Black Lunch Table/user group report 2019

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The Black Lunch Table Wikimedians applied for user group status in December 2018 and were recognized by the WMF in January 2019.The following report documents the user group’s activities between January--December 2019.

This period overlaps with a WMF Project Grant for Black Lunch Table during the period of June 2018-June 2019. Some information here has been summarized from that reporting, a detailed report for that grant can be found HERE.

Project and User Group DescriptionsEdit

Black Lunch Table (BLT) is an ongoing collaboration founded by artists Jina Valentine (Fishantena (talk · contribs)) and Heather Hart (Heathart (talk · contribs)) which intends to fill holes in the documentation of contemporary art history. Since 2005 the BLT has taken a variety of forms relating to this most recent iteration, in the form of the Wikimedia project.

Our project creates a space to encourage people of color and women to join the Wikimedia movement while also asking white male editors to focus on gaps in coverage on Wikimedia. We mobilize the creation and improvement of a specific set of Wikimedia documents that pertain to the lives and works of Black artists. At each edit­a­thon we provide a list of suggested artists to add or edit, with particular focus on Black artists who have worked within or are local to the host institution’s community and are currently under-documented on Wikipedia.


After successful edit-a-thons held during 2018 from NYC to Chicago to Kingston, Jamaica, BLT entered 2019 continuing our goals of doubling our outcomes, making our process more efficient, fostering return editors, and increasing our reach as we became a user group. See our project goals defined in detail HERE.

Outside of data alone, BLT importantly solidified its Wikicommons specific project of the BLT Photobooth, focusing on getting not only articles on underrepresented Black artists on Wikipedia but actually visualizing Black artists on Wikicommons by hiring professional photographers to take photos or artists at our events. BLT’s entire photobooth artist collection can be seen HERE.

Organizationally the 2019 year saw Black Lunch table hire proxies in three regions and a project manager who were all able to join the co-founders for a team retreat in April. While the funding for BLT via our project grant ended in June, we continued to work with Lawyers for the Creative Arts and other consultants to secure our Non-Profit Status. Importantly we focused on clarifying our goals as an NFP and user group in order to complete our application for the sAPG track.


BLT held dozens of edit-a-thons throughout 2019 and many outside of the USA with the support of our proxies from Ilorin, Nigeria; Houston, TX and Port of Spain, Trinidad. Some of the highlights include: Black History Everyday @ Staten Island Museum, Staten Island, NY, BLT Photobooth @ Art+Feminism x MoMA, New York, NY, Alice Yard, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, Project Row Houses, Houston, TX, OxBow School of Art, Saugatuck, Michigan, The New School's Centennial Festival, New York, NY and the Chicago Art Book Fair, Chicago, IL. We also were happy to present our first workshop/lecture at the annual Wiki North America Conference on Wikicommons and image bias.

Our WikiCommons Photo Initiative (a pop-up photo booth) continues to be a highlight of our work. We were invited to host an edit-a-thon with the Fisher Fine Arts Library at UPenn. Photographer Mary Osunlana got a beautiful shot of the multifaceted African-American artist Dindga McCannon who was missing a photo in her Wikipedia bio. Dindga describes herself as “a multimedia, mixed media artist, currently exploring fiber arts […], painter, printmaker, author, illustrator, artists bookmaker, wearable art maker, and teacher.” She also co-founded “Where We At” – one of the first exhibitions of professional black women artists in the US in the 1970s. Dingda was included in the corrective historical survey We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-1985 at the Brooklyn Museum.


During the 2019 calendar year, we engaged over 280 editors, created 95 articles, and uploaded 900 items to Commons. For full details please see 2019 numbers on outreach dashboard.


Our 2018-2019 Project Grant Budget Report. Importantly the second half of 2019 was brought to a slowdown with our activities as our project grant had run out and we had yet to be granted the sAPG 2020.


Black Lunch Table Wikimedians made a lot of strides in 2019 including assembling a dedicated and knowledgeable team, hosting successful events in other countries, and organizing internal structures towards our not for profit status. We formalized GLAM and educational initiatives, including a semester-long classroom engagement at Edna Manley University in Kingston, Jamaica. We worked with a pro bono lawyer (David Swendsen) through Lawyers for the Creative Arts to execute and file our application for 501c3 status. It was really great to assemble our entire Wikipedia team and edit together during our team retreat in Wassaic, New York. As many wiki projects, we come together across many places to be together virtually and it was a nice change to all be together in one physical location. These singular accomplishments are important but do not compare to the core of the work and our project, raising the profile of Black Artists on Wikipedia.

Material ResourcesEdit

Next StepsEdit

We imagine continuing to cultivate our relationship with the Wikipedia movement, seeking out ways we can innovate within it, and continue to grow our project annually and sustainably. We will apply to the sAPG grant for a continuation of funds at this point in the project’s life knowing that it will support the ongoing expansion of BLT and the desire to retain committed team members, crystallize our nonprofit infrastructure, and maintain and grow our edit-a-thons, collaborations, and initiatives.

The specifics of our application are linked below and linked in our sAPG application: Annual Plan

Budget Plan

Staffing Plan

Strategic Plan