Grants:APG/Proposals/2020-2021 round 1/Wikimedia UK/Impact report form



This impact report for the financial year 2021/22 (which ended on 31st January 2022) provides a comprehensive overview of our work within each of our four strategic programmes; including metrics and results, highlights of programme activity, key learning and an indication of how the programme resonates with strategic movement priorities. We also provide an overview of broader challenges and opportunities that we are working within for each programme.

2021 has been a year of continued challenge of the pandemic, with Omicron disrupting our initial plans of returning to some in-person work. Despite this, we drew on our strong and mature organisational structure and delivery plans to continue working on our priorities. It is with pride that we present this annual impact report. Some of the highlights of our varied programme across the year include:

  • We worked with our communities to shape our 2022-25 strategy, which hones in on our areas of expertise (underrepresented knowledge, information literacy), while giving us an opportunity to respond to a growing strategic interest within our GLAM and education partners in sustainability and climate change work.
  • We reached all of our core grant metric targets apart from ‘Total audience and reach’ which was severely disrupted by changes in social media analytics (analysing our part performance here suggests we would have been on track otherwise).
  • The content we supported reached a huge variety of audiences: Within our programmes, articles were created in 22 languages (including IT, SCO, EN, ES, AR, KW, DE, Simplewiki, DE, ZH, FR, DA, CA, SH and CY), while articles were improved in 90 language Wikipedias.
  • We have encouraged and supported our long standing partners to make underrepresented knowledge a priority. This is particularly visible with our Wikimedians in Residence projects which started within this year, e.g. at the British Library (BL), which was set up with a decolonisation angle expressed in the partnership agreement.
  • For the first time we participated in the Wiki Loves Earth competition, which created an exciting focus for content work in Wales in summer.
  • Despite ongoing covid-related challenges experienced by the education sector in the UK, in 2021 we worked with 11 university courses in 2021-22. Encouragingly, in Autumn we were able to launch four Wikimedia in the Classroom courses, including one partnership with a Further Education institution (Edinburgh College).
  • We secured external funding from the National Lottery Community Fund for a ‘Supporting Young People Through Digital Literacy’ project in partnership with MenterMon in Wales.
  • We’ve been successful in launching, formalising or extending a number of Wikimedian in Residence partnerships, showing the willingness of our partner organisations to work with open knowledge. In 2021 we supported 12 WIR programmes.
  • We’ve had 17 high level ‘policy touchpoints’.
  • Thanks to additional funding, we created a new Development and Communications team, allowing us to be more strategic and impactful in our general communications. One illustration of this was our work for Women’s History Month in March 2021, which saw us deliver a series of conversations on YouTube with women leaders and activities within the Wikimedia movement.
  • We delivered an exciting programme of volunteer support activities in 2021, with volunteer training, grants, support for on-wiki communities (Welsh, Scots), and volunteer programmes at partner organisations.
  • We continued developing our our action plan for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, translating broad commitments into changes within our organisation and our programmes.
  • After a successful fundraising bid to the National Heritage Lottery Fund, in 2021 we launched our 18-month long ‘Connected Heritage’ programme, working with over 100 small heritage organisations in England and Wales to expand their digital skills via working with Wikimedia projects.

There’s been an incredible amount of work delivered in 2021, as evidenced by this rather long report. Many thanks to the readers willing to engage with the content; we would be happy to discuss further with people who’d like to know more.

Wikimedia UK’s strategic framework for 2019–2022


Wikimedia UK works in partnership with organisations from the cultural and education sectors and beyond in order to unlock content, remove barriers to knowledge, develop new ways of engaging with the public and enable learners to benefit fully from the educational potential of the Wikimedia projects. The work of the UK chapter is informed by and supports the strategic direction of the global Wikimedia movement, and focuses on the knowledge and communities that have been left out by structures of power and privilege.

Our vision is of a more tolerant, informed and democratic society.

Our mission is to be the platform which enables the long-term sustainable development and use of open knowledge in the UK.

Throughout the 2019-22 period, we delivered activities across four interconnected programme strands, as follows, which are aligned with our strategic aims:

  • Increasing Knowledge Equity (Aim 1, Increase the representation of marginalised people and subjects on Wikimedia)
  • Developing Digital Literacy (Aim 2, Work with partners to develop digital, data and information literacy through Wikimedia)
  • Changing Policy and Practice (Aim 3, Create changes in policy and practice that enable open knowledge to flourish)
  • Growing Wikimedia UK’s Profile and Capacity (Aim 4, Develop our capacity and profile as a leading organisation for open knowledge)

Organisational Theory of Change:

Wikimedia UK believes that to achieve our vision of a more tolerant, informed and democratic society we need to improve the representation of diverse people in the knowledge ecosystem, increase civic engagement by building digital literacy, and secure policy changes which increase access to open information for all. To effectively achieve these goals we must also work on strengthening our voice and sector recognition.

Without access to knowledge, we can’t build understanding. Without diversity of content, this understanding is limited.

Looking ahead to WMUK’s 2022-25 strategy


This impact report marks the final year of our 2019-22 strategy. The past three years have been an opportunity to deepen our collaboration with our volunteers, partners and supporters, underpinned by a rich understanding of our strategic programmes and growing expertise within our team. We have stewarded a number of partnerships with internationally recognised organisations, and developed impactful projects that speak to our strengths in programme delivery. Developments we implemented in the fundraising and communications functions gave us the capacity to speak confidently about our work, both to general audiences, and potential external funders.

With these strong foundations in mind we are excited to go into our new strategy, developed in the later half of 2021 through an interactive process of conversations and workshops with trustees, community, external partners, and staff.

Wikimedia UK’s 2022-25 strategy is informed by and supports the direction of the global Wikimedia movement. Our work focuses on the knowledge and communities that have been left out by structures of power and privilege. We will continue breaking down the barriers that prevent people and organisations from accessing and contributing to open knowledge; supporting the development of people-centred and technical solutions to help eradicate inequality and bias. As such we will continue supporting the ‘Identify topics for impact’ 2030 recommendation - for example in 2022 we will continue to facilitate work to map out next steps on underrepresented content within the global community; we will also build on our research work on Wikipedia’s Knowledge gaps. ‘Topics for impact’ in 2030 strategy also includes a call to work on globally significant topics, which includes climate change information. We are glad to see that our new strategic theme of Climate and Environment gives us further resonance with the global strategy, and more opportunities for global collaboration.

In the period 2022 - 2025 we will continue to work on the STRATEGIC THEMES of Knowledge Equity and Information Literacy; whilst exploring and developing activities around the emerging theme of Climate and Environment. In 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

Global metrics overview - all programs



Metric Targets Results Explanation and/or examples of activities
Participants GM1 7,000 7,040 People attending our events: Editathons, training, conferences, talks, community meetups and Wikipedia in classroom modules, and online competitions.
Newly registered editors GM2 1,200 1,218 New editors were engaged mostly via our volunteer programmes in Wales, editathons, larger contests such as Wiki Loves Earth Wales, and  Wikipedia in classroom courses.
Articles added/improved GM3 450,000 843,440 Wikidata: About 45K items were improved by the WiR at NLW, 270K articles were improved via a bot through our PI Bot project grant; 100K articles were improved by the WD scholar at the NLW. Due to limitations of Event Metrics of measuring Wikidata edits only up to 50K, we judge that the number of edited items is higher in reality.

20K items added by the Welsh Wikidata scholar at NLW improving datasets from the NLW collection. Other items come from volunteer programmes at the NLW and Wikipedia residencies.

Wikipedia: This figure includes Wikipedia articles created and/or improved across all our activities: editathons, training sessions, volunteer programs, University courses and work carried out by our Wikimedia in Residence partnerships.

Volunteer hours 25,000 28,667 11,929 hours come from Wikipedia in Classroom courses, 13,828 hours were spent at wiki training, editathons, workshops, the AGM, meetups, and other events. The rest of the hours were spent by lead volunteers organising events and interacting with WMUK partner institutions.
Total audience and reach 75,000 56,445 Includes 48k social media subscribers, 7,040 attendees, and 856 leading volunteers.

Social media metrics: These numbers are not complete as some of the social media tools updated their analytics tools and we were unable to get them. These changes started happening in the second quarter of the year and persisted for several months. It’s clear that our results were significantly affected by that disruption, as is Q1 we were on a good trajectory towards the target. We have now reinstated ways of capturing this metric and will be recalibrating in 2022.  

Achieved Target has been achieved or exceeded
Opportunity for improvement Some progress has been made towards achieving the target, but the target is not on track
Attention required Little or no progress has been made towards achieving the target

All metrics totals for all programmes


For metrics disaggregated by programmes, see individual sections per programme below.

Metric 2021-2022 result
1 Total audience and reach (direct engagement) (grant metric) 56,445
2 Digital media reach 48,549
3 Total participants  (grant metric) 7,040
4 Number of newly registered users (grant metric) 1,218
5 Number of leading volunteers 856
6 % of leading volunteers who are women 362 (42.29%)
7 Estimated number of volunteer hours (grant metric) 28,667
8 Volunteers would recommend WMUK (annual) 91.49%
9 Volunteers feel valued by WMUK (annual) 95%
10 Volunteers have developed new skills (annual) 80.85%
11 Images/media added to WM Commons 10,412
12 Images/media added to WM article pages (and %) 1,451
13 Content pages created or improved, across all WM projects excl. Commons (grant metric) 843,440
14 Number of articles created 287,783
15 Reach of content - image/article views Articles: 250mln

Images: 15bln

16 Content diversity - % of events where the focus is on underrepresented content 108 out of 236 (45.76%)
17 Language diversity - how many languages have we worked across (annual) 22/90/66/375
18 Geographical reach - % of events outside of London 67.72% (149 out of 220)
19 # education courses we work with (annual) 11
20 Digital skills - Improved skills and confidence (annual) up from 3.45 to 3.48
21 New inclusion in courses and curricula (annual) 4
22 Responses touchpoints 17
23 Policy change 10

Further explanations for metrics:

  • Reach of content: we primarily considered image views in Wikipedia articles of the content released with support from Wikimedia UK (Commons category).
  • Language diversity: interpreted as the number of languages we have worked across: this could be expressed in different ways, each showing the multilinguality of our work:
    • Articles were created in 22 languages during our events in the past year, including IT, SCO, EN, ES, AR, KW, DE, Simplewiki, DE, ZH, FR, DA, CA, SH and CY.
    • Articles were improved in 90 language Wikipedias. Top languages with over 100 articles improved were SCO, CY, KW, EN, FR, ES, Simplewiki. The rest of the edits include these languages:  ZR, SH, SQ, CEB, FI, UK, IT, CBL, EU, HI, HR, JA, NL, RU, TR, PL, VI, BN, ID, CKB, KA, among others.
    • Our images uploaded to Commons category: “Supported by Wikimedia UK” this year were re-used on Wikidata, Wikisource, Wikiquote, Wikibooks, Wikiversity, Simple Wiki, Outreach and re-use in EN, CY, AR, and SCO.
    • Baglama2 measures how many views those articles having images (ever) added to Commons in category “Supported by Wikimedia UK” received during the past periods. Using the last month of the year, 375 Wikimedia sites had views to articles having our images, out of which 88 were different language Wikipedias.
  • Geographical reach: interpreted as the  % of events outside of London - if COVID-19 pandemic would have allowed it: 67.72% (149 out of 220 events).

Programme 1: Increasing Knowledge Equity


Strategic goal: Increase the representation of marginalised people and subjects on Wikimedia

Theory of change

With incomplete information online, we would struggle to create an informed society. A society without access to the information about ‘the other’ can’t become more tolerant. By uncovering and sharing knowledge about marginalised people and subjects, we try to create a more informed society. By engaging with marginalised people and enabling them to create knowledge relevant to them, we empower them and make our society more diverse.

Long term outcome:

Wikimedia reflects our diverse society and is free from systemic bias.

Full logic model

Context / background

Wikimedia UK has been focused on underrepresented knowledge for the past six years, with this work coalescing around the key themes of underrepresented cultural heritage, minority languages, the gender gap and diverse contributors. The movement for equality and civil rights is facing significant challenges worldwide and we believe that open knowledge and knowledge equity have a central role to play in achieving social justice.

Over the past two years, we have also been developing a particular thematic focus on decolonisation, both as this affects cultural institutions (decolonising collections) and the education sector (decolonising curricula).

This approach, we feel, resonates particularly well with the intent of the Wikimedia 2030 direction of knowledge equity. It speaks directly to the global principles of Equity & Empowerment, Inclusiveness, and the overarching commitment to working with knowledge communities to uncover and amplify their knowledge. We believe that the work around Knowledge Equity, and our approach to decolonisation, does not stand in conflict with the wiki principle of neutrality, and instead brings more diversity of knowledge for the benefit of all.

Resonance with the global 2030 strategy

This programme relates to our long term outcome of ensuring that the Wikimedia projects reflect our diverse society and are free from systemic bias, as well as our strategic aim for the period 2019 to 2022 to increase the engagement and representation of marginalised people and subjects on Wikimedia. This programme feeds directly into the movement priority of knowledge equity, and our work in this area maps across to the initiatives under Recommendation 8: Topics for Impact. We are keen to share our developing expertise in this area with the movement globally, and believe that ongoing support of the knowledge equity vision, and its implementation in our programmes, is critical to the long term success of our movement.


Indicator 2020/21 end year results 2021/22 end year results
3. Participants 3,879 4,067
4. Newly registered editors 515 500
13. Articles added/improved 758,787 785,763
7. Volunteer hours 16,172 13,828
1. Total audience and reach 4,235 4,778
5. Leading volunteers 356 711
11. Images/media added to Commons 14,743 10,412
12. Images/media added to Wikimedia pages 8,057 files re-used 1,451
12. % uploaded media used in content pages 54.64% 13.94%
14. New articles added 65,376 287,423
15. Reach of content - image/article views Articles: 14,909,938,

Images: 1,425,460,086

Articles :250mln

Images: 15 bln

16. Content diversity - # and % of events where the focus is on underrepresented content 129 out of 257 (50.2%) 108 out of 236


17. Language diversity - how many languages have we worked across (annual) Articles created: 17 (eventmetrics)

Articles edited:

80 (eventmetrics)

Common uploads 2020-21 re-used: 57 (PetScan)

All Commons uploads re-used: 355

Articles created: 22 (eventmetrics)

Articles edited: 90 (eventmetrics)

Common uploads 2021-2022 re-used:  66 (PetScan)

All Commons uploads re-used:  375

18. Geographical reach - % of events outside of London (annual) 71.98%

(185 out of 257)


(149 out of 220)

Highlights of programme activity


Underrepresented heritage (with a growing focus on decolonisation)

This area continues to grow in significance and scale, through a mixture of new projects developed by WMUK, and by encouraging and supporting our long standing partners to make underrepresented knowledge a priority. This is particularly visible with our Wikimedians in Residence projects which started in 2021, e.g. at the British Library (BL), which was set up with a decolonisation angle expressed in the partnership agreement. This translates to direct action - for example in 2021 the BL completed India Office Records uploads. Information about 200 individuals (Postmasters listed in the Indian Civil and Military lists from the 1880s) was uploaded to Wikidata (project page). A further three documents were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, for example India List Civil and Military, July, 1885 - this is significant as they include content warnings as phrased by the resident. The aim was to contextualise these works thoughtfully in a way that actively works to reduce harm. This was presented to the Library’s Metadata and Cataloguing group for comment, and received positive feedback, potentially translating to further work.

At the BL we have also been building connections with the Agents of Enslavement project, which uses digitised newspapers from Barbados to examine links between newspapers and slavery in the 18th/19th century. The Library Staff lead is interested in using Wikibase for this project, and we have been developing a connection between the Library and the Wikidata team at Wikimedia Deutschland in order to pilot new technical approaches.

The BL resident is also critically engaging with internal conversations and processes at the Library, highlighting knowledge equity perspective. The resident takes part in the BAME network reading group. Further, the resident met with Eccles Centre at the Library to discuss issues with the Canadian Copyright collection, and the framing of some images. This led to an idea of curating a short series of events in January focused on Indigenous languages, and perhaps inviting speakers from the Indigenous Languages Toolkit to speak to staff at the Library.

These activities hopefully illustrate the type of work we are engaging with at the BL.

Because of its breadth, our work within the ‘underrepresented knowledge’ strand is challenging to summarise; but beyond British Library, some of our key projects include:


Khalili Collections. A lot of effort within this project in 2021 has gone into describing objects on Wikidata, particularly connecting objects to what they depict. By the end of the year there were over 350 depiction properties attached to Khalili Collections objects. This allows for engaging visualisations, for example 179 things and a randomly-chosen Khalili Collections object that depicts them, or an image gallery of items in the Khalili Collections that depict the Kaaba, or timeline of Islamic metalwork in the Collections. Connections to other resources are growing. Going to Resonator and clicking to depictions of hares or depictions of Noah's Ark, for example, shows art works from a variety of collections, including the Khalili Collection of Islamic Art. Khalili Collections images are now used in 71 Wikimedia sites (data from BaGLAMa2), and the total of non-English labels added by the community is 88 in 23 languages. To date the views on uploaded images total 33.7 million. This number excludes views for images that were included on the English Wikipedia front page in the Did You Know? section. These add 15.5 million further views.

Decolonising Wikipedia Network (University Arts London). This project is being led by Lucy Panesar, seconded to Wikimedia UK for one day per week for the current academic year in a knowledge exchange programme to support the Network. Lucy has been running training events for UAL staff and students, running classroom sessions about Wikipedia and showcasing the network, and working with external organisations such as the South London Gallery to work on a strand of work called Decolonising Wikipedia x London’s Colonial Her/Histories as part of the decolonisation work. This included a project for the Gallery youth group, The Art Assassins, to investigate an example of London’s colonial history through digital media including Wikimedia. Lucy secured Heritage Lottery funding for this project via the Audience Agency, and this has enabled the South London Gallery to employ two former youth group alumni to be project researchers, and to bring in digital storytelling expertise from Jazmin Morris of the UAL Creative Computing Institute. Another collaboration is with the UCL’s Legacies of British Slavery Project (UCL provided data for students on the UAL MSc Data Science course, to analyse as part of the project).

The Decolonising Wikipedia Network was opened to students and staff from across UAL’s six colleges, with the explicit aim of supporting UAL students and staff to play an active role in the decolonisation of knowledge and Wikipedia editing as a form of knowledge activism. To date, this has been through a series of monthly extra-curricula sessions and a website site containing guidance on editing Wikipedia and examples by DWN members, answers to a range of frequently asked questions. Lucy has been facilitating extra-curricula sessions with two UAL Librarians who are experienced Wikipedia editors and editathon hosts. Working with them is helping to promote the digital and information literacy skills development benefits of Wikipedia editing.

Minority and indigenous languages (with a focus on the Celtic Knot)

This work is ongoing but several key initiatives we delivered in 2021 are:

  • Wiki Loves Earth competition created an exciting focus for content work in Wales in summer. We were excited to take part via Wales for the first time in 2021- see the case study below.
  • The Palestine-Wales-Cornwall editathon which we organised was the first time for Cornish editors to participate at such an event, producing 44 new articles out of an overall 242 new articles. This offered the community a valuable opportunity to join an editing project. Our Wales Manager also created many infoboxes and other Wikidata driven templates for the Cornish kw-wiki, at their request.
  • Throughout 2021 the resident at the National Library of Wales has been working on a mapping project supported by the Welsh Government. This involved making Wikidata edits (adding operator property for Cadw sites) and adding 112 audio pronunciation files to Wikidata items for Welsh places, which have been recorded by school children in Wales. The resident was also working on increasing the degree of reuse of this work, for example discussing with Transport for Wales about using Wikidata to improve Welsh mapping provision, and meeting with Mapio Cymru about protecting and encouraging the use of Welsh place names.
A site notice inviting people to an editathon on the Scots Wikipedia

Gender gap, diverse contributors

Throughout the year we have organised activities which supported and engaged with diverse communities - to illustrate a few:

  • At the University of Strathclyde we supported two LGBT+ network events.
  • Devil’s Porridge Museum - The resident at the Museum held a public editathon focused on the "Miracle Workers" - people associated with the HM Factory in Gretna.
  • Women in Red community editathons continued at the University of Edinburgh.
  • Humanists UK held a World Contraception Day Wikithon, which had participants from England, Scotland, Malta, and Netherlands.
  • We also established a collaboration with the accessibility charity VocalEyes, to work on Wikidata and accessibility at heritage sites. We have joined the steering panel to advise on Wikidata implementation. The hope is that this will help spread information about accessibility to heritage sites visitors.  

Climate change and sustainability

Throughout 2021 we put energy into developing our emerging climate change programme strand, exploring ways in which Wikimedia UK can support communities and organisations in sharing climate information. There is a significant amount of interest and energy behind climate change work, with COP26 in Glasgow in 2021 having galvanised various sectors we work with.

We worked with the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works to organise a 24-hour editathon during COP. We also partnered with the Wolfson College (University of Oxford) course on 'Interdisciplinary Research Hub on Sustainability & Conservation' to deliver training and an editing event with students. Further, a Wikimedia talk event with DecarboN8 took place in September as part of their annual conference. We also initiated a conversation with a non-profit Climate Policy Radar, who are using Wikidata to help understand their leading database of climate/environmental policy documentation, with possibilities for climate policy data contributions to Wikidata in discussion.

Challenges, Changes, Learning and next steps


Compare to our proposal


An ongoing challenge that we are noticing is the increasing level of burnout apparent in the cultural heritage sector. The ‘Connected Heritage’ project links us to a lot of small organisations, and through this we can see a clear trend of smaller museums - particularly volunteer-led - being forced to close due to pandemic related decreased footfall and financial pressures. This poses a question about our role in Covid recovery - perhaps we can provide digital skills and offer a way of maintaining collections within the Wikimedia infrastructure? There’s a related risk that some of the organisations we most want to work with (i.e.) those holding underrepresented collections, will not survive the prolonged pandemic.

Learning, adaptations

Somewhat related to this, we noticed that towards the end of 2021 the attention within the heritage sector was moving towards rebuilding after the last two years of the pandemic, especially thinking about wellbeing, and growing audiences beyond those who traditionally visited pre-pandemic. There’s an opportunity for WMUK to help the sector connect to new audiences, and present information in accessible ways. We are already setting up a mental health project in collaboration with the National Library of Wales and the Welsh Government; this topic could grow in importance.

We are also learning about the high importance of our Connected Heritage programme to the sector (see the case study within the ‘Programme 4: Growing Wikimedia UK’s Profile and Capacity’ section). We started delivering the public facing work of this project in late summer. We noticed that organisations are coming to our events with prior interest in partnering with Wikimedia UK, suggesting this is a well structured programme for engagement with small and medium organisations. We are currently building a pipeline for in-depth engagement with organisations through the Connected Heritage project, to be delivered throughout 2022.

Broadly in the context of internal learning, we are investing in developing our understanding of decolonisation and its connections to our work. In autumn, for example, members of the programmes team attended Edinburgh University’s Centre for Data, Culture & Society annual lecture on ethical use of indigenous data, and Museum Galleries Scotland National Strategy Roundtable Event on decolonisation.


See our next activity plan

We will continue to advocate for the release of content relating to underrepresented people and subjects, and champion untold stories. In the period 2022 to 2025 we want to embed the principles outlined in our new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Framework, ensuring that our projects and programmes are evidence-based and shaped by underrepresented communities as co-creators. To do this we will need to develop our approach to engaging ethically with knowledge communities; building trust and focusing on quality content and better sharing rather than an extractive approach. We also aim to work with the global movement to develop and deliver the implementation plan for movement strategy initiatives related to underrepresented knowledge, including bridging content gaps. One very specific example of this is a skills-focused Celtic Knot 2022 conference, in collaboration with Wikimedia Deutschland.

Case studies

 Wiki Loves Earth in Wales

Wiki Loves Earth competition created an exciting focus for content work in Wales in summer. This is one of the largest photography competitions in the world focusing on National Parks, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Sites of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Wikimedia UK hasn’t participated before, focusing instead on the annual Wiki Loves Monuments competition. But partly because of its outdoors, Covid-friendly focus, we were excited to take part in 2021. There was substantial energy for the competition in Wales, and that’s where we focused the programme. We engaged many existing and new partners to take part, contacting over 60 institutions in Wales. The key ones who took part included Llen Natur (national nature group in Wales), National Library of Wales, Natural Resources Wales, Snowdonia National Park, Welsh Government, Dyfi Osprey Project, Royal Commission, Welsh Mountains Group. Welsh Mountains Group, a new partner, agreed to change to an open licence on 2500 of their images as their contribution to the project. Many of the images shared within the competition are incredibly beautiful, highlighting the diversity of Wales’ nature - and can be seen on Commons. The National Library of Wales supported the coordination of the competition and organised events to help with public engagement.

The winning image from WLE in Wales was of a brown hare - a rare sight in Wales.

We were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the images. Working on a global level in this way we can highlight our concerns about the effect of global warming, and celebrate the work done to preserve these species and habitats with our partners.

With 1,888 images taken, Wales is in the 7th position (out of 33 competing countries, just in front of Sweden, Italy and Spain); the percentage of images used on Wikipedia, to date, is also one of the highest in the competition, at 100%, with 38 uploaders (photographers) competing.

Jason Evans, National Wikimedian said that “The National Library of Wales was thrilled to co-host this years Wiki Loves Earth Wales contest, along with our partners Wikimedia UK as part of our wide and varied digital outreach programme. The level of engagement and the standard of photography was fantastic to see and the winning images are a testament to our rich and diverse natural environment.”

The winning photo from Wales is of a protected species, a brown hare, by Alun Williams, himself a very keen ornithologist and naturalist, and a member of Llen Natur. Williams, who also took the photo which came 2nd, is a retired headteacher from Llanrwst.

A photo of the Milky Way seen from the Ogwen Valley won third place, and is now a Featured Picture on Commons.

 Khalili Collections - driving engagement with images on wiki projects

Text prepared by Martin Poulter, Wikimedian In Residence

The Khalili Collections are eight collections of cultural treasures amassed by the collector, scholar, and philanthropist Professor Sir David Khalili. They include the world's largest private collection of Islamic Art, a collection of Meiji era Japanese art comparable only to the collection of the Japanese imperial family, a collection of Enamels of the World, and one of the world's largest collections of objects relating to the holy sites of Islam. Sir David has funded the conservation, curation, and exhibition of these collections — which total around 35,000 objects — and their publication in nearly 100 volumes with contributions from leading researchers.

Landau carriage in the Khalili Collection of Enamels of the World

The Collections use many platforms to bring digital images to the public. As well as an official web site and various social media channels, the Khalili Collections has partnerships with Google Arts and Culture and with Europeana, and recently created an interactive online exhibition using Sphere visualisation technology.

Beginning in February 2020, the Khalili Collections employed a part-time Wikimedian In Residence (WIR) to share material on Wikipedia, Commons, and Wikidata. 1,500 images were selected for sharing on Commons under open licences: 1,000 relating to Islam and the rest from the other collections. The WIR works closely with Wikimedia UK, who provide regular advice and support.


In the latest calendar year (2021), the images had more than 50 million views in total: this despite the majority of the images being uploaded in July. As is true of many cultural heritage institutions, Wikipedia articles have become the main way the public encounter the Collections' digital images, far outstripping the views of the Collections' own web site and social media.

As well as this enormous reach, the project has had other kinds of impact:

  • Wikipedia volunteers have translated articles about the collections into new languages, including Vietnamese, Malay, and Italian. Image captions have been translated into many more languages, with nearly seventy language versions of Wikipedia now using Khalili Collections images.
  • We have added thousands of incoming links to the Khalili Collections web site and hundreds of citations to its paper publications.
  • Sharing on Wikidata has opened up new ways of exploring a collection, or exploring across multiple collections. For example, a selection from the Enamels of the World collection can be viewed on a Wikidata map. Qurans in the Khalili Collection of Islamic Art can be viewed in the timeline tool HistropediaJS with links to entries in the online catalogue. When we ask Wikidata for objects related in some way to the Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid I, we get three objects from different Khalili Collections, plus paintings in other collections (as of February 2022).
  • Khalili Collections images are now visible in nearly 900 categories on Wikimedia Commons, alongside related images from other contributing partners such as the Walters Art Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. These categories range over all sorts of topics, from Persian bookbinding to People at work in art; from Golden Horde artefacts to Paintings of Ramayana (Khalili Collections images appear in these alphabetic lists under "K").
Enhancing the reach of images

The 50 million figure for reach includes two broad components, which could be called long-term and short-term. Long-term is when an image is permanently added to Wikipedia and gets a steady rate of views every day, indefinitely into the future. Short-term reach is when an image or article attracts a huge amount of attention in a short time, usually by being showcased on the front page. We are promoting long-term reach in multiple ways:

  • Adding images to relevant high-traffic Wikipedia articles
  • Finding articles about obscure topics for which Wikipedia lacks an image
  • Writing new articles, or article sections, to fill gaps in Wikipedia's coverage

English Wikipedia's front page has five to six million views each day. Other Wikimedia platforms have smaller, but still significant, readerships for their home pages. We used two processes to get images on the front page:

  • Putting articles through Did You Know review
  • Putting images through Featured Image review

Short-term reach promotes long-term; as well as bringing images to a wider audience, appearances on the front page bring new or high-quality articles to the attention of Wikipedia volunteers, prompting more image uses and article translations, hence more long-term use of the images.

Improving Wikipedia
The Masabih al-Sunnah article was not illustrated until we added this manuscript image.

With some help from Wikipedia volunteers, we have been able to add images to over 250 articles, from high-traffic general articles to very obscure topics. Articles like Alexander the Great, Mecca, or Maria Feodorovna (Dagmar of Denmark) gets tens of thousands of views per month. There are short articles like Ando Jubei, Alfred Morrison, or Ahmed Karahisari that barely reach 100 views per month, but for which the Khalili Collections have relevant images, sometimes providing the article's only image. English Wikipedia has 16,000 articles relating to Islam, so searching through these for articles which can be illustrated by the Khalili Collection of Islamic Art

Wikipedia lacked articles for some important topics that are each relevant to multiple art works in the Collections, so we took the initiative in creating them and getting them reviewed by Wikipedia volunteers. We have created a set of articles related to prominent Japanese artists of the Meiji era and have been building another set of articles relating to the sacred textiles of Islam. The Khalili Collections catalogues are accessibly written by prominent scholars and have contextual essays, so have been ideal sources to base Wikipedia articles on. Volunteers have translated new articles into other languages, at a rate of roughly one translation per new English article. At the start of the project, Wikipedia had no articles about the eight collections themselves, so a first priority was creating those: because of Wikipedia's COI (Conflict Of Interest) rule, these were created as drafts for review by independent volunteers, rather than entered directly into the encyclopaedia.

We have not yet made many articles for individual art works in the Collections. English Wikipedia's notability criterion — requiring substantive coverage in three different sources — means that it is not enough for a work to be extensively documented in the catalogue. There are masterpieces in the Khalili Collections that are notable, but identifying them needs a careful examination of published sources. One Japanese garniture attracted repeated coverage in an art trade magazine and was discussed at length in a scholarly paper, making it clearly notable enough for its own article.

Did You Know?
The Fonthill Casket, from the Khalili Collection of Spanish Metalwork, featured in a DYK about its maker, Plácido Zuloaga

DYK is a section of English Wikipedia's home page that highlights interesting facts from recently-improved articles. For example "Did You Know that that Plácido Zuloaga trained more than two hundred artists to make damascened artworks?" It is updated every 12 or 24 hours. With each block of eight DYK statements there is one image. If only a tiny proportion of home page visitors click through to read the article, that means thousands of extra views. Articles qualify for DYK by being new, by being expanded five times, or by passing Good Article review. They are each reviewed by an independent volunteer for the quality of their writing and sourcing. During 2020 and 2021 we got 17 articles through DYK. More images are submitted to DYK than can be put on the front page, and an administrator chooses between them. This means there have been occasions when the DYK has been accepted but the image does not make it to the front page.

Featured Images

Images that meet the very highest standards of technical quality, aesthetic value, and educational or historical significance can be awarded Featured status, and Featured images can be showcased as Picture of the Day (POTD). Most language versions of Wikipedia use the POTD selected by Commons, but some Wikipedias — including English, Persian, and Arabic — have their own process for choosing Featured Images and POTDs. After being nominated by the WIR, four images passed Featured Image review on Commons and two on English Wikipedia. The Arabic and Persian Wikipedias have chosen Khalili images for Featured status and POTD without prompting, displaying those images to hundreds of thousands of viewers on their respective front pages.

"Sacred Pilgrimage Journey", chosen by Arabic Wikipedia as its Picture Of The Day, 1 November 2021
Lessons learned

It has been hard to predict when things will happen, because of processes like DYK that depend on volunteer reviewers. The quickest DYK reviews have been completed in hours while some take months. It is not possible to predict in advance if a review will be quick. Some images are scheduled to appear on the front page but the date is changed at the last minute for various understandable reasons. So we have adapted to not knowing with certainty when an outcome is going to happen.

Rampant lion from the Khalili Collection of Swedish Textiles

Once the images are uploaded, there is a lot of ongoing effort needed to make them easily findable by the Wikimedia community. This takes place both on Wikidata and on Wikimedia Commons, which presently have somewhat redundant ways of linking images to topics. Broadly, on Commons we describe the digital images and on Wikidata we describe the objects. To say that an image is relevant to Aurangzeb, it should be put in the Aurangzeb category on Commons and the Wikidata representation of the object should also be linked to Aurangzeb. Some category tags are added as part of the bulk upload process — for instance the categories for each collection — but the more diversity there is in the collection, the more manual tagging is required. Collections like the Khalili Collection of Islamic Art and Khalili Collection of Enamels of the World contain many different kinds of object, so it is taking ongoing work to properly categorise them. OpenRefine software and the Wikidata/Wikipedia extension for Google Sheets have both been very useful in speeding up the Wikidata process. Volunteer communities have also been very helpful in adding images to Commons categories.

Communications strategy

The Khalili Collections are active in developing their main web site, on social media, and with various content partnerships. These different activities support each other:

  • The Google Arts and Culture partnership created super-high-resolution images which were awarded Featured Image status when shared on Wikimedia Commons.
  • The WIR searched through academic literature to get additional sources for articles, and thus has discovered positive reviews which are now quoted on the main web site. One paper named a Quran folio as from the "Codex Parisino-petropolitanus" and the catalogue was updated to reflect this new name.
  • DYK links appearing on the front page of Wikipedia are an "event" that social media can draw attention to.
  • The main site monitors and archives the Collections' media coverage, and this has been extremely useful for sourcing Wikipedia articles.
  • The visualisations created in Wikidata have been used to explore new ways to present the Collections on the main web site.

Distinct, complementary roles have been established for the web site (complete and authoritative), social media (time-sensitive and responsive) and Wikimedia (long term, mixing images and text from multiple sources).

To summarise key achievements in terms of reach:

  • Views on uploaded images: 33.7 million. This number excludes views for images that were included on the English Wikipedia front page in the Did You Know? section. These added 15.5 million further views (Images uploaded: 1,163)
  • Khalili Collections images are now used in 71 Wikimedia sites, up from 50 last year (data from BaGLAMa2)
  • Views of articles about the Collections, including the Nasser Khalili article: 62,492 in English; 23,803 in other languages (mainly Persian) (data from Pageviews and Langviews)
  • Views on other articles created by this project: 41,628 (data from Pageviews)

Programme 2: Developing Digital Literacy


Strategic goal: Work with the Wikimedia projects to develop digital, data and information literacy

Theory of change

Access to high quality, neutral information based on reliable sources helps to create a shared understanding of the world, and is important to the creation of a tolerant and democratic society. However, this is being undermined by increasingly widespread misinformation and disinformation. To counter this, Wikimedia UK works with educators and other partners to develop digital literacy skills, with a focus on information, media and data literacy.

Long term outcome:

People in the UK are able to understand and effectively engage with open knowledge, creating high levels of information literacy which underpins civil society and democratic processes.

Full logic model

Context / background

In the UK, as in other parts of the world, societal fragmentation is increasing, driven by media and political polarisation, and fuelled by misinformation and disinformation. Wikimedia can play an important role in combating these issues, and in developing the information and media literacy skills that are fundamental to a well functioning civil society. Wikimedia UK believes that engaging with the Wikimedia projects – particularly through becoming a contributor – enables learners to understand, navigate and critically evaluate information as well as develop an appreciation for the role and importance of open education. Using Wikimedia in the curriculum can teach students key skills in information literacy, collaboration, writing, editing, information synthesis, source evaluation and data science.

Resonance with the global strategy

This programme strand also maps broadly to Recommendation 8: Topics for Impact, however the movement strategy initiative regarding misinformation (8.36) is focused on the threat to our projects, rather than on equipping young people with the skills and knowledge to recognise misinformation.


Indicator 2020/21 end

year results

2021/22 end

year results

3. Participants 3,250 2,291
4. Newly registered editors 282 718
13. Articles added/improved 2,885 57,677
7. Volunteer hours 11,326 11,929
1. Total audience and reach 3,335 2,378
5. Leading volunteers 85 113
14. Articles added 2,128 360
19. Number of courses we work with (annual) 9 11
20. Improved digital skills 3,521 up from 3.45 to 3.48
21. Inclusion in courses and curricula 2 (Islamic Art at Edinburgh, Art and Law at Exeter) 4 (Arts and Ethics at Edinburgh College, two modules of International Education at University of Sussex, Wikipedia and Contemporary Africa at the University of Dundee in Scotland)

Highlights of programme activity


Higher education's engagement with Wikimedia as a digital literacy tool

We worked with 11 university courses in 2021-22. Encouragingly, in Autumn we were able to launch four Wikimedia in the Classroom courses, including one partnership with a Further Education institution (Edinburgh College). We continue to steer the course content towards knowledge areas of strategic importance for us. For example, this year the Translation Studies MSc Wikipedia assignment at Edinburgh University is inviting students to consider how best to support global understanding of Black and postcolonial history through their 2,000 word translation assignment.

Due to the long standing nature of some of our key education projects, we are able to cross-pollinate and make connections between activities in different areas. One example of an exciting connection made between projects was the History of Art course at Edinburgh University (run by Islamic Art lecturer). Thanks to our regular Wikimedian in Residence meetings we connected this to the work at Khalili Collections - the resident there gave a guest lecture on Islamic Art 650-1250 collection held at Khalili, using Wikidata to order art by date. This visualisation was inspiring for the students and may lead to a further collaboration.

We concluded the delivery year with our annual digital skills survey which showed incremental increases across all areas surveyed (Finding information online, Creating online content, Collaborating online, Identifying reliable information, Understanding and using data, Understanding open knowledge, Understanding open data, Understanding copyright and the public domain). 70 students filled in the pre-course surveys and 14 completed the post-course survey. Students gave their answers as a score out of ten, with 0 meaning they had low confidence in their understanding of the above, 10 meaning they had high confidence, and 5 meaning they were neutral. On average, across all 8 areas, students gave a score of 6.90 before their course and 6.95 afterwards. The previous two years used a score out of 5, so this score was equivalent to 3.45 before the course, increasing to 3.48 afterwards on the previous scale. In 2018-19, the scores increased from 3.80 to 3.93.

Wikimedia in Schools

Earlier this year our Development team was successful in securing a £9k grant from the National Lottery Community Fund for a ‘Supporting Young People Through Digital Literacy’ project in partnership with MenterMon in Wales. This funding gives us a chance to re-energise the education work in schools in Anglesey, and consider scaling up the work across Wales - implementation will start in Spring 2022. Two other education leads that we are currently developing are:

  • School Library Association, where we delivered a talk to school libraries about how to talk to pupils about using Wikipedia. We will be following up to see if there is scope for a deeper collaboration
  • British Library's learning team, who run regular education programmes for school children. We are pitching two education sessions linked initially to the upcoming News exhibition, with the potential to lead to a longer collaboration between Learning and Wikimedia UK.

Challenges, Changes, Learning and next steps


Compare to our proposal


Throughout the year we have been hearing about the pandemic-related challenges that universities are facing - after a lot of disruption and changes in delivery, the students have been returning to in-person teaching, but are experiencing mental health challenges and burn out. Our work has also been disrupted more recently by university strikes in the UK (over pensions, pay and working conditions).

The student internship case studies booklet, prepared by Dr. Sara Thomas

Learning, adaptations

In terms of institution-wide work with universities, we have picked up on a growing interest in working with interns - several residents have been connecting to their institutions’ internship schemes already, with positive results. Responding to this trend we’ve put together an internship case study this material gives us a great opportunity to expand work with existing leads and advocate for benefits of wiki collaborations with potential partners.


See our next activity plan

We plan to continue working in partnership with the higher education sector in the delivery of institution-wide Wikimedian in Residence programmes and course-level participation in the creation of open knowledge through Wikimedia in the Classroom assignments. A particular focus of our work in the next three years will be to scale up our activities in the formal education sector, developing a UK-wide offer for secondary schools. This will require external funding as well as multi-partner working. At a public policy level, we will continue to participate in cross-sector and interdisciplinary initiatives to advocate for the importance of information literacy skills across society, and to lobby for the inclusion of Wikimedia within education curricula.

Case study

 International Education at the University of Sussex

Over the last year the University of Sussex emerged as a hub of Wikimedia activity. Our engagement with universities usually falls into one of three categories: Wikimedians in Residence, standalone workshops for staff or students, or supporting individual courses. WIRs give us the opportunity to work on sustainable practice, and while the other activities are valuable to our work they don’t always lead to the opportunity for strategic conversations due to staff capacity. Sussex was more unusual since several staff in different parts of the university collaborated on discussions around Wikimedia engagement and howwe can facilitate it. It is an interesting case study in how a community at an institution can work together to engage with Wikimedia.

In the summary of 2020, a group of researchers and learning technologists at the University of Sussex approached Wikimedia UK for advice on using Wikipedia in the classroom. Dr. Nimi Hoffmann, Lecturer in International Education and Development, had used it before when teaching at Rhodes University in South Africa and brought that knowledge and experience to a new setting.

WMUK have supported this group, helping them develop their course and plan how students can engage with Wikipedia. We have been able to help with understanding how tools such as the Outreach Dashboard work and can be applied to a classroom course, and provided training on wiki editing for the students. We also made use of open educational resources such as the University of Edinburgh’s how-to-edit videos. Q4 saw the first module at the university use Wikipedia as a learning tool; a class of forty first-year undergraduate students picked topics relating to international education, focusing on topics relating to the global south, and began working on them in their sandboxes and reviewing their peers’ work.

Dr. Hoffmann developed a series of tasks to scaffold student learning and help them progress in their understanding of Wikipedia. Paolo Oprandia, Senior Learning Technologist, was especially interested in this approach because writing for Wikipedia rather than an essay is a more authentic assignment.

“Student assessment tasks, such as essays and examinations, and the skills they require, are unlikely to be needed again outside of education and the students’ demonstration of their learning is contained to a restricted academic audience. At the University of Sussex many academic Schools and Departments are looking at how they can add more authentic assessments to their modules.

Wikipedia assessments can be thought of as authentic assessments. They require students to share fully referenced knowledge to a global audience. They can get students to think very differently about their assessment challenge and although they can be daunting, through the right support they are often inspiring and promote deeper thinking and criticality. Furthermore, contributing to Wikipedia increases their citizenship and agency and these match the aspirations we have for our graduates as outlined in our 2025 strategic framework.”

Nimi explained the support the students were given:

“The module has focused on scaffolding the task of writing a Wikipedia article as carefully as possible so as to ensure all students are able to produce a piece of work that they feel comfortable to publish if they choose to do so. The article was broken up into smaller tasks – choosing a topic, choosing key references, developing an annotated bibliography, and then writing a draft. I then randomly allocated their anonymised drafts to two other peers, who provided anonymous detailed written feedback and comments using the marking rubric. Following this, we had a peer assessment workshop composed of three parts:

  1. a group discussion on what they learnt from assessing others
  2. their own plan on how they intend to improve their draft on the basis of the feedback they received
  3. my own general feedback on their drafts.

After the workshop, students then revised and submitted their final drafts for a final assessment. Although this final assessment contributes to their year mark, I have worked to provide detailed comments so that they can also use this assessment to improve their article before publishing it.” The lessons from this module will have an immediate impact: Dr. Hoffmann is running another module next semester for 100 second-year undergraduate students, again with support from Wikimedia UK. Wikipedia editing opens the door to multi-lingual contributions, which will be an option for the forthcoming module. Importantly, Dr. Hoffmann is actively documenting her experiences and the approaches used so that it may be applied to other courses and offered as an option for other parts of the university.

Programme 3: Changing Policy and Practice


Create changes in policy and practice that enable open knowledge to flourish

Theory of change

Open access to information is a fundamental right and a prerequisite to building understanding. Political and market forces in the UK strive towards keeping information closed and inaccessible. Advocacy work is needed to create change and generate wider access.

Long term outcome:

Our work has significantly increased free, online access to knowledge and information.

Full logic model

Context / background

This programme is about the changes that we are working towards at an institutional, sectoral and public policy level to enable open knowledge to flourish. It involves a wide range of activities and local, national and international partnerships across a range of sectors, with a particular focus on culture, education, the open movement and civil society. Our Wikimedians in Residence are particularly crucial in helping us to achieve institutional change, advocating for open policies and practice and working to develop and embed these to ensure sustainability.

Our advocacy work can relate to any of our programmatic themes, like digital literacy or underrepresented knowledge. In the future we also envisage working on open knowledge advocacy around our new Climate and Environment theme - this means changing policy and practice of content holding organisations, enabling them to share knowledge relating to climate change, just as we do in other areas of our work (it does not involve climate policy lobbying).

Resonance with the global strategy

Advocacy for open knowledge is distributed across the 2030 strategy, with two focus areas:

  • 1.3 Increased awareness about the Wikimedia movement
  • 3.20 Advocacy - local capacity development

Our work strongly resonates with ‘1.3 Increased awareness about the Wikimedia movement’, where promoting open knowledge and Wikimedia is seen as being key to movement sustainability. As identified by our theory of change for advocacy, access to knowledge can be restricted for a variety of reasons. A key barrier can be a lack of understanding of the benefits (and risks) of sharing knowledge openly. Through a combination of delivery, evaluation and research, Wikimedia UK now has the arguments and successful case studies to change minds and practice on this.

Through our Wikimedians in Residence, Wikimedia UK is also helping to deliver  ‘3.20 Advocacy - local capacity development’, and would be happy to share our learning with the movement.


Metric 2020/21

end year results


end year results

3. Participants 2,040 682
7. Volunteer hours 3,426 2,910
5. Leading volunteers 90 32
22. Policy touchpoints 2 17
23. Policy change 8 10

Highlights of programme activity


We ended the year with a strong result - there have been 17 high level ‘policy touchpoints’, and 10 significant policy changes. This includes things such as changing licensing policies at partner organisations, formalising Wikimedian in Residence projects, and the open access policy at UK Research and Innovation.

Organisational Change Towards Openness

In 2021 we’ve been successful in launching, formalising or extending a number of Wikimedian in Residence partnerships, showing the willingness of our partner organisations to work with open knowledge. To showcase an overview of our current Wikimedians in Residence:

  • Jason Ewans @ National Library of Wales (permanent)
  • Ewan McAndrews @ Edinburgh University (formal, ongoing)
  • Martin Poulter @ Khalili Collections (formal, ongoing)
  • Lucy Hinnie @ British Library (formal, till March 2023)
  • Hope Miyoba @ Science Museum (formal, till July 2022)
  • Lucy Panesar @ University of the Arts London (formal, till June 2022)
  • Adam Harangozó @ National Institute for Health Research (formal, till June 2022)
  • Aaron Morris @ Mentermon (formal, till Dec 2022)
  • Laura Noakes @ Devil’s Porridge (formal, till June 2022)
  • Alice White @ Wellcome (informal, ongoing)
  • Doug Rock-Macqueen @ Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (informal, ongoing)
  • Maddy Goodall @ Humanists UK (informal, till Dec 2022)

Some of the specific changes that we were able to facilitate include:

  • Following successful fundraising the British Library project has been extended. The resident is leading a programme of internal advocacy which is starting to bear fruit.
  • The Science Museum residency has been extended, for 6 months until mid-2022, to help continue the image sharing process.
  • The role of Humanist Heritage Coordinator at Humanists UK (which encompassed Wikimedian in Residence) has been extended to the end of 2022. Regular Wikimedia work is intended for the remainder of the project, including regular edit-a-thons (planned themes include education, war and peace, feminism, and environmentalism), and the potential for digitised materials to be added to Commons and Wikisource.
  • In late summer we were contacted by the National Institute for Health Research who were advertising for a 6-month Wikimedian in Residence, asking for support in advertising the post. We instead negotiated a partnership relationship, which formalised our support for the post. We supported the recruitment process, with the residency starting in December.
  • We have been informally collaborating with the Devil’s Porridge museum for a year. Thanks to the success of that initial period, the museum decided to extend the post for a year. We sought a closer collaboration with the institution, and were able to sign a formal memorandum of understanding towards the end of Q4. The upcoming work is likely to involve creating items on Wikidata and some visualisation, showing that the organisation is excited about deepening their involvement with Wikimedia projects.
  • Connected to the above, at the start of the year we got contacted by Rotherwas Together, a community heritage project about a local munitions factory in Hereford. They have been inspired by the Wikipedia work that the Devil's Porridge Museum, and indeed attended one of the wiki events hosted by Devil’s Porridge. We now started collaborating with Rotherwas Together within the Connected Heritage programme.

Sector-wide Advocacy

  • Earlier this year the Director of Programmes participated in a AHRC-funded book writing sprint aiming to ​capture and disseminate the state of the art and promote knowledge exchange in crowdsourcing and digitally-enabled participation (with a UK/US lens). This resulted in an open access book, The Collective Wisdom Handbook, and will be followed up by a white paper with recommendations for funders. The book highlights a few of Wikimedia UK’s projects, promoting our work within this area. Bearing in mind that a lot of our work in heritage involves crowdsourcing activities, this could have a significant impact on awareness of our work.
  • Our Connected Heritage programme is having an impact on the UK heritage sector, with the project becoming well recognised. A talk on the project was requested by the British Library Wiki Wednesday programme; we were also invited to speak about it at the global Wikimedia Foundation’s GLAM office hours.
  • At the National Library of Wales, the resident put together a grant application with UCL for funding to develop a GLAM sector tool for gauging impact of open collections on Wikimedia. In a similar vein, an intern working with the resident at the Edinburgh University wrote a report on potential impact of Library and University Collections engagement with Wikimedia. This extensive piece of work is available on Wikimedia Commons.

Public policy and legislation

We continued to identify key levers for policy and advocacy work, with a focus on presenting at events and conferences, participating in one-to-one or group meetings about specific policy themes, and responding to relevant consultations. To highlight key engagements:

  • The Westminster Media Forum’s copyright policy seminar in February, where our CEO contributed to a panel discussion focused on stakeholder perspectives on the future of UK copyright. You can watch/listen to her talk here.
  • Our CEO has been supporting the work of the Creative Commons Copyright Platform Working Group on the Ethics of Open Sharing. This resulted in a policy position paper on the Ethics of Open Sharing, published on and promoted on social media, which was launched at an online event in November.
  • In August, our CEO attended the inaugural meeting of the Media and Information Literacy Alliance (MILA). The alliance is being convened by CILIP but aims to be a cross-sector group of organisations and individuals who share a common belief in the power of media and information literacy to help people lead happier, healthier, safer and more productive lives.
  • In liaison with Creative Commons and Dimi Dimitrov (EU Advocacy Director), we responded to a consultation conducted by the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO). This was a post-implementation review of the repeal of section 52 of the CDPA 1988, with our position being that the change led to an expansion of rights to the detriment of the public domain.
  • A more substantial piece of work was our response to the call to evidence on the Draft Online Safety Bill which is currently going through pre-legislative scrutiny. This could potentially have quite a serious impact on Wikipedia and our CEO consulted with Jimmy Wales, the Wikimedia Foundation, Creative Commons and the Open Rights Group regarding our response to the consultation.
  • In December our CEO attended a consultation roundtable on AI and IP, organised by the UK Government’s Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO). Wikimedia intersects with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in two major ways. Firstly, we develop AI/ML tools to assist editors in improving the projects, such as finding gaps in Wikipedia’s coverage, or identifying poor quality articles or edits. Secondly, the projects are designed to be used, reused, and repurposed, and since they are freely licensed, they are frequently used in training AI/ML systems.

Challenges, Changes, Learning and next steps


Compare to our proposal


There are many positive changes we were able to facilitate this year, as outlined above. In the background though there is a general threat and challenge of organisations stepping back from commitments to open access and open knowledge in the UK. In conversations with fellow open knowledge advocates we are learning that increasingly staff need to re-argue for openness at their organisations, even if previously the attitude was to support open knowledge. At Wikimedia UK we have built a good case for open knowledge, but it would be wrong to assume a smooth progression towards openness. Continuing to build a strong case for open knowledge remains very important. With this in mind, In Spring 2022 we will be involved in a UCL-led research into developing a tool for measuring potential impact/reach of linked open collections on Wikipedia.

Learning, adaptations

There are a number of emerging opportunities to advocate for the timeliness and usefulness of open knowledge and our work in the UK. In a study of the impacts of Covid-19 on the UK’s cultural industries, the Centre for Culture Value states that ‘many cultural organisations re-evaluated their purpose and their relevance to local communities’ and that ‘While the shift to digital transformed cultural experiences for those already engaged with cultural activities, it failed to diversify cultural audiences’. Wikimedia UK’s programmes could help to address both of these challenges.

Further, National Lottery Heritage Fund is planning to continue its support for digital skills in the heritage sector, planning projects to ‘develop digital business models and services, build digital leadership and leverage the power of digital volunteers.’ This comes from their recognition that throughout the pandemic heritage organisations have increased their support of staff in acquiring the necessary digital skills for core business activities, but that less progress has been made on digital strategy and innovation.


See our next activity plan

Advocacy for open knowledge will become one of the underpinning ‘pillars’ working across our strategic programme delivery (see the 2022-25 strategic context at the start of the report). Much of our efforts to change the policy and practice towards openness will remain, we will also continue to track our success in this area via policy metrics.

Case study

 National Lottery Heritage Fund license change

The National Lottery Heritage Fund - formerly the Heritage Lottery Fund - is the largest dedicated funder of heritage in the UK. It distributes National Lottery funding to heritage projects across the UK, in grants ranging from £3000 to over £5million. It also provides leadership, support and advice across the heritage sector.

Many projects funded by NLHF result in digital outputs such as images, research, educational materials, project reports, software, web and app content, databases, 3D models, sound and video recordings. For many years, the default licence that grant recipients were required to apply to these outputs was a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license (CC-BY-NC). This meant that this content couldn’t be shared to Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects, as these require a more open license (specifically, one that doesn’t prohibit commercial use).

Staff and trustees at Wikimedia UK, as well as many volunteers and partners, were concerned by this policy. We believed that readers of Wikipedia and the other projects were missing out on a significant amount of heritage related content that could have been used and reused for a wide range of purposes, including education. We felt that digital resources funded by the public should remain freely and openly accessible to the public. We also recognised that many organisations funded by NLHF struggled to ensure that the digital outputs they created through their heritage projects were preserved for the long term, as this often requires ongoing costs such as website maintenance.

Over the years, the Wikimedia UK community had made a number of efforts to advocate for a change of policy to one that would require a more open licence by default. This included meetings between the Chief Executive and senior staff at the Fund, as well as lobbying and advocacy by other staff and volunteers. We knew that it was important to make the case for change, and were able to draw on some very impressive statistics from partners such as the National Library of Wales, National Library of Scotland and Wellcome Library, where open licensing has resulted in billions of views of heritage content. However, large institutions often move quite slowly; which for a small charity working within an online movement can be quite frustrating. We also knew from our work in partnership with the cultural and education sectors that radical change will usually only take place with a committed internal champion. We were therefore very pleased when a long term open knowledge advocate and former Chair of Wikimedia UK, Josie Fraser, joined the Fund as their new Head of Digital Policy at the start of 2020.

Our renewed optimism proved to be well founded. Josie lost no time in forming a new Licensing Review Advisory Group to consider the licensing requirements for grant recipients, and invited Wikimedia UK’s Chief Executive to join this group. One of the charity’s trustees, Kelly Foster, was also on the group in her capacity as a public historian and open access advocate and practitioner. The group’s remit was to advise on the Fund’s future licensing requirements, acting as a critical friend during the policy development process. The group reviewed different options, helped to shape the policy recommendations, explored critical and complex questions relating to ethical issues and potential exceptions, and helped to refine the draft policy text.

In September 2021, the Fund launched their new policy, which requires grant recipients to release the digital outputs of funded projects under a CC-BY 4.0 licence. This policy change is significant as it opens the door to using and reusing the wealth of resources funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund now and in the future. This could include use in educational resources by schools, the curation of digital resources across collections and organisations or extending the reach of UK heritage through open knowledge platforms such as Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata.

Of course, another positive outcome of the change in policy is that it has become possible for Wikimedia UK to apply for funding from NLHF ourselves. In March 2021, we were delighted to secure a grant of £120,000 through their Digital Skills for Heritage initiative. This funding enables us to develop open knowledge skills, tools and communities of practice for sustainable digital preservation, with a particular focus on increasing access to underrepresented cultural heritage.

 A year of the Connected Heritage project (NLHF funded)

The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns highlighted the importance of digital engagement for cultural heritage organisations. With collections accessible only via the Internet for many months, being able to share knowledge and expertise online was increasingly important. The National Lottery Heritage Fund instigated the Digital Skills for Heritage initiative to help organisations acquire essential digital skills.

With increased fundraising capacity in 2020, Wikimedia UK were well placed to apply for a grant to support a new project: one which works to help staff and volunteers in the cultural heritage sector learn how to engage with Wikimedia projects.

In March 2021 WMUK were informed that we had been successful in our application and could begin our ‘Connected Heritage’ project, which would run until the end of March 2023. The intention was to provide a series of webinars for people to learn about Wikimedia projects, and from these interactions build collaborations which could take the form of training events for staff and volunteers, editathons, and mini-Wikimedian in Residency projects where we work with an organisation to build sustainable change and work with the Wikimedia projects. In doing so, we are prioritising working with under-represented groups, especially around gender and language.


To carry out the work, it was decided to employ two 0.5 FTE Digital Skills Wikimedians (Leah Emary and Lucy Hinnie) and have a project lead from the existing programmes team (Richard Nevell). The new staff started in August and during September Leah and Lucy prepared the content for the webinars, advertised the events, and started planning for the follow-on editathons. The webinar series began with four events in October, and repeated events planned for November and December.

Leah and Lucy proactively contacted cultural and heritage organisations to invite them to the webinars and learn more about the project. There have been very positive responses, from groups such as the Mixed Museum and the Nottingham Black Archives. The events have also been promoted through the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The webinars are recorded and made available to participants after the event. We experimented with different days and options outside regular working hours to give an opportunity for people who may have other commitments. They have been an effective tool for engaging people, with more than 100 organisations represented in the audience across the webinar series. While the partners we will collaborate with are based in the UK, it has been interesting to see that we have had some international interest in the webinars. After the webinars, attendees are sent a survey to see how their digital fluency has changed.

Building on the success of the webinars, the team planned editathons open to potential partners to experience a live editing event and understand how it would apply to their circumstances, and use the template for direct collaborations. The first of these took place in November, and have since been replicated in February and March; we have editathons planned with several partners, and will be offering these to organisations interested in Wikimedia.

Alongside the webinars and editathons, the team set up office hours for prospective partners to discuss how we can work together, identify areas of work, and plan activities. The team have met with a range of organisations, from museums without walls to UK-wide educational organisations. It is clear that there is much interest in sharing information through the Wikimedia sites, and that the Connected Heritage project has an important role to help people learn best practice. The team have developed draft memoranda of understanding to be used when establishing a formal partnership with an organisation; these have been signed with two organisations and will be used again as the Connected Heritage project progresses. Given our finite time and resources, our areas of priority guide which organisations we work with; in cases where an organisation’s work may not align as strongly with the aims of the project, we endeavour to share self-led resources with them so that they can still share their knowledge.

To support our partnerships, especially those with whom we are collaborating more closely, the Connected Heritage team prepared a branding kit to help partners share information online; this provided sample messages as well as noting how to refer to WMUK and the NLHF. This document was prepared with feedback from the WMUK comms team and the NLHF.

Looking ahead to the 2022-23 activity year, we expect that the webinars will continue to be a useful way to raise the profile of the project and the charity, though these will be tailed off in favour of editathons and more emphasis on working with individual organisations. The team have worked on submissions for two conferences where they hope to be talking about the project, and have already been accepted to one of them. Work with organisations such as the Mixed Museum offer the chance to work on high-impact topics with organisations that can learn from the project and incorporate open practice in their work. Q1 of 2022-23 already has several editathons planned, and we are seeing partnerships develop from our webinars.

Programme 4: Growing Wikimedia UK’s Profile and Capacity


Develop our capacity and profile as a leading organisation for open knowledge

Theory of change

To successfully deliver our strategic goals above, we need to have a solid recognition and stature within the UK, international Wikimedia movement, and the global open knowledge movement. Otherwise our programmes will lack leverage, and, as a small organisation, we will lack impact. Further, we need volunteer capacity and financial sustainability to be able to plan impactful programmes long term.

Long term outcome:

Wikimedia UK is recognised as a leading organisation for open knowledge.

Full logic model

Context / background

Our fourth strategic aim is focused on developing Wikimedia UK’s capacity and profile, as this underpins the success of all of our other work. Some of the activities that fall under this programme strand are largely externally focused - such as volunteer development and international working - while others are more internally focused, such as fundraising and organisational development. In the first half of 2021 we invested a lot of work and thinking into our capacity building, drawing on new fundraising capabilities, starting to work on an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion framework, planning volunteer engagement projects, and reflecting on the future of in-person events. As the finance section further down evidences, we are also very pleased to be maintaining a strong position financially, particularly in the current challenging economic circumstances within the UK and globally.


Metric 2020/21 end year results 2021/22 end year results
1. Total audience and reach 104,266 49,289
2. Digital media reach 95,030 48,549
6. Female % of lead volunteers 51.87% 42.29%

8. Volunteers would recommend WMUK

9. Volunteers feel valued by WMUK

10. Volunteers have developed new skills

8 - 94.59%

9 - 100%





In-depth diversity stats for lead volunteers (annual) (narrative) In narrative of community leaders report 2020-21 In narrative of community leaders report 2021-22 - see below

Highlights of programme activity


General Outreach (increasing awareness and understanding of open knowledge and Wikimedia UK)

We have shown very strong performance on communications and promoting our work widely, connecting programme delivery to the work on raising awareness. This has been made possible by the restructure of communications and the creation of a new Development and Communications team, as described in the Fundraising Update below. One illustration of this renewed communications focus was our work for Women’s History Month in March 2021, which saw us deliver a series of conversations on YouTube with women leaders and activities within the Wikimedia movement (receiving over 550 views and 13k tweet impressions). Similarly, based on the campaign model, we have set up a number of opportunities for volunteer editors to participate in our work - this included the international WikiForHumanRights, and WikiLovesEarth (focusing on Wales and Ireland). We also delivered across our blog, social media platforms and a Tribute video to say ‘Thank You’ to volunteers on Appreciation Day. Across the week over 20k impressions were gained and audience engagement increased. On the 21st May, the UN’s World Day for Cultural Diversity, we launched research identifying Wikimedia projects’ Cultural Bias with an Op-Ed on Thomson Reuters Foundation News. The campaign simultaneously featured Wikimedia Foundation’s Diff, all our social channels and mailing groups.

Autumn/winter was busy with planning and execution of The Big Give Christmas Challenge campaign; driving awareness initially across our donor base in late November then the wider public in early December. We engaged multiple techniques across email, blog, social media and videos. The activity was a success with all of the £1.2k pledge (from a new Major Donor) match funded by 45 donors of which 15% were first time donors to Wikimedia UK. We also amplified a number of programme-related stories, including:

  • Towards a National Collection - launch of activity and celebration of Wikimedia UK inclusion across social media, website and blog.
  • Black History Month - focus on achievements across the last year, sharing stories of inclusion for Black men and women on Wikipedia. It also focussed on some key partnerships & collaborations such as FruitMarket, Women’s Classical Committee and the Decolonising Wikipedia Network.
  • Work with Foundation comms team on Jimmy Wales inclusion in UNESCO 20th Anniversary for Cultural Diversity - the invitation came through the partnership work with Khalili Collection.
One of the interviews conducted by WMUK for Women's History Month in 2021

Contributing to the Global Wikimedia Movement

Beyond ongoing engagement with the international Wikimedia 2030 strategy implementation conversations (which included language hub conversation with Wikimedia Norway, and a content partnership hub with Wikimedia Sweden), we promoted our work at a number of international engagements. Several Wikimedians in Residence were present at Wikimania talking about their work. British Library’s WIR talked about the Bengali Books competition (linked here), while our Director of Programmes supported the presentation on knowledge gaps research by Martin Poulter and Waqas Ahmed. We were also represented at the Wikidata Conference, supporting a Wikibase track together with Banner Repeater.

Another highlight in our international engagement was the Arctic Knot conference, a Sami languages-focused iteration of our annual Celtic Knot conference. Delivered in collaboration with Wikimedia Norway and Wikimedia Deutschland, and involving other movement players, it allowed us to highlight the work we’re doing to support language communities on wiki. We had presentations about Scots Wiki, Welsh language data from National Library of Wales, and a presentation from the Welsh Government about the importance of language diversity online, amongst other topics. As always we used the event as an opportunity to invite participants to look at small and underrepresented languages and their use on the Wikimedia projects. In addition to those small languages experience, we recognise that the Indigenous languages have a series of additional challenges. Arctic Knot provided space and focus for the Indigenous language communities to connect with each other and with others in the movement. We are now looking forward to working on the 2022 Celtic Knot.

Developing Volunteer Community

We delivered an exciting programme of volunteer support activities in 2021, with volunteer training, grants, support for on-wiki communities (Welsh, Scots), and volunteer programmes at partner organisations (especially Science Museum - see case study below).

In Autumn we designed, organised and delivered the Train the Trainer course. This was the first online iteration of the programme (we offered a course in 2021 which was an online delivery module for existing trainers) and we took time to make it relevant to the online environment. As usual we run a call for participation for the course, focusing on prospective trainers from diverse communities. ​​In the past, we’ve offered our main Train the Trainer programme as a 3-4 day in-person training course, and it has often focussed on training design and pedagogy. This time however, we’re taking a slightly different approach, which we hope will offer more flexibility to our volunteer trainers, and which we have developed in response to feedback from the community, and from partner organisations.  The aim of this round of training was to equip Volunteer Trainers with the skills, experience and resources to deliver a standard ‘Introduction to Wikipedia’, such that would take place at a standard online editathon or wiki workshop  Drawing on the experience of a number of trainers and staff, we have developed a set of training slides and exercises which can be delivered without the requirement for the Volunteer Trainer to do their own course design.  In time, and should they so desire, members of this cohort could be supported to deliver training in-person, and with their own design. Expressions of interest were welcomed from all, however given the current demographic mix of our training network, we were particularly interested in hearing from women, members of the LGBT+ community, and non-white people. 15 participants completed the course; we are currently working on follow ups with them which is focused on lining up practice editathons to solidify knowledge.

The call for participants for Train the Trainer

Wikidata Training for Community Leaders. In November, and as a result of requests which came through the most recent Community Leaders Survey, we designed and organised a series of Wikidata training sessions, run by Wikimedia UK trainer and Wikimedia in Residence at the Khalili Collections.  Following the survey feedback, these four half day sessions covered an introduction to Wikidata, a more advanced session, Wikidata for GLAM, and Wikidata in Education. In total we had 63 attendances over 4 sessions, with 39 individuals in total attending.  Feedback was generally very positive, and we believe that there would be scope to offer a similar, or perhaps more developed, series of events in the future.

“A good introduction that will enable me to plan how to integrate into individual, small group  and whole class projects.”

— Wikidata for Education participant

“I'd never before attempted any queries, so that was very helpful and fun.”

— Wikidata for GLAM participant

“Really interesting and useful examples - I like how the session was tailored to think so much about end uses for everything.”

— Taking Wikidata to the next level participant

Very good session. It covered a lot of content and it came out of it thinking that the best way to learn how to work with Wikidata is to spend time on it.

— Introduction to Wikidata participant

In terms of volunteer grants, we supported the Take the Lead! editing competition which took place in November resulted in 18 editors writing new or expanding too-small leads in 247 articles. Working on article leads is often neglected, but very important - especially with mobile use, where people mostly engage with just the beginning of an article. Pi bot run by a volunteer remained active, and in Q4 we connected its activity to a partnership with the British Library - the bot helped categorise a vast amount of British Library-related content previously uploaded onto Commons. This time consuming maintenance task helps generate accurate view and reuse stats, ultimately strengthening the Wikimedia case for support at the Library.

Over the summer the fundraising team organised participation grants for Wikimania, where we were able to support members of the international community in participation for the conference. In the UK a few Wicnicks were organised which offered a rare opportunity these days for volunteers to meet in person. We also facilitated access to football events for a volunteer who took some wonderful photos, subsequently shared on Commons. As a part of the larger website project, the programmes team also reviewed and rewrote the Volunteers (/Get Involved) sections, aiming to make a clearer case for engagement and support.

Annual Community Leaders Survey

Full report on our website

We had a total of 54 responses, up slightly from 2021 (48) but in line with 2020 (54).  The survey was sent to 292 individuals representing a 18.49% response rate.  The survey is sent to lead volunteers and lead partnership contacts.

As with last year, we have a broad positive feeling toward continuing work with the organisation, with 93.62% of respondents saying they would be likely to continue engaging or volunteering with us.  We also see a broad likelihood (91.49%) to recommend the organisation to others.

Of those who received training (68.09%), 93.75% found it relevant to their needs.  During this time period, and in response to the results of the 2020/1 survey, we ran a series of Wikidata training courses aimed at the Community Leaders group, and a Train the Trainer course, aimed at increasing and diversifying the volunteer pool.

80.85 % reported learning new skills as a result of engaging or volunteering with us.

Questions asked only of volunteers

95% of our volunteers reported feeling appreciated for the work that they do, 95% of volunteers enjoy the work they do, and 100% of volunteers felt that the work they do is important.  85% of volunteers feel supported by Wikimedia UK staff.  

60% of volunteers feel that volunteering increases their confidence by some degree.

When asked what they enjoyed about volunteering, we saw strong themes emerge of sharing skills and knowledge, contributing toward open knowledge and knowledge equity, of the experience of community, and connecting to others. Another recurrent theme was of empowerment, both personal, and of others.

When asked if there was anything we could do to improve their experience, we received a small number of comments, referring to support for volunteer groups; maintenance of “knowledge bank”; flexible working and accessibility; volunteer-staff relations, and technical issues around processes.  These are discussed in more detail in the full report.

Questions asked only of staff members at partner organisations

96.54% of leads at partner organisations rated support from Wikimedia UK as either “very good” or “good”. When asked to expand upon this we received nine responses. Comments were positive and enthusiastic . One particular comment mentioned close staff alignment with organisational mission and values.

When asked if there was something we could do to improve their experience, 17.24% said yes. Comments and suggestions focussed on tools for Wikimedia Commons, staff capacity, sector-specific guidance, and resources for editing.  These are discussed in more detail in the full report.

New questions

On whether engagement with Wikimedia had encouraged other forms of civic activity, we found some limited evidence that engagement with Wikimedia activities had prompted engagement in other activities, including having more confidence to ask for change in one’s community, expansion of knowledge directly influencing exhibition and public engagement activity, and involvement with education and community engagement.

On whether the pandemic had affected their engagement with Wikimedia, a full spectrum of answers was received, and there was no one clear majority effect.  Responses ranged from those for whom the pandemic has had no effect upon their engagement with Wikimedia, or has reduced it due to shifting work priorities, to those for whom the pandemic was responsible for engaging in the first place.

78.94% agreed to some degree with the statement  "I believe that Wikimedia UK volunteers and community leaders are treated fairly regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or other differences." Reflecting on comments received when asked to expand on their answers, there were different reported experiences between those engaging directly with Wikimedia UK, and those in other Wikimedia-related spaces, including some which may be (or may be viewed to be) adjacent to Wikimedia UK. A good point was raised about the need for additional support for those working “in difficult partner environments or with difficult collections”, and of the need for increased diversity in the volunteer pool.


We received 35 responses to the demographic survey, which is a separate survey, linked from the first.

In demographic, we see again that a high proportion of those who responded are female (65.71%), but with no representation from non-binary people, or trans individuals.  74.29% of respondents are straight/heterosexual, the majority are aged 40-69, all have a degree, and the group is overwhelmingly white. Clearly, there is a great deal of scope to improve diversity in this area.  

Given the small sample size, and that the respondent group includes a number of those working in Universities and cultural institutions, we would likely expect to see a high proportion of individuals who have been University educated, however a 100% response in this area offers scope for improvement.

Around one third of respondents have a physical or mental health condition lasting or expected to last 12 months or more.  This is a pertinent reminder that accessibility, of all forms, must be integrated into our work.

Challenges, Changes, Learning and next steps


Compare to our proposal


As outlined above, we have a lot of ideas for volunteer development, but there’s always a challenge of capacity. This is both for general training, and supporting specific communities - e.g. we think that the Scots Wikipedia community needs support and the credibility of a Scots speaker. These considerations were included in our plans for staffing and fundraising in 2022 and we look forward to tackling these challenges in the coming months.

Learning, adaptations

There is a developing interest within the cultural heritage sector in the concept of ‘digital volunteering’, with many funding calls to reflect that - for example there has been a National Lottery Heritage Fund call for this work. With the functionality of Wikimedia projects, which can allow for digital micro-volunteering, we are in a good place to tap into this trend - a more detailed description of this work is included in the case study below.

In terms of delivery adaptations, the Programmes team is noticing initial requests coming in for hybrid or in-person events. While it’s a challenge to deliver a hybrid event well, it does offer an opportunity to improve accessibility of the events we offer - especially when we move back to delivering in-person, which has obvious geographical limitations, for example.


See our next activity plan

Work within this area has always been multifaceted, relating to various aspects of our external profile, and internal sustainability. In the new 2022-25 strategy, this work will be housed under a number of strategic pillars, creating more clarity and focus:

  • ‘A thriving national and international community’ - volunteer support work
  • ‘Public profile and recognition of the organisation and Wikimedia projects’ - general comms work
  • ‘Organisational resilience and sustainability’ - Fundraising strategy, Internal sustainability goals, 2030 global strategy work.

Case study

 Virtual volunteering with GLAMs

In 2021-22 we saw an increase in Wiki related activity being offered by GLAM partners as a virtual volunteering option.

In early 2021 we continued our work with the National Galleries of Scotland. Museum staff were keen to keep volunteers engaged over lockdown with meaningful activity, and approached us in December 2020 to deliver a series of online training sessions for their museum volunteers who were, due to Covid-19 restrictions, unable to volunteer on-site. During March, NGS hosted a month-long editing campaign connected to International Women’s Day, where a small group of volunteers contributed over 50 hours to the project. Staff reported that the activity had not only “quickly become one of the most popular aspects of our online programme.” but had allowed volunteers to engage more deeply with collections material, as well as helping to raise the profile of under represented artists. We are hoping to further continue this work in 2022.

We also continued our work with the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh, with whom we’ve been lightly engaged for some years now. During 2021 we held three online editing events which focussed on artists of colour, with the research assistance of artist and cultural practitioner Tanatsei Gambura, with another event planned for April 2022. Over the course of those three events, 25 editors worked on 27 articles, with the research and worklists associated with or created for each event being noted on the Fruitmarket’s project page in order to help create momentum, and maximise future impact.

The Devil’s Porridge Museum employed a Research Assistant (Dr Laura Noakes) to work, in the first instance, on the Miracle Worker’s Project, which sought to research the workers at HM Factory, Gretna (primarily women), and edit Wikipedia with relation to those findings, and in particular, adding notable women to the encyclopedia. A main focus of this work has been the involvement of volunteers, and during 2021 we supported Dr Noakes to deliver four online editing events with staff and volunteers who had worked on the project. Dr Noakes is now comfortable delivering future sessions with minimal support from Wikimedia UK, and we have now signed a memorandum of understanding with the museum in order to deepen our engagement with their work, including the possibility of working with Wikidata to upload and visualise data.

Science Museum

The necessity of running online events during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the maturity of the online editathon as a product as developed during that same time frame, has allowed us to strengthen the case for Wiki-engagement as a meaningful form of virtual volunteering, which can both deepen volunteers’ engagement with research and collections, increase digital skills and confidence, and increase GLAM impact beyond their physical sites. It is also an activity which can transfer well into the realm of the hybrid event, and outwith the event setting, can be carried out at a volunteer’s own pace and to suit their availability. In all these ways, it allows increased accessibility options for volunteers.

The Science Museum Group have found that this volunteering has been valuable in increasing their digital proposition for volunteers. Previously the digital options were confined to blogging, which was harder to facilitate getting to a publishing stage. Additionally, there is an opportunity to combine both practices to describe aspects of collections that are less well documented. These could be the human stories behind objects, their manufacture and their use, and with that less well represented people such as women and people of colour.

Another key advantage of involving volunteers in Wikipedia is that they are able to find articles that would benefit from using specific images from the Science Museum collection, thereby reaching a larger audience. An example being the Ishiguro Storm Surge computer, with the image from the Science Museum Group collection receiving ~800 views a month, far in excess of the views the article it appears in receives itself (total: 910 over the same period).

Additionally, adding information to Wikidata items increases the understanding of the relationship between the encyclopedia and a more data aware approach to cataloguing heritage.

Digital volunteering holds a lot of promise. At Edinburgh University, our Wikimedian in Residence has set up the first iteration of ‘Digital Volunteering with Wikipedia’ - a new Edinburgh Award to accredit students for extended project work on Wikipedia. It commenced on 9 December 2021 and will conclude on 6 April 2022. This would allow the 13 students who have submitted their 400 word action plans to develop important information literacy, digital research, communication and collaborative skills ahead of the world of work and accredit them for undertaking 55 hours (or more) of Wikipedia work over an extended period. The first iteration has been negotiated in the University of Edinburgh Career Service.

Fundraising update


In June 2020, the Wikimedia Foundation confirmed that they were able to support Wikimedia UK’s application for a grant of £120,000 to finance a fundraiser for three years, with the goal to build Wikimedia UK's fundraising capacity in order to strengthen the financial resilience and sustainability of the chapter.

As outlined in the Half Year Update (scroll down to ‘Fundraising Update’), two new staff members were recruited late 2021 and early 2022 and a new Development and Communications team established. George Colbourn’s post of Fundraising Development Coordinator is funded entirely by the grant from the Foundation, with a small amount of the funding going towards Natasha’s post as team leader. The existing post of Communications and Governance Coordinator (Katie Crampton) completes this team.

The fundraising focus of the 2021-22 Interim Strategy was to stem donor attrition and grow unrestricted income from our donors, alongside developing restricted income from Trusts and Foundations to deliver project funding. It was a year of trial and review as we sought to understand what triggered current donors to stay engaged and what aspects of our work successfully recruited new donors.

Restricted funding finished the year 27% ahead of the Project Funding Budget at £72k. As an additional resource, our Fundraising Development Coordinator has been successful in researching and reaching out to potential funders; building a pipeline of expression of interests and applications where there was previously very limited activity. There continues to be joint conversations to understand and communicate the funding needs of the programmes team in relation to project funding.

Across unrestricted income we delivered year on year small donation (gifts under £1,000) growth, achieving our highest small donations income in 5 years, 5% ahead of the previous year at £214k. The Big Give Christmas Challenge trialled in December 2021 secured match funded donations & engaged a wider donor audience for future stewarding. All of the £1.2k pledge (from a new Major Donor) was match funded by 45 donors, of which 15% were first time donors to Wikimedia UK.

Regular Giving attrition was stemmed at 1% across the full year, it is possible this is a consequence of revised stewardship for donors. Additional review of this income stream shows the average donation amount increased from 2020-21 by 10p to £4.44. In a donor survey in February 2022 85% of respondents 'Agree' / 'Strongly Agree' with the statement 'Donating to Wikimedia UK made me feel I can make a meaningful difference to the Open Knowledge community.'

Major Donor income was revised down in Q3, however income ended the year 60% ahead of the Reforecast at £15k. Re-invigorating our Major Donor recruitment and stewardship is a focus for the next strategic period.

Revenues received during this period


Please use the exchange rate in your APG proposal.

Table 2 Please report all spending in the currency of your grant unless US$ is requested.

  • Please also include any in-kind contributions or resources that you have received in this revenues table. This might include donated office space, services, prizes, food, etc. If you are to provide a monetary equivalent (e.g. $500 for food from Organization X for service Y), please include it in this table. Otherwise, please highlight the contribution, as well as the name of the partner, in the notes section.
Revenue source Currency Anticipated Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Cumulative Anticipated ($US)* Cumulative ($US)* Explanation of variances from plan
Annual plan grant GBP 172500 86250 86250 86250 86250 345000 234859 469718 N/A
FDC Other Grant GBP 0 0 0 5236 0 5236 0 7129 N/A
Restricted Grants GBP 52286 0 59550 -12897 0 46653 71187 63518 See below
Donations GBP 84000 53990 47905 56288 72406 230589 114366 313947 See below
Gift Aid Claims GBP 7876 5277 4389 4839 6056 20561 10723 27994 See below
Gifts in kind and other income GBP 84771 48346 45025 65508 53334 212213 115416 288928 See below
Total GBP 401433 193863 243119 205224 218046 860252 546551 1171233 See below

* Provide estimates in US Dollars

INCOME Q2 cumulative Q1 Q2 alone Q3 cumulative Q3 alone Q4 cumulative Q4 alone
Annual Plan Grant               172,500                 86,250 86,250 86,250 86,250 258750 86250 86250 345000 86250 86250
Donations Received                 99,895                 51,990 47,905 153183 53288 213186 60003
Major Donors                   2,000                   2,000 53,990 0 47,905 5000 3000 56,288 16116 11116
Campaigns 1287 1287 72,406
Gift Aid Claims                   9,666                   5,277 5,277 4,389 4,389 14505 4839 4839 20561 6056 6056
FDC other grant                         -                           -   0 5236 5236 5236 5236 0 0
Gifts in Kind                 89,336                 45,144 44,192 129659 40323 179348 49689
Bank Interest Received                         11                           2 9 99 88 219 120
Training income                   4,024                   3,200 824 7224 3200 10749 3525
NLHF core recovery 21897 21897 0 21897 0
Resticted funding                 59,550                         -   59,550 59,550 46653 -12897 -12897 50489 3836
Other Miscellaneous Income 48,346 0 45,025 0 65,508 0 53,334
436,982 193,863 193,863 243,119 243,119 642,206 205,224 205,224 864,088 221,882 218,046

Spending during this period


Please use the exchange rate in your APG proposal.

Table 3 Please report all spending in the currency of your grant unless US$ is requested.

(The "budgeted" amount is the total planned for the year as submitted in your proposal form or your revised plan, and the "cumulative" column refers to the total spent to date this year. The "percentage spent to date" is the ratio of the cumulative amount spent over the budgeted amount.)
Expense Currency Budgeted Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Cumulative Budgeted ($US)* Cumulative ($US)* Percentage spent to date Explanation of variances from plan
SG1 GBP 85,295 20404 20398 18865 28758 88425 116129 120391 103.67%
SG2 GBP 76,501 18185 18233 17044 25710 79172 104156 107793 103.49%
SG3 GBP 31,532 6996 7205 7432 10513 32146 42930 43767 101.95%
SG4 GBP 17,550 746 1520 5157 7223 14646 23894 19940 83.45%
Fundraising GBP 15,500 3029 3900 3052 3759 13740 21103 18707 88.65%
Staff GBP 495,951 116204 118531 129777 125468 489980 675237 667107 98.80%
Overheads GBP 130,636 27931 34205 25695 24933 112765 177861 153529 86.32%
TOTAL GBP 852964 193495 203992 207022 226365 830874 1161310 1131234 97.41%

* Provide estimates in US Dollars

Financial commentary


Overall Position

The cumulative result to 31st January 2022 is a surplus of £61k, which is £30k more than the reforecast surplus of £31k. This is a result of significantly higher than reforecast income from major donors, and a net underspend of around £15k against reforecast across various expenditure lines. As a reminder, the original budget for the year was to breakeven, so this is a substantial surplus and increase to our free reserves.

Variances described in this commentary are against reforecast (available to share with the committee on request) unless otherwise stated and are rounded to the nearest thousand.

Balance sheet

After the transfer of £20k to a designated fund in Q1, at the end of the year other general (unrestricted) reserves stand at nearly £331k, a net increase of £40k over the opening position Restricted reserves, representing the grant from the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) to develop fundraising capacity, the Wikimania related grant and the NLHF grant are £89k. At £436k total cash deposits are 99% of total reserves.


Core Grant

At the end of the fourth quarter, 100% of the Wikimedia Foundation grant of £345k has been recognised as income.

We received two small additional grants from the Wikimedia Foundation during the year. One was to support participation in Wikimania and the other was for research into global knowledge gaps and high impact topics. The latter was spent within the year so has been treated as unrestricted income. As itemised under restricted grants, a small amount of the Wikimania grant for 2021 was unspent and, in agreement with WMF, is being carried forward for Wikimania 2022.  

Individual and Major Donations

As detailed in the separate Development report, individual donors gave £2k more than reforecast, ending the year at £213k. This is £21k (11%) ahead of the original budget.

Major donors, who were reforecast to give only £6k in total for the year, also significantly  exceeded that by £10k to reach £16k.

Partnership Projects (restricted)

The position in terms of partnership projects remains the same as at the end of Q3; except that the £9000 from National Lottery Community Fund has now been spent (in a grant to Menter Môn for the continuation of our joint education project, WiciMon). As reforecast at Q3 we did not raise the additional £11k in the budget for partnership projects; although this doesn’t impact on the bottom line as this was budgeted in both income and expenditure.

Gift Aid

Gift Aid claims have been calculated and those for Q4 were submitted after the quarter end. Gift Aid claims slightly exceeded expectations.


Gifts-in-Kind, totalling £179,348, are entirely in relation to Wikimedians in Residence:

National Library of Wales – 53,298

University of Edinburgh – 46,793

Banner Repeater - 5,000

Coventry University -5,470

Khalili Collections – 12,000

Science Museum - 28,000

British Library  - 19,608

National Institute for Health Research – 5,394

University of the Arts London – 3,785


Aside from the unspent general contingency the sole expenditure variance over the reporting limit of £3000 is an underspend of £4.5k on Other Staff Costs. This is mostly due to the research on knowledge gaps/high impact topics being forecast to come out of Other Staff Costs (where we had an underspend on the EDI budget line) but being accounted for as International Movement expenditure within the actual Q4 accounts. In addition, the scheduled staff Christmas lunch did not go ahead in the light of the rapid spread of Omicron.

Restricted Funds

At the start of the year we held two restricted funds, £120k from the WMF for building fundraising capacity and the second a £1k grant from Oliver Wright for Train the Trainers.  Of these £40k has been taken against fundraising staff costs and the Oliver Wright grant has been used entirely against train the trainers events.  Two new restricted grants have been added; from the WMF for Wikimania and the expected receipt from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. As shown in the separate report, there has been expenditure against both but both have a balance carried forward. As explained above the grant of £9,000 from National Lottery Community Fund for Wikimon was received and expended entirely during the year.

Variance regarding FDC Proposal Budget vs Actual budget

As stated in our proposal document for 2020/21, our internal planning cycle means that the budget provided at proposal stage is a draft. The final 2020/21 budget as agreed by the board contains some differences to this and as discussed above our reforecast during Q1 adds further differences, a summary of which can be found below:

Budget 2020/21 APG Final
Proposal Budget Change Reason for Change
INCOME £ £ £
Annual Plan Grant 345,000 345,000 -
Small donations 190,000 192,000 2,000
Gift Aid 17,000 18,000 1,000
Gifts in Kind 148,000 147,471 (529)
Major gifts/grants (core funding) 25,000 43,202 18,202 NLHF core costs recovery added
Major gifts/grants (project funding) 40,000 53,084 13,084 Original reduced and NLHF project costs added
Other income 1,000 4,600 3,600 Target for earned income increased
TOTAL PROJECTED INCOME 766,000 803,357 37,357
Volunteer and Community Support 11,000 11,000 -
Partnership programmes 12,500 12,500 -
Gifts in Kind 148,000 147,471 (529)
Projects (subject to additional external funding) 40,000 26,906 (13,094) Original reduced  and NLFH project costs added
External Relations and Advocacy 11,000 11,000 -
International 2,000 2,000 -
Fundraising costs (processing fees) 15,500 15,500 -
Premises 52,822 52,822 -
IT & Telephony 22,360 26,210 3,850 Increase in budget for external IT consultancy
Other Office Costs 13,554 13,554 -
Governance 4,000 4,000 -
Membership 150 150 -
Audit & Accountancy 10,100 8,700 (1,400) Decrease in audit fees after tender process
Staff salary and on costs 415,833 492,114 76,281 Staffing requirements adjustment and NLHF salaries
Staff Other Costs 6,950 19,200 12,250 Staff assistance programme and staff away day added
General Contingency - 6,000 6,000 Contingency reintroduced
TOTAL BUDGETED EXPENDITURE 765,769 849,127 83,358
BUDGETED SURPLUS/(DEFICIT) 231 (45,770) (45,647)



Is your organization compliant with the terms outlined in the grant agreement?


As required in the grant agreement, please report any deviations from your grant proposal here. Note that, among other things, any changes must be consistent with our WMF mission, must be for charitable purposes as defined in the grant agreement, and must otherwise comply with the grant agreement.

  • None other than outlined per programme in the section 'Challenges, Changes, Learning and next steps' - all compliant with the roles as outlined.

Are you in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations as outlined in the grant agreement? Please answer "Yes" or "No".

  • yes

Are you in compliance with provisions of the United States Internal Revenue Code (“Code”), and with relevant tax laws and regulations restricting the use of the Grant funds as outlined in the grant agreement? Please answer "Yes" or "No".

  • yes


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