Grants:APG/Proposals/2020-2021 round 1/Wikimedia UK/Progress report form
Purpose of the reportEdit
This form is for organizations receiving Annual Plan Grants to report on their progress after completing the first 6 months of their grants. The time period covered in this form will be the first 6 months of each grant (e.g. 1 January - 30 June of the current year). This form includes four sections, addressing grant metrics, program stories, financial information, and compliance. Please contact APG/FDC staff if you have questions about this form, or concerns submitting it by the deadline. After submitting the form, organizations will also meet with APG staff to discuss their progress.
High level summaryEdit
There is no doubt that the world in 2021 continues to be a very different place to the one that we have all known prior to 2020 and the onset of a global pandemic. Whilst open knowledge, and our work, continues to be about so much more than Covid-19, the UK is still grappling with the disease and the impact it is having on our lives and livelihoods. As 2021 progresses, we have continued to see substantial disruption to the cultural, education and civic society sectors across the country, which in turn is affecting Wikimedia UK’s programme delivery. However, as a chapter, we can feel proud of the flexibility, resilience, creativity and compassion that Wikimedia UK’s staff and volunteers have shown in adapting to the situation and developing meaningful work that continues to advance our cause. This report is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all of our projects and partnerships; but we hope that it provides an interesting snapshot of these activities, and the key achievements and challenges within each of our four programme strands during the first half of 2021/22.
- WMUK’s Strategic Framework for 2019–2022
- Metrics and programme framing
- Key aspects of strategic context for the UK for the current delivery year 2021-22 (from the perspective of October 2019)
- Our programme proposal for the current year 2021-22
Shared here are a number of reports, articles and research papers relating to some key issues for the cultural, education and civil society sectors in the UK, that underpin our own organisational priorities. This is not an exhaustive list but gives a flavour of the current context and external environment that informs the chapter’s work:
- Decolonisation of museums a key trend in the UK
- Decolonising curriculums of increasing interest within UK universities - e.g. 'Decolonising the curriculum: what’s all the fuss about?' and Academics: it's time to get behind decolonising the curriculum
- Arts Council England to introduce a ‘decolonisation’ checklist for content-holding organisations
- Fake news and digital literacy within the English school curriculum
- Online Harms White Paper could put restrictive requirements on Wikipedia in the UK
- Building internal Wikimedia UK resilience, move to online delivery, to support the changes experienced by the GLAM sector
Metrics and results overview - all programsEdit
|Metric||End of the Year Targets||Achieved at half year mark||Explanation / examples of activities|
|Participants GM1||7,000||3,850||This includes students taking part in Wikipedia in Classroom courses, workshops, project grants, conferences, training events, meetups, and our annual AGM.|
|Newly registered editors GM2||1,200||457||People involved in work carried out by our residents, participating in Wikipedia in Classroom courses, and editathons organised across the UK.|
|Articles added/improved GM3||450,000||539,652||This figure includes Wikipedia and Wikidata 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. 22K new articles and 142K articles edits including Wikidata items.|
|Volunteer hours||25,000||9,568||Volunteer Hours: 4027 hours come from Wikipedia in Classroom courses, 6726 comes from people attending editathons, workshops, talks, the AGM, and participating in grants.|
|Total audience and reach (online or in person engagement with Wikimedia UK)||75,000||54,435||Includes 50,082 social media subscribers, 3,850 attendees, and 197 leading volunteers.|
It is clear that a number of our metrics results are being affected by the pandemic context. In a normal year we would have much more education courses participation, for example, which require a significant amount of volunteer support - which for example would have resulted in a much higher level of ‘volunteer hours.’
Our ‘total audience reach’ metric is being disrupted by how various social media platforms changed their audience analytics. We hope this will be resolved in the autumn.
All metrics totals for all programmesEdit
For metrics disaggregated by programmes, see individual sections per programme below, for example programme 1. Numbering on the left is consistent throughout the report.
We have introduced several new metrics in the 2019-22 strategy, for further explanation and context see our 2019-20 impact report.
|Metric||2021-22 half year results|
|1||Total audience and reach (direct engagement) (grant metric)||54,435|
|2||Digital media reach||50,082|
|3||Total participants (grant metric, GM1)||3,850|
|4||Number of newly registered users (grant metric, GM2)||457|
|5||Number of leading volunteers||503|
|6||% of leading volunteers who are women||197 (39.17%)|
|7||Estimated number of volunteer hours (grant metric)||9,568|
|8||Volunteers would recommend WMUK (annual)||n/a|
|9||Volunteers feel valued by WMUK (annual)||n/a|
|10||Volunteers have developed new skills (annual)||n/a|
|11||Images/media added to WM Commons||6,298|
|12||Images/media added to WM article pages (and %)||1,261|
|13||Content pages created or improved, across all WM projects excl. Commons (grant metric, GM3)||539,652|
|14||Number of articles created||189,347|
|15||Reach of content - image/article views||Articles: 247,513,482
|16||Content diversity - % of events where the focus is on underrepresented content||n/a|
|17||Language diversity - how many languages have we worked across (annual)||16/88/39/638|
|18||Geographical reach - % of events outside of London||70 out of 102 (68%)|
|19||# education courses we work with (annual)||n/a|
|20||Digital skills - Improved skills and confidence (annual)||n/a|
|21||New inclusion in courses and curricula (annual)||n/a|
Note re metric 17:
Articles were created in 15 languages (EN, CY, Sco, KW, AR, IT, ES, EL, TR); articles improved during this period were edited in 83 languages (EN, CY, KW, Sco, FR, DE) mostly coming from the ‘Support of Celtic Languages’ run by Robin Owain in Wales, the Wikimedian Residency at the National Library of Wales and the Women in Red editing group at the University of Edinburgh; smaller edits come from editathons, education courses, workshops and training sessions. The images uploaded to Commons appeared in over 300 different Wikis, including 39 language versions (CY, EN, ES, FR, Sco, RU, etc.).
Telling your program stories - all programsEdit
Programme 1: Creating Knowledge EquityEdit
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.
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.
|Indicator||2019/20 half year achieved||2020/21 half year achieved||2021/22 half year achieved|
|3. Participants (GM1)||546||1,687||2,619|
|4. Newly registered editors (GM2)||203||275||256|
|13. Articles added/improved (GM3)||127,823||377,418||537,646|
|7. Volunteer hours||3,212||9,545||6,307|
|1. Total audience and reach||672||1,755||3,060|
|5. Leading volunteers||126||103||441|
|11. Images/media added to Commons||2,905||3,741||6,298|
|12. Images/media added to Wikimedia pages||980||529||1,261|
|12. % uploaded media used in content pages||29.64%||14.76%||20%|
|14. New articles added||6,546||28,993 (mostly a database upload)||189,056|
|15. Reach of content - image/article views||N/A (new metric)||723,295,971||Articles: 247,779,482
|16. Content diversity - # and % of events where the focus is on underrepresented content||N/A (new metric)||Annual Metric, tbc for impact report||Annual Metric, tbc for impact report|
|17. Language diversity - how many languages have we worked across (annual)||N/A (new metric)||See note below||16/88/39/638|
|18. Geographical reach - % of events outside of London (annual)||N/A (new metric)||72.73% (101 out of 137 events, supposing that COVID-19 would not influenced this metric)||70 out of 102 (68%)|
Highlights of programme activityEdit
Underrepresented heritage (with a growing focus on decolonisation)
We have delivered particularly strongly within the underrepresented knowledge strand. This area continues to grow in significance and scale, through a mixture of new projects developed by the chapter, and by encouraging and supporting our long standing partners to make it a priority. This is particularly visible with our new Wikimedians in Residence, e.g. at the Science Museum and British Library (BL). These projects were set up with the decolonisation angle expressed in partnership agreements, and we are now seeing this translated into action. At the BL for example, the resident is collaborating with their India Office Records (IOR), uploading materials held by the archive. We are learning more about how to work towards knowledge equity on wiki as this project progresses. For example, the resident discussed with IOR the implementation of an infobox on uploads, contextualising the potentially harmful and triggering content of these colonial papers. With our support, they now have a technical solution to this, and will work with the IOR to find suitable wording, in tandem with the British Library policy team and the input of their internal BAME Working Group.
Because of its breadth, our work here is challenging to summarise; but some of our key projects include:
- A collaboration with the Punjabi Wikimedians on a Amarjit Chandan project - uploading images from British based Punjabi poet Amarjit Chandan’s archive with images from both India and the UK, and creating content around them (see case study below).
- A milestone in our collaboration with the Khalili Collections - an upload of 1000 images. Many of the objects are manuscripts of Qurans and other important Islamic works. In total, this project has so far supplied two Featured Pictures on English Wikipedia, two on Persian Wikipedia, and four on Wikimedia Commons. In June, the Commons gallery Featured pictures/Non-photographic media/Religion had just one image relating to Islam, compared to 75 for Christianity and five for Judaism. The two new images have multiplied the representation of Islam in this small but important corner of Wikimedia.
- At Edinburgh University, a 12 week ‘Open Data and Knowledge Equity’ internship started in June. The intern will be supporting the University's commitment to the teaching of data science in relation to equality, diversity and inclusion. Another intern, focusing on Wikisource, also started in June and is currently working on creating Wikidata entries for a collection of 1920s photographs from Leith (to later be linked with Wikimedia Commons photos). The intern will also document the workflows for Wikisource and Wikimedia Commons to help the Library and University Collections team open up collections. This project, through its focus on the Scottish built environment and the underrepresentation of working class people and places in the UK, helped us to resume the Tower Block Archive project (images of Scottish social housing). 1350 uploads to Wikidata have been made, including creating entries for 26 housing developments and 54 individual Tower blocks in Aberdeen, and researching other online databases to source information for their Wikidata entries (an example:  (july) ).
As a chapter and a community that represents a former colonial power, we continue to develop our understanding of how the UK’s colonial past informs the present power dynamics within the sectors we work in - and our wider society - and how we should approach decolonisation within this context. For example at the recent exchange meeting for UK Wikimedians in Residence we discussed the question of what decolonisation means for the residents’ host institutions, and how they see Wikimedia UK’s role in this work. We seek out individuals and organisations with insight and expertise in this area, and attend relevant external events and conferences, to challenge our thinking and further our understanding of this area. We are also exploring the investing in research, we have also completed a ‘visual arts knowledge gaps’ research, giving us new insights into Wikipedia’s imbalances - see the case study below for details; in summary the research compared 100 artists from the Western canon to 100 significant artists from other cultures, and observed for example that with the English language version of Wikipedia, its ‘List of sculptors’ is 99% Western, ‘List of painters by nationality’ is around 75% European and its ‘List of contemporary visual artists’ is 80% European.
Also within a research framework, our colleague Richard Nevell co-authored an article for a Special Issue of the Bulletin of the History of Archaeology: ‘Inequality and Race in the Histories of Archaeology’. This special issue gathered a selection of articles reflecting on the historical construction of inequality and race in the histories of archaeology and its consequences. In recent years inequality and race have become more prominent research themes within the histories of archaeology. These pieces outline how archaeology could aim to promote social justice and an end to racial discrimination within its practice.
In terms of networks and building communities of practice, we continued to support two university-based groups that are working on decolonising knowledge. London College of Communications Student Changemakers’ Decolonising Wikipedia Network continues to develop, with events and staff training delivered. As described in more detail below, this network will be expanded into other settings from Autumn 2021. At the University of St Andrews, a new Equity, Diversity and inclusion network was launched in April with our support, and the group is now focusing on recruiting more interest, and discussing the focus of work - see the case study in the “Digital Literacy” strategic programme for details of how they carry out this work through Wikimedia.
Minority and indigenous languages (with a focus on the Celtic Knot)
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 co-ordination of the competition and organised events to help with public engagement.
Also over the summer the National Library of Wales ran a government-funded ‘WiciLleoedd project’. This is a collaboration with OpenStreetMap to enrich map-based items about Wales on Wikidata. The achievements so far include: 3000 Wikidata items (with Welsh descriptions and labels) created for hills, mountains and places in Wales; 1100 Wikidata items created for beaches, country parks, public toilets and bus stations); 266 new items for reservoirs in Wales (103 improved); 228 new items for Welsh Lakes (40 improved); 1078 cy labels added to items for Welsh Schools; 350 items for railway stations improved; and 416 items for hillforts improved with cy labels. These contributions could have a very broad range of reuses so it’s exciting to see the progress made.
Other content initiatives over the period included:
- Coleg Cymraeg - articles from the Companion to Welsh Music have now been released on CC-BY-SA.
- Welsh Government - a large selection of parliament’s images have been uploaded to Commons (for example within the Category:Feminism in Wales) and added to Wikipedia (they are now in 65 wiki language versions).
- Scottish Government - transferring their images thanks to an open Flickr license. We upload images as they appear on Flickr, having negotiated a license change. These are being highlighted to the Wikiproject Scotland, and to the Scots Wiki community if of interest.
In support of other editors within the Celtic Knot we also trained a Cornish wiki editor on how to add images to the WD infoboxes. Now a further 1,700 Wikidata-driven infoboxes have been added onto Wikipedia articles on cywiki.
Gender Gap and Diverse contributors
Spring included International Women’s Day celebrations. We partnered with a number of organisations to run editathons focused on the gender gap, including the Leeds City Museum and Edinburgh University. At Edinburgh, monthly Women in Red editathons continue, and at the March event, the president of the student Women of STEM society had helped crowdsource a list of women activists as part of the Choose the Challenge theme. The list continued to be worked on as part of a week-long celebration of International Women’s Day at the University. 50,000 words were added over the course of the week, and Professor Linda Bauld, one of the highest profile academics at the University of Edinburgh, keynoted an event discussing the representation of women on digital platforms.
July saw the 50th Women’s Classical Committee editing event. The Women’s Classical Committe’s #WCCwiki editing initiative is a successful model of a pre-existing community extending their activity to include Wikipedia editing. The (virtual) event in July was used as an opportunity to reflect on everything the group has achieved, having been editing Wikipedia for several years. The group’s efforts have been transformative in improving the English Wikipedia’s coverage of classics, and they are responsible for improving or creating hundreds of articles over the course of their project. Importantly, they also advocate for the use of Wikimedia by researchers to share work and foreground the efforts of their academic foremothers. In doing so they have helped inspire other initiatives such as #MedievalWiki which seeks to improve Wikipedia through feminist, anti-racist editing.
Climate change and sustainability
This is an emergent focus of our work. We are looking to scope and implement projects around the environmental sustainability theme - COP26 is being hosted in Glasgow this year, which gives us an opportunity to connect with the general focus on sustainability this year. Examples of work include:
- Partnership with The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations - FAO are sharing text and images under an open licence. This work will continue with WMUK as the lead. So far we have delivered an event for staff, and are looking at setting up a formal agreement with FAO.
- Collaborating with DecarboN8/University of Leeds - they delivered a wiki workshop in April. DecarboN8 is a network of university-based researchers working with the transport sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As part of this, the group wanted to improve Wikipedia articles about decarbonisation efforts and transport in the UK. The organisers hope that this can build into sustained editing.
The challenges of delivering on our programme remain similar to what we have been experiencing so far in the pandemic, perhaps with a cumulative effect.
We normally have a six-month check in with new Wikimedian in Residence projects, and the interview we conducted recently with the British Library's new WIR (started in March) is illustrative of the challenges we currently face. Especially in a big organisation like the BL, making new connections across departments, and having the Resident access colleagues across the organisation, can lead to exciting new projects and ideas. However, working remotely there's much less serendipity to spark ideas and connections than would be there in person. The Resident and their host line manager is also concerned about engaging with colleagues who may be overloaded and so have less capacity to engage with experimental pilots (as the wiki work can often be). Had it not been for the pandemic, we would be more strategic in choosing the collections to work on from the BL. Instead, we need to be more tactical, responding to existing capacities. This is still positive - having worked on Wikidata within the Library, there is now interest to explore Wikibase, as part of the Agents of Enslavement project. The resident was approached by the Agents of Enslavement lead Graham Jevon, and we were keen to follow up. With our support the Library is hoping to use this as a pilot for the Library as a whole to see the potential benefits of Wikibase, as well as the specific utility for the Agents project, in drawing together and illustrating networks of influence and enabling bespoke queries.
Progress towards the plan, adaptationsEdit
Looking ahead, we are seeing a renewed interest in the sector in deeply considering their audiences and engagement models. Reading the recently published National Gallery’s 2021-2026 strategy we note: “we will work over the next few years to relaunch the National Gallery as the Gallery for the nation. This includes welcoming more people into the Gallery than ever before, engaging young people from all backgrounds in the wonders of our collection, using our skills in the digital world to win new audiences both in the UK and across the globe, and being a resource for the nation and for the world.” Wikimedia could offer an approach to this broadening of audiences, so that sounds very positive.
This chimes in with recommendations coming from the ‘Boundless Creativity’ research project delivered by AHRC, in partnership with DCMS. A report published in July talks for example about plans from DCMS to ‘Broaden Digital Access’ by incentivising the bigger players to make their platforms open source and/or to develop a shared platform to give smaller cultural practitioners more control over their content and how they profit from it. It also highlights an interest in reaching new global audiences digitally - there’s a very strong monetisation component, although there could be scope for arguing for the benefits of engaging with Wikimedia. We will be bearing this context in mind while going forward.
|WMUK - Punjabi Wikimedians User Group collaboration|
UK based Punjabi writer, poet and photographer, Amarjit Chandan opened up images from his archive. In addition to his own photographs, the archive includes images taken by his father, Gopal Singh Chandan - a full-time photographer - and other public domain images. The images have a rich history: When Amartjit’s father began running a photography shop in the 1940s, photography was an unusual and new occupation among Sikhs at the time. The photography shop, Star Studio, became a rendezvous of Punjabi community leaders.
Punjabi Wikimedians User Group collaborated with Wikimedia UK to deliver this project. As the collection had a connection to both affiliates, it felt like a great opportunity to work together, and build on our existing relationship. Amarjit Chandan was more than glad to share his photographs but he needed support to create multilingual Metadata for the images. User:Gurdeepdali - himself an independent photographer - worked as an online Wikimedian-in-Residence for the project.
As of 19 June 2021, a total of 471 images have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons and at least 54 distinct images (~11 % of the total images) are being used across various languages and projects. The highest number of images are being used on Punjabi Wikipedia, followed by English Wikipedia and Wikidata. Aside from helping to illustrate articles on Punjabi personalities on Punjabi and English Wikipedias, the images help capture the lives of Punjabis across three continents. Chandan was born in Kenya where his father was a political activist as well. He moved to India at the age of eleven in 1957 and eventually migrated to the UK in 1980. He has also lived in the Philippines, Canada, USA and Tanzania.
Punjabi Wikimedians is currently planning to organize an online edit-a-thon to add more photographs to relevant Wikipedia articles.
As Amarjit says in a newspaper article “STAR STUDIO - The Haunt of Freedom Fighters” (Awaaz, Issue 3, Nov-Feb 2008/2009, Nairobi): “It has been an emotional experience for me while collecting photographs of Punjabis in East Africa for the archive of the University of California at Santa Barbara, and when I see a photo taken by my father and brother I feel reconnected with my birth place.”
Amarjit Chandan - To Father
|Cultural knowledge gaps research|
Artist and scholar Waqas Ahmed and veteran Wikipedian Dr. Martin Poulter were well-placed to investigate Wikipedia’s perspective on the visual arts. For example, they observed with the English language version of Wikipedia, “its ‘List of sculptors’ is 99% Western, ‘List of painters by nationality’ is around 75% European and its ‘List of contemporary visual artists’ is 80% European”. They probed whether this was just a problem with those articles, or just with the English language Wikipedia. “There appears to be a systemic cultural bias against non-Western visual art and artists across all Wikipedia platforms and in various languages”, Ahmed says. “We hope that this research will remind people that the Western artistic canon is but one of many worldwide – each deserving respect and appreciation on its own terms.” With a commitment to identifying and overcoming barriers to diversity online, Wikimedia UK, the national charity for the Wikimedia open knowledge movement, funded the research.
The researchers measured the coverage of visual arts across the hundreds of different language versions of Wikipedia. They compared 100 artists from the Western canon to 100 significant artists from other cultures. Poulter pointed out that “Even equal coverage of the Western artists and the artists from all of the rest of the world would still be a pro-Western bias, because Europe is just one sixth of the world.” The research found that on average Wikipedia coverage was seven times greater for artists in the Western canon than for their non-Western counterparts.
One example compared the coverage of The Sistine Chapel in the Vatican and the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque) in Istanbul. Both places of worship receive approximately 5 million visitors each per year, and have enormous cultural and artistic importance. Whilst both Michelangelo and Syed Kasim Gubari are considered geniuses within their respective cultures, Michelangelo’s Wikipedia articles total over 440 times greater length than Gubari and the Blue Mosque Ceiling does not have a single entry across the Wikimedia projects.
Past research has identified geographical biases and a gender gap on Wikipedia, where a small (but growing) minority of biographies are about women. This new research demonstrates and measures a specifically cultural bias. Ahmed and Poulter suggest we can all play our part through extending the coverage of art and artists outside the Western canon. For individual wiki contributors, this can involve creating, translating, or extending articles. Cultural institutions can help by sharing their knowledge and images.
As the research states “societal biases have a long and well-documented history, rooted in systems of hegemony and oppression like imperialism.” These biases inevitably shape narratives online and are reinforced through echo chambers. The first step to creating an online world which truly reflects global cultures and histories is the awareness that we are far from there – yet.
The research paper is currently undergoing peer review but can be freely accessed as a pre-print through preprints.org
Programme 2: Developing Digital LiteracyEdit
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.
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||2019/20 half year achieved||2020/21 half year achieved||2021/22 half year achieved|
|3. Participants (GM1)||1,734||2,127||835|
|4. Newly registered editors (GM2)||103||74||202|
|13. Articles added/improved (GM3)||2,069||324||2,006|
|7. Volunteer hours||8,427||5,217.5||4,027|
|1. Total audience and reach||1,801||2,155||886|
|19. Number of courses we work with||N/A (new)||Annual Metric||Annual Metric|
|20. Improved digital skills||86%||Annual Metric||Annual Metric|
|21. Inclusion in courses and curricula||N/A (new)||Annual Metric||Annual Metric|
Highlights of programme activityEdit
Higher education's engagement with Wikimedia as a digital literacy tool
The Translation Studies course at the University of Edinburgh continued in 2021, with around 50 students taking part. There were various forms of translation, including the flow of information from the Japanese Wikipedia to English; English to Chinese; Norwegian Bokmal to English, and English to Arabic. The Content Translation tool posed some problems with the formatting of articles translated into Chinese; however the University’s Wikimedian in Residence, Ewan McAndrew, was able to find ways around this issue.
|Wikipedia in the Curriculum in 'the new normal': Student-led activism promoting knowledge equity and SDG4, from the University of Edinburgh|
We are also very impressed with the broader activities run by the Wikimedian in Residence at Edinburgh University. He is moving into an organisation-wide engagement (beyond purely Wikimedia in the Classroom approach), including the Library, and the Career Service. The residency has been supported by summer internships for a few years now, and in 2021 we will have three people working across different functions. A ‘residency plus interns’ is a model of delivery that could be very successful, with the potential for increased reach and impact. We have set up a similar model at the British Library and Society of Antiquaries Scotland, and are looking to replicate this across our programmes, where appropriate.
Some of the broader activities delivered by the Resident at Edinburgh University include:
- Setting up a new community of practice at the University Library, with an intern position to support
- Meeting with the Career Service in March to discuss an accredited 80hr Wikipedia editing volunteer Edinburgh Award to begin on a trial basis in October 2021 to March 2022
- Organising a 4-part podcast series with the University’s influential Teaching Matters blog
We had two further Wikimedia in the Classroom courses active in the period - at Derby and Exeter Universities. At Derby this was a new journalism module with Academic Librarian Caroline Ball, which was run with the support of a volunteer. We think this model could act as a framework for future classroom course interactions and how volunteers can help. The Art & Law course at Exeter course convened by Dr. Andrea Wallace was very successful with over 100 students taking part, editing more than 4,000 pages between them.
Wikimedia in schools
The interest in digital literacy and fighting against misinformation within the school sector remains high, and with that we have been able to join and continue participating in several high level roundtables and coalitions focused on online literacy. This includes a coalition of education practitioners and umbrella bodies focused on curriculum change; a Royal Society roundtable, Chaired by Vint Cerf, focused on science misinformation online and attended by all the major technology and social media organisations; and a cross-sector Media and Information Literacy Alliance (MILA), which argues that Media and Information Literacy is the essential prerequisite of a successful, inclusive and healthy digital society.
A major factor for this work is the recently published Online Media Literacy Strategy from DCMS. It explicitly recognises the importance of information literacy, the first time that a UK public policy has done so. Unfortunately it does not call for changes in the school curriculum, however we believe that it nonetheless helps to make the case for Wikimedia in education.
Worth highlighting here is the ongoing work with Code The City community volunteer group based in Aberdeen, which combines elements of data literacy and civic engagement. This is led by Ian Watt, a volunteer who continues to link in with Aberdeen cultural organisations, and running hackathons at CTC with a wiki angle (an event they run in Spring was focused on environment). This group is very active, and for an overview it’s best to quote Ian: “We now have a smaller-scale project, also to support Aberdeen City and Shire Archives, which kicks off in the first week of May 2021 to transcribe the Register of Returned Convicts 1869-1939. Some of the key aspects of the data have already been transcribed but there is much that has not yet been captured. We’ll share directories of photos of the pages of the register, spreadsheets for transcriptions, and a note of who is transcribing and who is checking which entries, with a Slack Channel for communication between volunteers. There are only 285 convicts listed. We’re also looking at the georeferencing of addresses from historical maps which will be exciting. The project will be coordinated by Sara Mazolli, a postgraduate student at Edinburgh University who will be an intern at Code The City for 10 weeks.”
Also this year we’ve kicked off the ‘Connected Heritage’ National Lottery Heritage Fund project, supported by a grant from NLHF of £120k over two years. The focus of this project is to develop open knowledge skills, tools and communities of practice for sustainable digital preservation across the heritage sector. This will be achieved through broad outreach via webinars, focused engagement with a smaller number of organisations delivered through editathons and other events, and targeted strategic support, similar to our Residency projects, for between two and four heritage organisations.
Over the last few months we have been recruiting staff for this project. All roles have been filled with the Project Lead commencing in May and both Digital Skills Wikimedians starting in post early August. We are at the stage of developing the content for the webinars, which will pave the way for editathons and targeted support with specific partner organisations identified through the project. To date social media engagement across this project has led to over 30,000 impressions and 350 engagements.
To illustrate the challenges experienced within the education programme, we’d like to focus on the Wikimedian in Residence project at Coventry University. The beginning of the residency overlapped with the start of the pandemic. This necessitated the suspension of face-to-face teaching across the university in mid-March. The lack of face-to-face interactions and discussions was an additional challenge to encouraging course leaders to use Wikimedia in the classroom. At a time of increased workloads due to the need to convert curricula to online delivery, there may have been a reluctance to add additional workload by adopting a new method and using Wikimedia in the classroom. The pandemic led to considerable change across the higher education sector; many of the education courses WMUK supports outside WIRs programmes were postponed or cancelled, with staff needed to redirect their teaching.
Further, modifying courses to use Wikimedia engagement assessment is a time-consuming process and there is a long lead time needed for planning, review, and approval. This has meant that we were not able to introduce major Wikimedia in the Classroom courses as a part of the residency.
In terms of general challenges experienced within the education sector in the UK, we are keeping an eye on the trends in schools and how that may affect our projects. A report by the ODI published in March 2021, for example, says that there’s a ‘disproportionate impact of remote learning on teachers working in special schools, older staff and those working in deprived areas’ - which worryingly means the digital divide issue is only increasing.
Progress towards the plan, adaptationsEdit
Looking ahead to the new academic year, we anticipate a continued level of uncertainty. We always get in touch with course leaders before the start of term to get a sense of their plans, and the feedback this year has been a very cautious approach to planning any wiki activities. In the background, the UK government is considering reducing funding to higher education; the details remain to be established, but further economic pressure on universities means we may see partners having to cut courses.
One exciting development to highlight, however, is a collaboration with the University of Arts London (UAL), funded by UAL Knowledge Exchange, where a staff member will be seconded to work with Wikimedia UK one day a week starting in the autumn. Their time will be used to expand the Decolonising Wikipedia Network established at London College of Communication to UAL’s other colleges and Institutes, such as Camberwell College of Art and Central Saint Martins. This will mean many more students getting involved, learning how to edit, and contributing to the diversification of Wikipedia.
|Summary report from Coventry University’s Wikimedian in Residence project|
In May, the Wikimedian in Residence project at the Disruptive Media Learning Lab (DMLL) in the Coventry University came to an end after two years. It was the second residency based at a UK university and WMUK and the DMLL were both excited at the possibility of bringing Wikipedia into the classroom. The aim was to give staff and students wiki-editing skills, especially through classroom courses and workshops. The DMLL’s cross-university remit meant that this could apply to all parts of the university.
Over the course of the project, more than 100 new users were introduced to wiki editing, with more than 100 Wikipedia articles created or improved and 200 media files shared (ranging from voice clips of staff and videos from the university’s YouTube channel to photographs of campus buildings). The resident ran a number of workshops for staff and students and was involved in discussions with lecturers about releasing content under an open licence. They also encouraged Coventry Digital to use open licences for media relating to Coventry's City of Culture status.
Despite these achievements there were significant challenges during the project. The most salient was the Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in face-to-face teaching and meetings being suspended. The lack of face-to-face interactions and discussions was an additional challenge to encouraging course leaders to use Wikimedia in the classroom. At a time of increased workloads due to the need to convert curricula to online delivery, there may have been a reluctance to add additional workload by adopting a new method and using Wikimedia in the classroom. The pandemic led to considerable change across the higher education sector; many of the education courses WMUK supports outside WIRs programmes were postponed or cancelled, with staff needed to redirect their teaching. In the sector, while there were cases of courses adopting wiki editing for the first time, these were outnumbered by those which were postponed or cancelled.
A recurring issue at Coventry was that of low turnout at events, sometimes less than half of those who registered. This pre-dated the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, but it exacerbated the situation. For a number of events, interest was initially high but numbers joining were much lower.
The process of adapting courses to use wiki editing for assessment can be a time-consuming process as it needs to gain approval. This means there is a considerable lead-in time for the development of courses using wiki editing as a teaching tool. The resident and his line-manager planned a stand-alone module to run in the 2020/21 academic year but it was cancelled due to low uptake. This is always a possibility with modules of any sort, but it does show that we need to make the relevance of wiki editing clear to students. Another module for the 2020/21 academic year initially planned to have students edit Wikipedia, however there was a reversal of the decision, meaning that editing during the residency was focused on workshops rather than being integrated into a classroom setting.
|IDEA network - building community of practice at a university|
The IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility) network at the University of St Andrews was officially launched in Spring 2021. The network brought together various strands of work and partnerships that Wikimedia UK has already established with the institution, going back to editathons and training sessions run by our Scotland Programme Coordinator Dr Sara Thomas when she was Wikimedian in Residence with Museums Galleries Scotland (2015-2017).
Joint winner of the 2021 Wikimedia UK Up and Coming Wikimedian award Abd Alsattar Ardati is studying for his PhD at the University, and his research looks at collaborative editing on Wikipedia. Abd is also an accredited Wikimedia UK trainer, and was part of the 2019 Scotland cohort. Dr. Kirsty Ross works as a Public Engagement Officer at the University, and is also an outreach officer at the University of Strathclyde. Kirsty has worked with Sara on a number of wiki projects over the last few years, focussing on public outreach and engagement in STEM. Along with Abd’s supervisors, the IDEA network has been formed.
The group’s aims currently align broadly with Wikimedia UK’s strategic aims, with a broad remit to look at engagement with the Wikimedia Projects across and beyond the university with a focus on EDI (equity, diversity and inclusion). The steering group meets every two weeks, with the advisory board meeting every few months, and the broader membership getting involved as and when they can.
The group ran an editathon as part of their launch event in the Spring, and is currently preparing to engage with researchers across Europe for ‘Explorathon’, as part of European Researchers Night in September (a public event, which displays the diversity of science and its impact on citizens' daily lives in inspiring ways). Five training sessions will be run across August and September in preparation for an editathon later in the year.
The network also engaged with the Scottish Refugee Festival, and are working towards a model of online training that is suitable for users engaging on mobile or limited internet. In addition, they are preparing for events to take place in the new university year.
Although the network is in its early stages of development, there are numerous possible avenues of work to pursue, which crucially engage academic and non-academic staff, undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as wider community members. It is particularly exciting to be working across the University, with a key contact like Dr. Ross, whose work covers numerous schools. It is hoped that the network may yield a Resident post in the future, however for now the focus is on building a community of interest and practice within the Institution.
Programme 3: Changing Policy and PracticeEdit
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.
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.
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.
|Indicator||2019/20 half year achieved||2020/21 half year achieved||2021/22 half year achieved|
|3. Participants (GM1)||1,422||489||396|
|7. Volunteer hours (GM2)||1,769||1,570||419|
|5. Leading volunteers||43||25||11|
|22. Policy touchpoints||1||14||8|
|23. Policy change affected||1||2||6|
Highlights of programme activityEdit
Organisational change towards openness
The first half of 2021 was marked with several significant wins for Wikimedia UK in terms of engaging with external organisations and shifting them towards open knowledge. After much negotiation and advocacy, we were able to launch a new Wikimedian in Residence project at the British Library. This is the second time that the Library has hosted a Residency, with the first taking place from 2012 to 2013 (and reported on in our 2019 Partners in Open Knowledge publication looking at the long term impact of our Wikimedian in Residence programme). We are looking forward to evaluating and reporting on this project, as we hope that it will give us rich arguments for the long term benefits of engaging with open knowledge, as well as insights into how the Library’s approach has changed over the past decade.
Wikimedia UK launched a new partnership with the Science Museum in 2020, with one of our London-based Programme Co-ordinators being seconded to the museum for one day a week. Early this year we secured an extension of that arrangement, in a sign of the ongoing value the organisation sees in our work. Related to this secondment but a separate appointment is a Residency project, also launched in 2020. The purpose of the Wikimedian-in-Residence at the Science Museum is to design and deliver training for staff and volunteers to contribute their knowledge and expertise to Wikimedia; work with curatorial colleagues on underrepresented areas in Wikipedia where the Museum has significant institutional knowledge; and encourage the Science Museum Group’s research community to engage with Wikimedia as part of their public engagement work.
At Edinburgh University, the Library agreed to fund and host a 12 week internship with the aim of writing a high-level report on best practice from other Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums engaging with Wikimedia to open up their collections. This internship represents the first time during the five year residency that the Library and University Collections have agreed to do a prolonged body of work exploring collaborating with the Wikimedia projects. It will explore past good practice, document workflows of working with Wikimedia projects, and write a detailed report for the library and university collections to engage in open practices as part of the strategy going forward. The Resident - who will be supporting the intern - has also set up an internal Wikipedia Interest Group, running meetings to promote Wikipedia activities to a broad audience across the university.
Mindful of maintaining a programme pipeline and promoting our work in an online context, we are focusing on finding sector-wide mechanisms to engage with institutions. For example we participated in the SLIC Public Libraries consultation, focusing on open data and literacy. After responding to the consultation, we have been invited to produce Wiki-related materials for the new online resource for public librarians across Scotland, and we hope this resource will have an ongoing impact as organisations make use of it. We also continued to engage with the AHRC’s Towards a National Collection programme. The £15million funding call closed in April, and we have been included as a paid Collaborating Organisation in six bids, of which the leads are: British Library, National Gallery, UCL, Science Museum, Oxford University, The National Archives.
Our residents have also been busy amplifying our open knowledge work and its benefits. The resident at the National Library of Wales became an OpenUK Ambassador in February, and is using the network to promote our work there. He also gave a Radio interview on BBC Radio Cymru about the role of the culture sector in combating deep fake technology. Edinburgh University's resident has also been actively promoting his education work - he presented on ‘Wikipedia in the Classroom - student-led activism promoting knowledge equity and SDG4’ at OER21 conference in April. He got accepted for two sessions at the LILAC Information Literacy online conference in July 2021; he also submitted an abstract on Wikipedia in Translation based on the work conducted on the Translation Studies MSc for the December 2021 conference, Understanding Wikipedia’s Dark Matter: Translation and Multilingual Practice in the World’s Largest Online Encyclopaedia. At British Library, the resident has been connecting to the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ Wikidata interest group to run an event in May, to coincide with #1lib1ref. National Library of Wales’ resident was interviewed on BBC Radio Cymru about the Wiki Loves Monuments contest. On our invitation he also attended a high level meeting hosted by the National Gallery about IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework), in the context of the Towards a National Collection programme.
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. Our Chief Executive leads this work and in this period our policy touchpoints included the following events and conferences:
- The Polymath Festival, organised by the DaVinci Network, where Lucy spoke on a panel discussion entitled ‘Navigating the Information Age’, alongside fellow panellists Bobby Seagull and Professor Rand Spiro. You can watch the session here.
- The Westminster Media Forum’s copyright policy seminar in February, where Lucy contributed to a panel discussion focused on stakeholder perspectives on the future of UK copyright. You can watch/listen to her talk here.
- The Future of Libraries webinar, organised by Aspen UK, where Lucy chaired a discussion featuring Roly Keating (Chief Executive of the British Library), Pamela Tulloch (CEO of the Scottish Libraries and Information Council), Ayub Khan (Head of Universal Services at Warwickshire County Council) and our Chair of Trustees, Nick Poole (CEO of CILIP). There is a podcast of this event - which was attended live by over 400 people - available to listen to here.
- The Good Web Festival organised by the think tank Demos, where Lucy was on a panel looking at the future of digital regulation, alongside Darren Jones MP (and Chair of Labour Digital) and Catherine Stihler, CEO of Creative Commons.
- A webinar about the use of technology to balance access and value in cultural heritage run by the Centre of the European Picture Industry, where Lucy was arguing for the value of openness.
Attending meetings and working as part of different consortiums also forms part of our advocacy work. For example, earlier this year, Lucy joined a high level roundtable meeting organised by the Royal Society as part of their Digital Technology and Information (DTI) project. The meeting was chaired by Vint Cerf and attended by senior policy staff from Adobe, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, TikTok and Twitter. It was designed to explore how the information environment might be improved to ensure people have better access to trustworthy scientific information, and will feed into the DTI project’s final report and policy recommendations this autumn.
Lucy is part of several consortiums focused on information literacy. Whilst there is some overlap in terms of agenda and membership, the first of these groups - which is convened by InformAll and has been meeting periodically since 2020 - is focused on information literacy within schools, and aims to influence public policy and curriculum change. More recently, she has been invited to join the inaugural meeting of a cross-sector Media and Information Literacy Alliance. The latter has a broader remit to bring together organisations, individuals and representative groups who believe that Media and Information Literacy is the essential prerequisite of a successful, inclusive and healthy digital society, and to seek opportunities for collaboration and alignment between respective communities of practice.
Lucy is also a member of the Making Sense of Media Network, which she joined soon after it was set up in 2019. There are 250 network members, across a range of organisations in the UK and internationally, with the aim of increasing collaboration, information-sharing and debate to improve media literacy in the UK.
On the copyright front, Lucy is convening and Chairing a meeting of other organisations working within the field of copyright and open to discuss shared priorities and explore whether we might be able to align on some key public policy messages/asks. Originally scheduled for earlier in the year, this will now be taking place in September. Also related to copyright, Lucy has joined the Creative Copyright Platform Working Group on the Ethics of Open Sharing, Chaired by Wikimedia UK’s former Chair Josie Fraser. Following several meetings the group is now working on a position paper, for publication in October.
As WIR projects grow in complexity (e.g. involving Wikibase) or innovation (internship programmes), Residents are connecting to each other to collaborate and learn together. It’s a challenge, in as much as we don’t always have the necessary expertise within the staff team to resolve these complex issues, especially in new and emerging areas of work. Instead we are focusing on peer learning and finding solutions together. This is something that we are facilitating and supporting through regular WIR network meetings, supported by programmes team staff, which we have continued to run regularly (albeit remotely) over the duration of the pandemic. Some examples of their collaborations include:
- The National Library of Wales’ resident met with the British Library about possible collaboration on a Wikibase/Wikidata project, and delivered Pattypan upload training for British Library staff. The NLW resident also spoke to Research Development staff at the BL about previous GLAM successes in NLW.
- National Library of Wales’ resident supported Edinburgh University’s interns in their work on gathering evidence on benefits of Wikidata and open access in GLAMs.
- The British Library resident met with the interns at Edinburgh University, sharing thoughts on decolonisation projects and social justice movements (especially relevant to the Knowledge Equity intern).
- The Science Museum resident is working with Alice White, the former resident still based at the Wellcome Collection, on shared collections between the two organisations and appropriate metadata for uploads.
Progress towards the plan, adaptationsEdit
Within this broad strand of work we’ve been successful in securing changes towards more open policy and practice. In our plans, we were intending to work on UK copyright changes, and misinformation with a focus on school education and curriculum content. We have been particularly successful in making connections around the last point, as highlighted in the ‘digital literacy’ strategic programme above. We hope to continue this work and build coalitions around introducing information literacy programmes into the schools curriculum in the UK.
Broadly within the policy area, we think that the recently announced Open Access Policy by the UK Research and Innovation (which we supported by participating in a consultation), will bring a positive impact in science and education, and is something that we hope to connect to in implementation in the future.
In the second half of the year, from a public policy perspective we anticipate that we will be focused on the Draft Online Harms Bill, which is now undergoing pre-legislative scrutiny. It’s possible that Wikipedia could be considered a ‘category 1 service’ within the terms of the Bill, which could be problematic for our editing community’s ability to exercise independent editorial judgment. Wikimedia UK will work with the Wikimedia Foundation and allies within the UK to try to ensure minimal negative impact on Wikimedia’s independence and neutrality, whilst respecting efforts to reduce online harm.
|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 will enable 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.
Programme 4: Developing Wikimedia UK’s capacity and profileEdit
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.
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.
|Indicator||2019/20 half year achieved||2020/21 half year achieved||2021/22 half year achieved|
|1. Total audience and reach||51,005||44,658||50,489|
|2. Digital media reach||48,798||43,891||50,082|
|6. Female % of lead volunteers||43%||49.16%||39.17%|
|8. Volunteers would recommend WMUK
9. Volunteers feel valued by WMUK
10. Volunteers have developed new skills
|N/A||Annual Metric||Annual Metric|
Highlights of programme activityEdit
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). We are aiming to do more in 2022, perhaps running a communications campaign connecting to the international Art+Feminism movement. 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 have also engaged with external national and international campaigns, such as Small Charity Week. Our message during the week focused on our role as a small charity making a big impact. 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.
Contributing to the global Wikimedia movement
Getting involved with the international WikiLovesEarth project this year gave us an opportunity for a concrete collaboration with Wikimedia Community Ireland, as we agreed to run an island-wide competition (including both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK). Collaborations like these are increasingly important in the context of the 2030 global strategy, and the focus on ‘hubs’ - where various affiliates may work together on projects or knowledge exchange.
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 with Wikimedia France and the Breton community for Celtic Knot in 2022 (currently in discussion), with a return to the UK in 2023.
Developing volunteer community
We connected to the two international editing Wikimedia campaigns, which were promoted to our community with the support of the Development and Communications team:
- WikiForHumanRights was launched with a focus on translating human rights-related content to smaller language wikis. Beyond general engagement, much work was completed to translate the core articles into Welsh and create additional articles in Welsh. Our blog post about it was published in May.
- For the first time this year we decided to take part in Wiki Loves Earth in Wales and in Ireland. In Wales a broad range of organisations were engaged from National Parks to the National Library of Wales, and created opportunities for volunteers to contribute their photos.
Another project focusing on engaging editors is the long term, ongoing Wikiproject on Welsh Wikipedia destubbing the 1,000 most important articles (ie expanding them from short notes to full articles). We are helping curate the ‘to do’ lists and encouraging editors to take part. Over 50 articles have been destubbed so far.
As always, our Community Day and Annual General Meeting was a great opportunity to connect with members and shine a spotlight on the amazing work of volunteers. The meeting was held online for the second year in a row, with 74 registered attendees and more members submitting a proxy vote prior to the event. It featured an engaging conversation between Chair of the Board Nick Poole and George Oates, exploring openness in the cultural sector and many related themes. This was followed by five Lightning Talks spanning the breadth of the UK and the community's activities. Aligned with the timing of our AGM was the launch of the 2020/21 Strategic Report, moving to a digital first model of delivery.
Having received an additional grant from the Foundation in 2020 to develop our fundraising capacity, we felt it would be useful to outline our current progress and achievements within this report.
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.
We had initially proposed that the post funded by this grant would be an experienced fundraiser, to be line-managed by the Chief Executive but with no direct reports. However, as we had paused recruitment on our senior external relations post at the start of the pandemic, we decided instead to create a new Development and Communications team, combining these two functions. Natasha Iles joined the charity in the new post of Head of Development and Communications in October. She then led on the recruitment of a Fundraising Development Co-ordinator, George Colborn, who joined Wikimedia UK in January 2021. This latter post 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 Co-ordinator (Katie Crampton) completes this team.
In her first six months in post, Natasha undertook a fundraising audit, including a review of voluntary income opportunities, and put in place an Interim Development Strategy. The initial focus of the strategy is to develop voluntary income through applications to trusts and foundations. Having joined the team in January, George has started identifying potential funding partners and having external conversations around funding opportunities.
One of Natasha’s other immediate priorities was to lead on an application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, in collaboration with the wider staff team. This application was successful, with the charity being awarded a restricted grant of just under £120,000 for this project. Our communications around the grant also helped us to reach a wide audience, with our tweet receiving over 25.5k impressions, the highest for a single tweet in the last 14 months.
Voluntary income has continued to grow, with the first half of the 2021/22 year finishing £16k ahead of Budget. Growth is coming from increased digital income (CAF/Benevity/Facebook) combined with a slowing of attrition rates across regular giving. Slowing of attrition has been a trend across the charity sector for the last 12 months, however, there is a note of caution as July’s income performance was behind that of 2020. We need to engage and accelerate our new donor recruitment alongside donor stewardship.
With all the activity going on, and Covid still putting a strain on our communities, we felt it was especially important this year to celebrate the contributions of our volunteers during our Annual General Meeting in July. The Wikimedian of the Year awards provided a great opportunity to do this. Honourable Mention went to Ian Watt who is a tremendously active volunteer and advocate for open knowledge, working with Commons, Wikidata, and Wikipedia. Over the last year he has run public-facing workshops and editathons, and he is hosting and supervising an Edinburgh University post-graduate student running a mass transcription of the Register of Returned Criminals (1869-1939). Up-and-Coming Wikimedian of the Year was awarded jointly to Abd Alsattar Ardati and Lucy Moore. Abd is one of Wikimedia UK’s accredited trainers and has been proactive in helping his university engage with Wikimedia; his efforts have helped WMUK adapt to the methodology of online training. Lucy is another excellent advocate for Wikimedia – she has organised events at her place of work and encourages people in the museum and archaeology sectors to work with Wikimedia; she is also an active editor and writes articles addressing Wikipedia’s content imbalances.
Marco Cafolla won the Wikimedian of the Year award for their efforts supporting the Scots Wikipedia. They have been a key part of the wiki, organising editathons which not only improved content but fostered a community of editors working together. Having people within a community who can step up and organise is invaluable, and those efforts mean that Scots Wikipedia is improving. We will be discussing with him how to support the Scots community going forward, as they seem overloaded at the moment. With attendance at editathons having gone down we are concerned about community burnout.
In terms of fundraising and sustainability, we are very pleased to be in a stable situation. This is something we will be working hard to maintain, as the general picture in the UK charity sector is rather mixed - the National Council for Voluntary Organisations has published the latest results from the Respond, Recover, Reset survey, saying that 45% of surveyed organisations reported a stable financial position in the last month and 64% expect Covid-19 to have a moderate or significant negative impact on delivering their objectives next year.
Progress towards the plan, adaptationsEdit
With the changing pandemic picture, we continue to adapt to the general context in the UK. Behind the scenes, as we are starting to prepare for a return to the office, we are also reflecting on future programme delivery. A ‘hybrid model’ seems to be the focus right now. The cultural sector is reflecting on the success of digital delivery, but also its limits (digital fatigue, over-saturation, uneven access). So there’s interest in a blended approach, and experimenting with formats - especially that audiences “are proving slow to want to return, with a continuing sense of risk to health and only slow rises in engagement.” Blended, hybrid delivery is more complex than delivering events or projects either solely online or in-person, and certainly novel to the team - so we’re mindful of this learning curve ahead of us, and starting to think about how to approach it. This is feeding into our thinking about the next Train the Trainer course.
We’re also mindful that two of our significant Wikimedian in Residence collaborations started in lockdown (Science Museum and British Library, and informally the Devil’s Porridge Museum), and we have trained these WIRs exclusively for online delivery. Whilst the projects have benefitted from a lack of geographical restrictions, we now need to think about in-person events as well.
|Working towards a framework and action plan for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion|
Diversity and equity has been at the heart of Wikimedia UK’s social purpose and strategy for the past five years. However, this has been focused predominantly on programme delivery. In 2020, we decided to take a more holistic view of the organisation that encompassed our staff, trustees, volunteers, partners, suppliers, programme and communications, within the context of our colonial and imperial past. Following a number of discussions at board level and with the staff team, in 2021 we appointed an external consultant to support this work and facilitate further conversations. These discussions have been very helpful in starting to develop a shared language for equity, diversity and inclusion amongst the staff team and board of trustees; identifying some immediate actions and priorities as well as longer term changes; surfacing some challenges and issues that we need to address within our current work and future activities; and shaping our thinking about what needs to happen next. We are now working towards the following:
Our vision for equity, diversity and inclusion, which expresses a clear commitment to this work that is rooted in our context as the UK charity for the global Wikimedia movement A framework within which we will try to achieve equity, diversity and inclusion; encompassing relevant policies, principles, priorities, definitions, ways of working, an overview of our current situation, metrics and targets for the future and our approach to monitoring, evaluation and dissemination. An action plan for how we will achieve the changes and targets outlined in the framework.
We are aiming to present the draft vision, framework and action plan to the board in September, with a review of related policies to take place later in the autumn. Crucially, this work is happening through meaningful discussion with staff, trustees, Wikimedians in Residence, volunteers, other movement organisations and partners; to ensure that plans are collectively developed and owned, represent a diverse range of ideas and perspectives, and reflect our commitment to engaging in this work as a process, rather than a series of checklists. For example, we are planning to hold a roundtable meeting in November with programmes staff, Wikimedians in Residence and other interested and relevant stakeholders, to explore EDI through the lens of our partnership programmes. We are also planning a meeting of international movement stakeholders in the autumn, to exchange ideas and experience in decolonising knowledge.
Over the past few years we have been particularly focused on diversifying our Board of Trustees, which is made up of seven elected members and three co-opted Trustees. Our most recent diversity monitoring of the board revealed a high level of representation, including:
In September, we will be monitoring the socio-economic background of staff and trustees for the first time, and will incorporate these questions into the main EDI monitoring form in future.
Whilst there is a lot of work to be done, Wikimedia UK is in a relatively good place to take this work forward. Discussions with staff and trustees - both collectively and individually with our external consultant - have pointed to a very welcoming and inclusive organisational culture, where different identities are celebrated. This is a positive starting point in which to develop more inclusive practices in terms of both the organisation and our programme.
|Wiki Loves Earth|
This year Wales took part in the international photography competition ‘Wiki Loves Earth’ organised by the Wikimedia movement. Founded 9 years ago as a focus for nature heritage, the competition raises awareness of protected species and sites globally.
Robin Owain, Wales Manager at Wikimedia UK, explained “The biodiversity and geology of Wales is unique, and this competition allows Welsh photographers to show the beauty of their landscape, the flora and fauna of their protected areas on a world stage.”
Wikimedia UK and the National Library of Wales coordinated the project, which saw 1,888 new images uploaded to Commons from National Parks, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Sites of Outstanding Natural Beauty and other protected areas in Wales. This was done in partnership with a number of large organisations including Natural Resources Wales, Pembrokeshire and Snowdonia National Park, the Welsh Mountaineering Club, Edward Llwyd nature society, WiciMon and others.
The 1,888 image placed Wales as 7th 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 17%, with 38 uploaders (photographers) competing. The number of uploaders registered after the competition started was slightly lower than the norm, at 68%. In the last couple of months, the 323 images used on Wikipedia articles have been viewed 1.3 million times!
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. Wikimedia UK has worked closely with Llen Natur over the last 6 years. Williams, who also took the photo which came 2nd, is a retired headteacher from Llanrwst.
Robin Owain, Wikimedia UK Manager (Wales) was surprised by the quality of the images: the quality is surprisingly good and is a record of the state of play of some of the protected species in Wales. 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."
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 at 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."
Revenues received during this six-month periodEdit
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 ($US)* Explanation of variances from plan Annual Plan Grant GBP 172500 86250 86250 172500 234859 234859 N/A FDC Other Grant GBP 0 0 0 0 0 0 N/A Restricted Grants GBP 52286 0 59550 59550 71187 81077 See below Donations GBP 84000 53990 47905 101895 114366 138730 See below Gift Aid Claims GBP 7876 5277 4389 9666 10723 13160 See below Gifts in kind and other income GBP 84771 48346 45025 93371 115416 127125 See below TOTAL GBP 401433 193863 243119 0 0 436982 546551 594951 See below
* Provide estimates in US Dollars
|INCOME||Q2 cumulative||Q1 alone||Q2 alone|
|Annual Plan Grant||172,500||86,250||86,250|
|Gift Aid Claims||9,666||5,277||4,389|
|FDC other grant||-||-||0|
|Gifts in Kind||89,336||45,144||44,192|
|Bank Interest Received||11||2||9|
|Other funding (NLHF etc)||59,550||-||59,550|
|Other Miscellaneous Income||0|
Spending during this six-month periodEdit
Please use the exchange rate in your APG proposal.
Table 3 Please report all spending in the currency of your grant unless US$ 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 39045 20404 20398 40802 53159 55552 104.50% SG2 GBP 35051 18185 18233 36418 47722 49584 103.90% SG3 GBP 14532 6996 7205 14201 19785 19335 97.73% SG4 GBP 7000 746 1520 2266 9531 3084 32.36% Fundraising GBP 8750 3029 3900 6928 11913 9433 79.18% Staff GBP 241664 116204 118531 234735 329025 319591 97.13% Overheads GBP 62534 27931 34205 62137 85140 84599 99.36% TOTAL GBP 408575 193495 203992 397487 556275 541178 97.29%
* Provide estimates in US Dollars
Variance Narrative - Agreed Budget vs Application Budget
Between the application for grant for 2021-22 and the Wikimedia UK Board’s agreement of a final budget for that year Wikimedia UK learned it had been successful in an application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) for funding for a two year project providing digital literacy training. As this essentially replaced some of the target for project activity it resulted in a substantial revision of the budget to incorporate the first year figures of income and expenditure of the project. Our projections for the outcome at 31st January 2021 also showed other increases in provision for expenditure were required.
Note that included in the spend on salaries is a proportion of the restricted £120,000 grant received towards fundraising during 2020-21.
All figures are GBP.
|Proposal||Budget||Change||Reason for Change|
|Annual Plan Grant||345,000||345,000||-|
|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||-|
|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||-|
|Fundraising costs (processing fees)||15,500||15,500||-|
|IT & Telephony||22,360||26,210||3,850||Increase in budget for external IT consultancy|
|Other Office Costs||13,554||13,554||-|
|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|
Variance Narrative – Agreed Budget vs ActualsEdit
Wikimedia UK’s financial year ends on 31st January and its Q2 end date is 31st July 2021. The office remained closed during Q1 with all staff working remotely. During the second half of Q2 a small number of staff began working part-time in the office. For the final quarter of 2020 we accounted for the £120,000 fundraising capacity grant as restricted income, so we have unrestricted funds and restricted funds brought forward into 2021. The result for Q2 on the unrestricted fund at the end of quarter 2 is a surplus of £795 against a budget deficit of £24,976, a variance of £25,771. This excludes gifts-in-kind where there was no variance. Restricted funds had a surplus of £38,700 against a budgeted surplus of 17,834, a variance of £20,866. The variance on unrestricted funds comprises an underspend on costs of £6,350, and a surplus in income over reforecast of £19,420. The major component of the income surplus was donations.
- Donations income is over budget at 21% above forecast. While the fundraising environment in the UK remains challenging, we have achieved a slowing of the attrition rate of regular donors and new sources have grown
- Gift aid income is 21% ahead of forecast, which follows the surplus in donations
- Gifts in Kind (GiK) income consists almost entirely of salaries and expenses relating to our Wikimedians in Residence programme and is ahead of reforecast with a surplus of £12.8k. GiK income is matched to an equivalent expenditure as detailed below.
- SG1, SG2 and SG3 are all on budget, with SG1 and SG2 having small overspends. These strategic goals are heavily influenced by expenditure on our programmes budget which includes the costs associated with our Wikimedians in Residence programme GiK. As highlighted above, the income surplus for GiK is matched by an associated expenditure increase which has had the effect of creating an overspend in these two strategic areas.
- SG4 shows an underspend of 49% against reforecast but this is only £1.9k as it’s a small budget. This can be entirely attributed to timing differences of communication spend that is planned but haven’t taken place yet.
- Overheads show a net overspend of £4k. This includes £4.6k on staff costs. The remainder is a combination of small underspends on Governance and IT and office costs.
The Senior Management Team at Wikimedia UK produces a Quarterly Financial Monitoring Report and an accompanying narrative commentary on a quarterly basis. These include much more detailed breakdowns of variances against income and expenditure along with a summary of current financial prospects, and are available upon request for anyone who would like more insight into the organisation’s finances.
- Data on teachers’ lives during the pandemic’ report - https://theodi.org/article/data-on-teachers-lives-during-the-pandemic-report/?sd
Is your organization compliant with the terms outlined in the grant agreement?Edit
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.
- No changes beyond what was outlined in the 'Progress towards the plan, adaptations' sections throughout the report.
Are you in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations as outlined in the grant agreement? Please answer "Yes" or "No".
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".
- Once complete, please sign below with the usual four tildes.