Grants:Conference/Northern Europe Meeting 2018/Report

Report accepted
This report for a Conference Grant approved in FY 2017-18 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • To read the approved grant submission describing the plan for this project, please visit Grants:Conference/Northern Europe Meeting 2018.
  • You may still comment on this report on its discussion page, or visit the discussion page to read the discussion about this report.
  • You are welcome to Email conferencegrants at wikimedia dot org at any time if you have questions or concerns about this report.


Target outcome Achieved outcome Explanation
The start of at least three cooperation projects between the Wikimedia organizations in Northern Europe.
  1. Proposed online exhibition with common Northern Europe material
  2. Collaboration on Sami material from different communities
  3. Language space at Wikimania 2019
  4. Phabricator as an internal planning tool for affiliates, and modelling projects with templates
  5. Wikiwomen Nordic
Although not all are cooperations and not all of them started at WikiNEM, the discussions and collaboration moved activities forward and helped participants find new partners and ways to reach further.
An established model for continuous communication between affiliates in the region.
  1. The new portal on Meta.
  2. Facebook group for gender gap focused projects.
  3. More frequent communications through the mailing list.
The mode for communication may be established even if it is not used all the time, also it’s available for when the need is more frequent. Some communication have made use of new channels, some have stayed in channels previously existing and some have found other channels.
Increased capacities of regional affiliates and individual members to achieve goals in at least two specific areas:
  • education
  • GLAM
  • conference organization.
Attending the conference has strengthened the participants and helped them move forward in several projects. Some attendees have used their new skills and contacts to propose activities at other conferences and some to start new or move on with ongoing projects. According to the survey sent out six months after the conference several participants responded that attending the WikiNEM had a positive impact on their work in the areas listed.
The establishment of a structure for a recurring regional event. The name, aim with events, geographic scope and communication channels have all been established to organize the event again. WMEE are planning to host a WikiNEM in Estonia in the fall of 2019. The change in who can receive a WMF conference grant makes it harder to organize an event like this though.

Next stepsEdit

Activities during the conference 2 months after the conference 6 months after the conference
Strategic Discussions:

Were any significant issues your community discussed at the conference?

The participants contributed 26 Topics to the Open Space agenda over five sessions. Some examples include support for the region's minority and indigenous languages, support for small affiliates, Nordic funding opportunities and established communications. Full list of topics and discussion notes are available on the documentation page:

The organizational compass activity specifically identified the purpose of the collaboration:  

Following the conference the reporting back to communities were done through blog posts and texts on local language Wikipedias by the affiliates attending. All documentation was also open for others to read and ask questions about.

At the new common platform on Meta discussion started about what to call the group, where to coordinate communication and how to move forward while there was momentum.

The conversation at Meta has moved back to mailing lists and other channels. Of the discussions started about collaboration the projects dealing with Sami culture and indigenous languages are the ones still active.

The affiliates met during Wikimedia Summit 2019 to continue the discussion about work to do jointly in the coming year and about Wikimania in Stockholm.

Both WMNO and WMFI are involved in preparations for Wikimania. WMNO are supporting with organizing a track around languages and WMFI with communication and with the hackathon.

WMNO and WMEE are also organizing a presentation at Wikimania about regional conferences.

WMEE is taking the lead with organizing the WikiNEM conference in October 2019.

Capacity Development: Please list capacity building sessions or workshops. Lightning talks included topics such as Wikimania, small languages in the region, Sami Wikipedia, online contests, partnership and outreach activities: All participants took part.

The meeting had a busy gallery walk with organizational profiles, for all participants to learn about each other and the resources existing in the region:

However, specific training sessions were not the focus of this event, but will be of future ones as this is now an established concept and event for the region.

Resources are mainly shared through direct contact with people in the individuals networks, which were strengthened during the conference. Although no follow up training was planned for the participants several respondents of the survey sent out six months after the event indicate that they gained skills or experiences that were useful or made them feel more comfortable when attending other Wikimedia related activities.
Projects or Working Groups:

What are the most important projects that were started or improved during the conference?

Eight action plans were created in conclusion of the meeting:
  1. How to cooperate in the Nordic region?
  2. Gender issues for the region
  3. Education collaborations
  4. Wikimedia PR
  5. GLAM Follow up
  6. Collaborations to support minority languages
  7. Sister projects & outside collaboration
  8. Naming the collaboration in Northern Europe

Each plan has details about who is responsible for next steps and when:

The Meta portal [[Wikimedia Northern Europe]] was created on the last day of the meeting in consensus.

The email list Wikimedia-Northern-Europe is open to subscribe to (archive).

Of the listed action plans the successful work after two months include setting up a new portal on Meta and moving some of the conversation there, as well as initiating finding a name for the collaboration. In preparation for Wikimania there has been collaboration among the involved chapters and affiliates in different parts of planning and getting volunteers to participate in various tasks.

For the Sami projects and activities around indigenous languages some coordination has been done which has resulted in joint participation at conferences.

The WMEE team has prepared for a WikiNEM meeting targeting both newcomers and more experienced volunteers, while the meeting in Stockholm focused on affiliates sending delegations that were empowered to take decisions on future work and collaborations. The WikiNEM 2019 event could reuse parts of the material prepared for the 2018 event, thus saving time and resources.


What worked well at the event?Edit

Decisions about the program and formatEdit

Early in the start of planning for WikiNEM, we decided that there was a need for the group to reach a shared understanding of the purpose with a Northern Europe Wikimedia collaboration, as we regarded it likely that participants and affiliates have a range of different ideas for this. This is why the first part of the meeting was dedicated to the “Organizational compass”, where we in a big group dialogue probed the different views of the purpose to come up with one that all participants could agree on.

Because WikiNEM was the first meeting of its kind we also decided to make it an open space meeting, a technique used to generate lots of ideas and identify actions in a short space of time. A successful open space meeting require a facilitator. As we don’t have the right level of facilitation skills, we hired an external facilitator. Overall, we feel that the format saved us a lot of planning time, a resource that the budget did not allow for.

We took the opportunity to organize a pre-WikiNEM meetup during Wikimania 2018 to present the outline of the idea and get input on how to communicate the open format of the meeting. Some 15 people attended the meetup. It was also an opportunity to discuss with other Wikimedia affiliates and stakeholders in Europe.

The open space nature of the meeting also requires committed participants, as they are the ones running and self organizing agenda items. In preparing the conference each affiliate was encouraged to find suitable participants in their community. To make sure the cost of travel and living would not stop anyone from participating it was included for those who didn’t have a chapter covering it. Overall the participants were happy with the service provided by the travel agency and with the hotel. Having a limit of five participants from each affiliate, in part due to limitations in funding and meeting venue, ensured that everyone was seen and able to make their voice heard.    

The program was formed around the two main interactive activities, the organizational compass and the open space. We took advantage of the program space on Meta to specify the kind of engagement each activity require from participants and also some glossary. We feel that these preparations supported the success of the meeting in that it ensured quality in participation and engagement.

There was a gallery walk at the end of Saturday, when all affiliates showcased their (pieces of art) organizational profiles. Everyone had the chance to discuss important topics and learn about each other during the session. The profiles were a team preparation task intended to give each affiliate a chance to think about what they wanted to share and learn from others before arriving at the meeting. The lightning talks were also used as expert input for everyone to learn more about some of the details from the profiles.

Useful event outputEdit

We planned for how to organize documentation and how to give instructions for note taking and the documentation page gives a pretty detailed account of what a group of 30 individuals can achieve in two days. Digital templates for discussion notes were prepared to facilitate the discussions and remove time spent on deciding how to organize the note taking. A template was also used for the last session’s action plans. The templates and the tables organizing the output are inspired by the Movement strategy track open space at Wikimedia Conference 2017.

Links to templates:

We hope the organizational compass will be a useful resource for the coming events in that they can build on the purpose and follow the compass that was identified. All participants submitted their vision for the collaboration. Due to time constraints, we were unable to distill them into one vision, but they can act as input for a coming meetings and strategic discussions for the region.

The logistics of the eventEdit

With experience from the [[Wikimedia Diversity Conference 2017|Wikimedia Diversity Conference]] a year earlier we decided to use a travel agency to ease the burden of coordinating all travels. We also used a hotel within walking distance from the meeting venue to make sure no transportation within Stockholm was needed. As the venue was located in the same building as the WMSE office we could offer the facilitator an early site visit to make sure rooms and spaces were suitable for the format of the sessions and the conference. Having the venue and the office at the same place also helped in that no extra transportation of material was needed before or after the conference.

What did not work so well?Edit

Division of work when organizing the eventEdit

With limited funding it was hard to divide the work between affiliates as coordination of tasks would require as much input as doing things right away. Having done things and documented many of the tasks it will be easier in the following iterations of running the conference to share the work. Another aspect that made it hard to divide work between affiliates was that some chapters have staff and others are doing the work on volunteer time. As this was the first conference for this group it was important for us to have an open format that allowed all affiliates to provide input to the mission and activities, and to work with a facilitator who could help make sure all voices were heard in the process.

Working groups and governanceEdit

During the WikiNEM it was clear that a governance model was missing for how and to what extent the participants can represent their affiliate after the event. With most of the participants being volunteers (although with an overlap of board members) it was hard to commit to take actions or to allocate resources needed for bigger tasks.

The difference between staff (who have more time but do not control it) and volunteers (who decide themselves but have limited time) was apparent.

Possibility to follow-up on what was decidedEdit

While the conference was a great opportunity to meet and get to know participants from the other affiliates in the Northern Europe region, and to discuss common projects and where to go next, it was hard to follow up on what was decided and documented in the action plans. This was in part due to the fact that not all participants had a clear mandate from their affiliates or communities, but also that the conference did not have a clear mandate over the affiliates to divide tasks and make sure actions were followed up.

What would you do differently next time?Edit

When organizing a conference as a collaboration, but where the affiliates have different resources (staff hours) to put in to the planning and execution it is important to have clear and set definitions of tasks to make it easier for all involved parties to see and act on things, and to divide the workload. Having done this before makes it easier to look back at the lists and Phabricator tickets to see what is appropriate to do ourselves and what tasks can be done by others.

Running the conference as an open space, with the mindset “whoever is here are the right people” is great for a first conference where a big part of the goal is to get to know each other and to figure out a mission statement and how to move things forward. In running the conference a second time it is more important to make sure that the people in the room actually have a clear mandate from their communities or affiliates to bring up issues for discussion and action, and that they also have the time and manpower to follow up on what is decided to make sure that the work is done after the conference. Also, adding a part with what and how to follow up after the conference would facilitate keeping the conversation going between the times we meet.

Looking at the format of the conference, the open space and allowing time for meta questions was great for a first conference, but moving forward questions have to focus more on common projects and what we can do together. By setting up a task force in advance to identify the relevant issues to work with a lot of face to face time at the conference can be saved, by having attendees come prepared for what’s on the table.

Some of the tasks listed as important to do has been reused in the list of activities for volunteers for Wikimania, and can also work as a base for both WikiNEM and other conferences in the Wikimedia world.

Feedback surveyEdit

The day after the conference concluded, 8 October, a Conference feedback survey was sent to all participants. The survey was sent out using Google Forms, and after a few reminders we had a response rate of almost 70%. A drawback with using Google Forms (compared to Qualtrics) was that it was harder to track responses from individual users, meaning that reminders went out to those who had already submitted their replies.

The responses indicate that the participants are generally happy with the format and the outcome of the conference, and that the open space worked well as a way to get new contacts. Among the 20 responses 75% gave an overall rating of excellent and the remaining 25% good. A full breakdown of the survey results can be found here.

The WikiNEM 2018 survey report.

The follow up survey was sent out a little over six months after the conference, also using Google Forms. With the same problem with reminders, it took some effort to get replies from the participants, but after an extra push we ended up with a 70% response rate. In this survey we used more open questions, which makes it harder to evaluate the feedback. The general comments were that the conference was good as an initial meeting for making contacts and finding out what other affiliates are doing, while also hoping for a next one to actually move on with joint collaborations now that we don’t have to start from the beginning.

Financial documentationEdit

Budget tableEdit

Item description Unit Quantity Cost per unit (SEK) Total cost (SEK) WMF contribution (SEK) Other sources (SEK) Actual cost (SEK) Comments
Travel People 15 1,550 23,250 23,250 0 31,145 Travel with an estimated average of 1,550 SEK per scholarship recipient. WMSE, WMEE, WMNO pays for travel for their participants.
Accomodation People 15 1,450 21,750 21,750 0 24,650 Accommodation for two nights including breakfast and wifi. WMSE, WMEE, WMNO pays for accomodation for their participants.
Facilitator at conference Days 2.5 15,000 37,500 20,000 17,500 20,000 17,500 SEK pro-bono work by facilitator.
Catering This budget has 32 people instead of 25 as stated in the budget in the application. This is compensated by a lower cost per meal.
Lunch day 1 Meals 32 85 2,720 2,720 2,805
Lunch day 2 Meals 32 165 5,280 5,280 5,445
Dinner day 1 Meals 32 205 6,560 0 6,560 0 Sponsored by the Swedish Internet Foundation
Extra travel and miscellaneous costs 5,012 5,012 1,139 Due to sponsored dinner and good exchange rate we have some extra funds available for to cover travel costs for participants and possible material needed for the event.
TOTAL 102,072 78,012 24,060 85,184

Summary of fundingEdit

Total project budget (from your approved grant submission):

102,072 SEK

Total amount requested from WMF (from your approved grant submission):

78,012 SEK

Total amount spent on this project (this total should be the total calculated from the table above):

85,184 SEK

Total amount of WMF grant funds spent on this project:

78,012 SEK

Are there additional sources of revenue that funded any part of this project? List them here.

  • Facilitator at conference: 17,500 SEK pro-bono work by facilitator.
  • Dinner day 1: 6,560 SEK sponsored by the Swedish Internet Foundation
  • Extra costs: 7,172 SEK financed within the Wikimedia Sverige project Exchange of Experiences 2018.

Remaining fundsEdit

Are there any grant funds remaining?


Please list the total amount (specify currency) remaining here. (This is the amount you did not use, or the amount you still have after completing your grant.)


Anything elseEdit