Wikimedia UK Strategy 2022-25
Strategic framework 2022-25
1. VISION, MISSION, VALUES AND OUTCOMES
Wikimedia UK is committed to the ideal of a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge, and believe that here in the UK, we can play a unique and important role in realising that global vision.
Wikimedia UK’s strategy is informed by and supports the strategic direction of the global Wikimedia movement. Our work therefore focuses on knowledge and communities that have been left out by structures of power and privilege. We break down the barriers that prevent people and organisations from accessing and contributing to open knowledge, and support the development of people-centred and technical solutions to help eradicate inequality and bias on the Wikimedia projects.
Our VISION is of a more informed, democratic and equitable society through open knowledge
Our MISSION is to enable people to engage with open knowledge and access reliable information in order to develop their understanding of the world, and make informed decisions about issues that affect them.
We strive to act with integrity in upholding and inspiring the following VALUES:
We are working towards the following LONG TERM OUTCOMES:
- Wikimedia reflects our diverse society and works to overcome systemic bias
- Our work has increased free, ethical access to knowledge and information
- Our work has supported the development of high levels of information literacy
- Wikimedia users are able to understand the climate crisis and their role within it
- Wikimedia UK is recognised as a leading organisation for open knowledge
2. STRATEGIC THEMES AND PILLARS
In working towards Wikimedia UK’s long term outcomes, in the period 2022 - 2025 we will continue to work on our key STRATEGIC THEMES of Knowledge Equity and Information Literacy. We will also explore and develop activities around our emerging theme of Climate and Environment. In developing and delivering projects and programmes around these themes, we will make use of the unique opportunities available in the UK to make a meaningful contribution to the work of the global Wikimedia movement.
In order for Wikimedia UK to create the change that we want to see in these thematic areas, a number of other things need to be in place. These STRATEGIC PILLARS underpin successful delivery across all areas of our work:
- Equity, diversity and inclusion embedded across the organisation
- A thriving national and international community
- Public profile and recognition of the organisation and Wikimedia projects
- A positive legislative environment for open knowledge in the UK
- Organisational resilience and sustainability
Wikimedia UK’s governing document states that the Objects of the Charity are, for the benefit of the public, to promote and support the widest possible public access to, use of and contribution to Open Content of an encyclopaedic or educational nature or of similar utility to the general public. As a charity we serve a very wide range of stakeholders, audiences and users. These include members, volunteers, donors, funders, contributors, readers, educators, partners, policy makers, UK society and the global open knowledge community.
Our different stakeholder audiences can be synthesised as follows:
Knowledge seekers - individual readers and potential readers; researchers
Knowledge creators - individual contributors; content-holding organisations
Knowledge facilitators - staff; volunteer trainers; Wikimedians in Residence; funders
Knowledge holders - rights holders; content-holding organisations; communities
Knowledge gatekeepers - publishers; rights holders; legislators
Within this model, Wikimedia UK is focused on supporting and amplifying the work of knowledge creators and facilitators as a means to reach knowledge seekers; helping them to develop the confidence, skills, understanding and knowledge needed to participate in a democratic society. We also engage with knowledge holders and gatekeepers to increase access to information and remove legislative, financial or other barriers.
Our audiences and stakeholders are explored in more detail - alongside the strategies and tactics that we use to reach them - in the Communications and Digital Strategy accompanying this strategy. Separate plans for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Fundraising, and Volunteer Engagement also accompany this strategy, outlining our track record and future aspirations in these areas in greater detail.
4. ASSUMPTIONS UNDERPINNING OUR STRATEGY
The past two years have been dominated by a global pandemic, environmental catastrophes on an unprecedented scale, and worldwide protests about racism which have been underpinned, in the UK at least, by the dual legacies of colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade. Technology is changing everyone’s lives and the industrial, economic, political and physical landscape is being redefined. Whilst the pandemic has accelerated some organisations’ engagement with open knowledge, in other quarters we are seeing a lurch towards the marketisation of knowledge and the re-enclosure of information. In the UK and the US, potential legislative changes could significantly alter the free knowledge ecosystem.
In developing this strategic framework against such a turbulent backdrop, we have made a number of assumptions, including:
- The Wikimedia Foundation will continue to fund us as the national chapter for the UK
- We will continue to have a role and relevance within the Wikimedia movement following the implementation of the 2030 strategy, especially the Movement Charter.
- The external funding environment will get tougher, but digital fundraising is likely to grow as a proportion of our voluntary income.
- Other open organisations will be operating in the UK, competing for funding, clients, partners and profile.
- Post Brexit, there will be opportunities and threats in the form of new legislation, in areas such as copyright and online safety.
- The digital transformation of universities and workplaces will continue, with a focus on hybrid models and blended learning.
- The climate crisis will accelerate, and with it a better understanding of how climate and environmental changes will shape all our futures.
5. STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES
We have identified a number of objectives within each of our Strategic Themes, which will inform our detailed annual delivery plans. As part of our annual planning we will also identify objectives and actions under our strategic pillars.
STRATEGIC THEME: KNOWLEDGE EQUITY
This theme builds on our strategic aim for 2019 - 2022 to increase the engagement and representation of marginalised people and subjects, and the work delivered through many of our projects and programmes over the past six years. The theme strongly resonates with the global Wikimedia movement strategy, in particular the emphasis on knowledge equity in the overall strategic direction, and Recommendation 8 - Identify Topics for Impact - which includes initiatives focused on bridging content gaps and developing content initiatives with underrepresented communities.
This strategic theme fits with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5, Gender Equality; Goal 10, Reduce Inequality; and Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.
For 2022 - 2025, our key objectives under this theme are to:
- Develop our understanding and approach to engaging ethically with knowledge communities; building trust and focusing on quality content and better sharing rather than an extractive approach.
- Develop our understanding of the discourse and practice around decolonisation, and explore and document what decolonisation, knowledge equity and epistemic justice mean in the context of Wikipedia and Wikimedia UK.
- Continue to explore and develop alternative models of partnership-working that move beyond content acquisition; developing and delivering meaningful knowledge equity projects that draw on best practice at an international level, and engage with minoritised groups (including communities of origin) as co-creators.
- Work with the global movement to develop and deliver the implementation plan for movement strategy initiatives related to underrepresented knowledge, including bridging content gaps.
- Advocate at an institutional and sector-wide level for the release of content relating to underrepresented people and subjects, and support Wikimedians in Residence in their work as change agents in content-holding organisations; championing a focus on untold stories and underrepresented content.
- Diversify Wikimedia UK’s community of contributors, community leaders and knowledge activists and community leaders; offering training and support to address inequality and bias and improve representation online.
- Develop and deliver initiatives that focus on recruiting and retaining more editors from Black and Asian backgrounds, who are particularly underrepresented within the UK’s editor community.
- Support the development of indigenous and minority language Wikipedias, in recognition of the linguistic and ethnic diversity of the UK.
STRATEGIC THEME: INFORMATION LITERACY
This theme builds on our strategic aim for 2019 - 2022 to work with partners to develop digital, data and information literacy through Wikimedia. It supports the long term outcome that our work will have helped to create high levels of information literacy. This in turn will have strengthened civil society and democracy, as established by our own research as well as that of others. The theme of Information Literacy resonates with Recommendation 8 of the global movement strategy - Identify Topics for Impact - particularly initiatives concerned with misinformation, and the public’s ability to access and understand content on Wikimedia. This strategic theme fits with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4, Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all; and Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
For 2022 - 2025, our key objectives under this theme are to:
- Pilot, evaluate and roll out digital, media and information literacy projects with the secondary school sector; building on successful partnership projects in Wales to scale up existing activity and develop and deliver an offer in other areas of the UK.
- Design pilot projects with civil society partners that help to demonstrate the value of Wikimedia in the creation of media and information literacy skills.
- Advocate for the importance of media and information literacy skills at all levels of society - including within curriculum, syllabus and course development - and for the value of Wikimedia in supporting those skills.
- Support ongoing work in partnership with the Higher Education sector, including institution-wide Wikimedian in Residence programmes, Wikimedia in the Classroom courses and more bespoke information literacy projects.
EMERGING STRATEGIC THEME: CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENT
Climate and Environment is a new area of focus for Wikimedia UK. It recognises the accelerating climate emergency and the importance of Wikimedia’s role in providing up-to-date, accurate and unbiased information about the impact of climate change on our planet and people. This strategic theme resonates with a number of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
As a relatively new programmatic area for us, we are still exploring different approaches, models, partnerships and success criteria for this work. We recognise the importance of climate justice, and are committed to working with and for the communities that are most affected by and vulnerable to climate change within the development of this programme. We are also mindful that Wikimedia contributes to climate change both in terms of the carbon emissions generated by our online presence, and the carbon footprint of the network of staff, volunteers and affiliated organisations that make up the global movement. Our initial objectives for Wikimedia UK are therefore to:
- Explore what role Wikimedia UK could take in supporting and growing the global community of editors contributing to climate-related articles and pages on Wikimedia; connecting with existing groups and affiliates to amplify rather than duplicate activity.
- Facilitate the participation of new contributors, drawing on citizen science models to enable people to participate in capturing and disseminating climate information.
- Scope new and existing partner organisations working in the areas of climate and environment, and pilot projects to identify where and how we can have the greatest impact as the UK chapter for Wikimedia.
- Identify and build relationships with funders who are working at the intersection of digital rights and climate justice, developing Wikimedia’s case for support as a leading information resource and platform for digital volunteering and citizen science.