am a lawyer and educator and run a technology business. I am passionately committed to raising awareness and engagement about open knowledge and content.

I am the Public Project Lead for Creative Commons UK (CCUK) which role involves liaising with the public and organisations to help them understand Creative Commons (CC) licences and consider its appropriateness for their needs. This has involved me working with all sorts of people and organisations from government departments to charities to individual artists. I often give talks on CC to different organisations and networks. I also manage the CCUK website: and Twitter feed, as well as email enquiries from the public.

The aims of CCUK and Wikimedia UK often overlap and it would be beneficial to work more closely together. For obvious reasons Wikipedia always features in my talks on CC.

Working as part of the CCUK team, I have experience of working within the legal and other obligations and duties to the 'mother organisation’ which would be similar to Wikimedia UK's relationship with the Wikimedia Foundation. Running my own company and having worked as a commercial lawyer and having taught commercial law for several years, would all help me in the fulfilment of the legal obligations of being a Board Member, if I were to be elected.

The progress that Wikimedia UK has made thus far is very impressive. I first became involved with Wikimedia UK when I spoke about CC at the GLAMWIKI event that took place at the end of 2010 at the British Museum. I am looking forward to speaking at the AGM in May.

I congratulate the current board on all their achievements and would be honoured to have the opportunity to help shape the next successful phase of Wikimedia UK.

Joseph Seddon


Junior Campbell

No statement received.

Katie Chan

Previously, I served as Chair of the Board from our founding in 2008 until the first AGM, when I decided to step back from involvement due to personal circumstances. Now that I am able to devote my time to the community again, I would welcome the opportunity to contribute to the continuing success of the Chapter.

As Chair, I coordinated the first Board effort to form the new Chapter after the previous unsuccessful incarnation. Before that, I had served as a member of the Foundation 2008 Board of Trustees election committee. Outside of Wikimedia, I had previously been a trustee of Edinburgh University Students' Association along with extensive involvement with a number of other non-profit organisations. Occupationally, I am currently a trainee accountant and part time student.

Over this last year, the Chapter has finally achieved its long held aspiration of registered charitable status, taken extensive steps towards professionalisation with the employment of four full time staff and the opening of the office. Having achieved these milestones, it is important that while maintaining our rapid growth, we are able to overcome any associated challenges that might prevent us from delivering our mission.

Over the coming year, we need to continue expanding our cultural partnership to not just a wider selection of institutions, but also in terms of geographical diversity with institutions in northern England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Beyond the cultural sector, much works still to need to be done with schools, colleges and universities in overcoming some deeply held misconceptions by teachers and academics. On a more personal level, we need to aim for increase participation from under-represented groups and communities, and the continuing support of any innovative ideas and initiatives members of the community may have both in terms of funding and expertise.

Michael Peel

This last year has been fantastic for Wikimedia UK. We've gone from being a fledgling organisation, to having paid staff and an office, to being a fully professional and reliable organisation, to running major projects and supporting a large number of community-led projects.

Given these successes and the capacity and possibilities that now exist as a result, ensuring that the chapter stays on track and continues rapidly developing over the next year is even more important. We need to ensure that we continue to have volunteers in the driving seat, supported by its staff members, which are overseen and given strategic direction by the WMUK board (a distinct change from its role until now). We need to continue doing great GLAM initiatives, and simultaneously focus more on education and technology activities and outreach.

In terms of my background, I'm a founding trustee of Wikimedia UK, having served as Membership Secretary, Chair, and currently as Secretary. My involvement has included organising outreach and community events; talking to the media and partner organisations; administrating the WMUK websites (including parts of the fundraiser website); setting up the Grants process; and much more. I have represented the chapter at three Chapters Meetings, a Finance meeting, a Wikimania, and at other meetings both Wikimedia and non-Wikimedia-focused. I have also been responsible for budget lines, participating in staff recruitment and policy work.

I have been active on Wikipedia for over 7 years (my first edit was in March 2005), and I have made over 30,000 edits to the Wikimedia wikis (primarily Wikipedia, Commons, Wikisource, Meta and the WMUK wiki), including uploading over 1,800 images of my own creation to Commons. In real life, I'm employed as a postdoctoral researcher at the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics (part of the University of Manchester).

Roger Bamkin

Well I've had a brilliant, exhausting, year and WMUK have done "quite well" :-) I've had the honour to be chair in a year when we became a £1m charity and we convinced our critics that we were a serious organisation - when we saw jokes about Wikipedia disappear from conversation. You took down Wikipedia for a day and the press didn't say, "no more misleading facts" but "how will we work?" I started my term working as a teacher and an unpaid Wikipedian in Residence to Derby Museums. I'm still a part-time consultant and teacher but I am now getting paid for some of the work for Monmouth and Nottingham Museums, a Library, shops ... well a whole town. Whilst this happened we had 1,200 articles crowd sourced for Derby museum and we saw Terence Eden and I launch QRpedia and see it go on to dozens of places but notably Russia, Bulgaria, the USA, Estonia and Spain. I was thrilled that the CEO of the UK National Archives gave Wikimedia a VIP tour where we saw a QRpedia code by the Domesday Book. Visitors could access our Domesday article in dozens of languages. I've been an advocate for Wikimedia in six countries. Next year I do plan to be a normal trustee. I intend to lead and support projects and continue to declare conflicts of interest. What may not be clear is that the board still has to adapt to be a board of trustees and to create other structures to recreate the jobs that previous boards achieved. We need to beware thinking that other chapters have more money, more employees or better offices. We do need to have best board you can choose as those are not our mission.

Roger Siswick

No statement received.

Roshana Gammampila

I am a frequent user of Wikipedia and am passionate about your mandate. I am committed to the betterment of society and see the dissemination of free and accessible information as invaluable.

Having spent 6 years working in charity fundraising and legal compliance at Save the Children (managing £20 million income), I joined the FreshMinds Group last year. In doing so I have (at least in terms of my day job) left the charitable sector and I am keen to continue my contribution by joining Wikimedia. As Operations Business Partner at FreshMinds, I lead on strategy and planning, change management and legal compliance for the companies within the Group, which includes social media consultancy, FreshNetworks. I feel that my work in this context means that, in addition to substantial experience of fundraising and charity management, I bring an understanding of the media space in which you operate.

Separate to my day job, I have been Finance Director of the Institute of Legacy Management since January 2010. As such I have played a key part in the management and governance of this not-for-profit organisation. Having been on the Board that steered this organisation through challenging times and that has delivered a platform for sustainable growth I believe I could make a substantial contribution as a Wikimedia Board Member. I will be stepping down from ILM this May and would be delighted to apply my energies to Wikimedia instead. Finally, I confess that although I use Wikipedia several times a day, I have never made a contribution to its content. While making this application I feel quite embarrassed about this, but I would suggest that in this respect I am representative of the majority of users and that I therefore have an understanding of the audience that Wikimedia needs to engage further.

Saad Choudri

My name is Saad Choudri and I am a practising Solicitor working in the video games industry.

I am new to many of you as I am not an active Wikimedian. I attended a Wikimedia UK board meeting in February and I was taken aback by the hard work and dedication it has taken to grow Wikimedia UK. Therefore it is an immense honour to be invited to stand for election by the existing board who believe I can bring value to the organisation.

We face challenges; US lawmakers do not understand SOPA and PIPA. Even the lobbyists pushing for the legislation do not really understand it. The proposed legislation caused protests and many took a stand; the Wikimedia Foundation led the charge. It is dangerous to legislate when the issues have not been properly understood.

The UK and Europe face similar issues. In the DEA and ACTA we already have two laws that have been passed by our government without the proper oversight. These issues are not just about intellectual property but privacy, data protection and civil liberties. There is a need for academic thought and debate but to demand the proper oversight we will need a practical understanding to help establish a pragmatic position. I trust as a current practising solicitor in the right areas of law I can provide Wikimedia UK with not only a voice but also the tools to be heard.

If elected I have plans to set up a pro bono legal advisory board to help with the expansion of Wikimedia UK. I will recruit student members to the advisory board, which I hope will help to expand Wikimedia’s current education programme. I have strong links with the British Museum and Tate that will solidify our current relationships and help with future GLAM events.

Steve Virgin


Trustee since April 2009. I also run a small media monitoring and analysis business.

My Board view

Leading the professionalization of the chapter is coming to an end, now we must become a 100% strategic Board building a strong future for WMUK. With rapid growth and change for the UK chapter, the next year will see WMUK become a well-respected international leader within the wider movement. I can play a part.

My priorities for next year
  • Increasing public awareness of our projects through clearer communications
  • Encouraging members to take charge of their own successful events
  • Building upon engagement with museums/archives that generate interest and goodwill
  • Strengthening connections with the educational world, (universities/research sectors)
  • Delivering large UK focussed projects to improve engagement/diversity of content
  • Attracting more people to edit Wikipedia and its sister projects
Recent successes
  • Secured charitable status (an initiative that I led on behalf of the Board).
  • Leading discussions with Science Museum - Wikipedian-In-Residency collaboration.
  • Leading Bristol Wikipedians behind bid to host Wikimania 2013 in the city.
Last year’s achievements
  • Co-organised three Wikipedia Training Academies in Bristol
  • Organised two Bristol In-Residency pilots: at the University of Bristol and ARKIVE
  • Established strong links with the Girl Geeks Network, (spread to other UK cities)
  • Spoke at TEDx Bristol - ‘QR Coding, Museums + Wikipedia’ - from which the seeds of Monmouthpedia began to grow
  • Organising comms strategy for launch of Monmouthpedia: ‘World’s first Wikipedia Town’ scheduled for May 19th
  • Started dialogue with the PR industry with a view to finding community-driven solutions that might begin to kill off unethical editing of Wikipedia by the PR industry

Thomas Nicols

My name is Tom Nicols, I am 59 years old and am the director of a small company that manufactures scientific instruments. I qualified many years ago with a City and Guild qualification in switching principles and propagation theory. I spent the first fifteen years of my working life employed overseas, predominantly in Africa in the Geophysics industry. I am by practice a well qualified specialist in Geophysics and am now frequently employed in lecturing around the world on this subject. Whilst I was very happy in my work overseas I did; in this pre-internet era, very much miss the opportunity to readily read and absorb information on my chosen specialty. I believe that if I could have then accessed the wealth of information that is now available on the internet in general and in a qualitative manner from Wikipedia that my learning curve in my field would have been a great deal easier. I am therefore a passionate believer in the accessible dissemination of accurate knowledge, particularly in the scientific community and for this reason do very much believe in the aims and objects of the Wikipedia organization and would look forward to an active role as a board member.

Vinod Pillai