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Grants:Conference/Europeana/Scholarships for 2017 European GLAM coordinators meeting/Report

Report accepted
This report for a Conference Grant approved in FY 2016-17 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.


This is the report for the WMF-Grant obtained under the "conference and event" program for the funding of scholarships to attend the 2017 European GLAMwiki Coordinators meeting (not to fund the event itself). See original grant proposal here.

GoalsEdit

 
Scholarship recipient Rebecca O'Neill, representing the Irish Wikimedian community delivering her presentation - voted one of the most "interesting or memorable" sessions.

For the Grant-specific component of the event - to provide scholarships to participants whose affiliate would not otherwise be able to attend - we were able to offer five as per this original plan. We also offered two scholarships not in accordance with the rules listed on the original grant request, but which were approved directly by user:KHarold (WMF) (marked with an *). These were:

Our goal with the event was "to share skills and best practices, coordinate projects, and consolidate connections between parts of our movement." In this we believe it has been successful. See the February edition of This Month In GLAM - Special Story for the full event report (edited version also on the Europeana blog. See also various attendees own reports, as marked next to their names on the attendee list.

OutcomeEdit

As per the listed measures of success in the grant application:

Target outcome Achieved outcome Explanation
Total # of participants > than 2015 edition (which was 15). Achieved. 33 Attendees Representing 15 Chapters, 6 UserGroups/ThOrgs, and 6 others such as Europeana, UNESCO etc. (up from 13, 1, 1 in 2015). 40% of attendees indicated that no one from their organisation attended the event in 2015, while 28% said that someone else from their organisation attended.
#/% of female participants > than 2015 edition (which was 5) Steady. 2:1 gender-gap Proportion maintained despite growth of event. Please note participation statistic (below) which demonstrates that the "participation gender gap" is much smaller (i.e. while women made up 1/3 of attendees, they gave more than 1/3 of all presentations) although this can't be precisely measured.
# of new projects initiated (esp. joint projects) not measurable in short term Attendees have been surveyed on this point re. short term changes they'll make. Many refer to greater integration of wikidata into activities; some refer to Wikisource; some mention their intention to highlight multi-lingual activites. Anecdotal feedback indicates that several proposed projects are currently being discussed (e.g. 'wiki loves folk', 'world climate conf.', UNESCO open access)
 
Scholarship recipient Navino Evans, representing Histropedia, whose WikidataQueryService/SPARQL training workshop was voted one of the most "important" sessions.

Other statistical outcomes, according to the post-event survey of attendees:

  • Role/capacity at event: 50% were employees of wikimedia affiliates/WMF, 8% were volunteer board members, and 25% were designated volunteer community members from their affiliate, 25% were employees of a non-wikimedia organisation.
  • GLAM in job title: 20% have GLAMwiki/Cultural-sector outreach as the specific purpose of their role, while a further 50% had it as one of a series of aspects to their role.
  • New/returning participant: 1/3 of affiliates represented were new to the meeting, while 2/3 had attendees at the 2015 event.
  • Participation rate: 50% of all attendees gave a presentation, 42% gave a "lightning-talk" and 38% self-reported as having given "many" comments in the discussion sections. Importantly, 92% of attendees reported as feeling completely comfortable to participate whenever they wished (the other 8% reported some difficulties with the speed/difficulty level of English language).
  • Relevant and repeatable: 92% said that the meeting was 'relevant' or 'very relevant' to their role. 96% believe that this event series should be continued in 2019 or 2020.

Note: The grant was for some scholarships to a attend a meeting, however all the statistics are regarding the meeting/participants as a whole (not just the scholarship component)

Lessons learnedEdit

Following feedback from the event survey, the most successful aspect of the event was its diversity. This was in the context of both the diversity of participants (professional background, country, Wikimedian role) and diversity of the content (the presentation format, the variety of content, the duration, the level of interaction). We deliberately included technical workshops (e.g. SPARQL training), interactive sessions with 'craft' aspects (e.g. mapping workflows/pain-points), short presentations (lightning talks, fail-fest), longform parallel presentations (grants in one room, software in another room), and keynotes (European Space Agency, UNESCO, Europeana). Presentations ranged from academic (Rebecca) to personal (Zeineb), formal (ESA) to amusing (fail-fest), single and paired-speaker presentations.

The least successful aspect of the event sessions itself was the remote-participation presentation of a technical tool. This was hampered by the limited AV technology of the meeting room itself. Unfortunately even in 2017 we still haven't come up with a way to solve the 'can you hear me now?' dance when presenting over Skype.

FinancesEdit

This grant had Wikimedia Nederland as its fiscal sponsor.

Grant funds spentEdit

The grant allocated a per-person maximum of €700 (covering per-diem, flight, and accommodation) with a maximum of 10 possible scholarships, as detailed in the Budget section of the application. Subsequently it was confirmed that this also can include travel-visa application fees, if required.

7 attendees received scholarships, as detailed in the "Goals" section above. The actual amount spent, as accounted for by WM-NL is as follows:

Costs Amount
Per diems for 7 participants* € 1,050
Travel & accommodation for 7 participants** € 2,938
Bank charges € 34.50
Total spent € 4,022.73
Total original grant available €7,000.00
Remaining available funds € 2,977.27

*Signed confirmation from participant of receiving of their per-diem in person has been sent to WMF-Grants privately.
**Copies of receipts for travel & accommodation for each scholarship recipient have be sent to WMF-Grants privately.

Remaining fundsEdit

The expenses of the grant were allocated to the grant recipients by Wikimedia Nederlands directly, using the chapter's funds. The chapter also chose not to request a % administration fee for being the Fiscal Sponsor, as was offered to them. Therefore, only the total spent needs to be transferred to WM-NL (accounting for currency conversion from USD to EUR). No return of remaining funds required.

Anything elseEdit

Due to the extensive delays in approving the grant (or even receiving any committee commentary on the talkpage) notwithstanding frequent and increasingly desperate reminders that the UNESCO HG invitation system was quite strict and required formal invitations be sent - we were not able to advertise the possibility of scholarships after the grant had been approved. Therefore, all the eventual scholarship recipients were those who had 'pre-registered' their interest in applying for a scholarship while the grant request was still pending. Some people who expressed interest at that point, and some who expressed interest after the grant was approved, were not able to attend because of this delay.

This grant program itself has been particularly difficult and has required more back-and-forth communication and paperwork than would be normally be considered necessary considering its small financial size. Although this was a Wikimedia-focused event, the scope and nature of this grant request is most suited to the Travel and Participation grant system. Also, as it was being run by a non-Wikimedia organisation (Europeana) and hosted by another non-Wikimedia organisation (UNESCO) on an in-kind basis, this was the only component of the entire event which required transferring of money from one Wikimedian to another. All other aspects were paid by the participants themselves (their own travel, accommodation, meals). This meant that an event designed to operate on a zero-budget basis - precisely to reduce the complexity for all stakeholders - had to create a relatively complex budget management process in order to add a few attendees (For example, it required a 15 page contract). This is not an efficient method of action - neither for the WMF nor the grant recipient. Disagreement between WMF and WM-FR about whose responsibility it ought to be to administer this grant (whose staff were already the busiest, whose banking/legal system allowed transfers...) proved particularly unproductive. Fortunately WM-NL was willing and able to provide this service.

Although impossible to quantify, the combined value of the staff time from WMF, Europeana, UNESCO, WM-NL, and WM-Fr to administer the grant application (not including the scholarship-distribution or reporting time) was certainly more than the value of the grant itself. These political, procedural and legal difficulties the Wikimedia movement has in sending money to itself need to be resolved.