Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Community Fund/Black Lunch Table in 2022 and Beyond

Black Lunch Table in 2022 and Beyond
We are seeking editors, new and experienced, to help right(write) history. In addition to shifting the demographic of editors, we want to highlight the importance of recording histories of under-documented visual artists. This goal flows through programming; hosting edit-a-thons, photobooths, artist talks, creating institutional and community partnerships. Of course in order to do all these things successfully we need our best team, which we continue to grow and see as integral to our progress.
start date1-Jan-2022
end date31-Dec-2024
budget (local currency)301793.1 USD
budget (USD)301793.1 USD
grant typeWikimedia Affiliate (chapter, thematic org., or user group)
grantees• Raggachampiongirl, main contact, Wikimedia director

Heathart, project co-founder

Fishantena, project co-founder
organization (if applicable)• Black Lunch Table Wikimedians

This is an automatically generated page based on the applicant's application on the Wikimedia Foundation's Grantee Portal on Fluxx.


What is the main objective of your proposal?

We are seeking editors, new and experienced, to help right(write) history. In addition to shifting the demographic of editors, we want to highlight the importance of recording histories of under-documented visual artists. This goal flows through programming; hosting edit-a-thons, photobooths, artist talks, creating institutional and community partnerships. Of course in order to do all these things successfully we need our best team, which we continue to grow and see as integral to our progress.

What are the main challenges you are trying to solve and your proposed solution?

Wikipedia needs more editors of color, women editors and more quality articles about notable Black artists in order to reflect a more comprehensive and inclusive history as is expected on Wikipedia.

As the most recent community survey has documented, editors of color broadly are underrepresented. With what we know from previous research about the dominant gender of editors,Black Lunch Tablebelieves that everyone has a stake in bringing those at the margins of history to the center of it.

We seek to shift this demographic and create awareness around this knowledge gap and work to close it by hosting events focused on improving or creating pages for black visual artists. We are actively cultivating a more diverse editorship and encouraging editors in the majority demographic to focus on this marginalized or omitted subject matter. Our Wikipedia Initiative empowers people to document their own histories. We train participants to create, update, and improve Wikimedia articles and items pertaining to the lives and works of black artists.

Using on-Wiki tools as well as more traditional digital and analog research methods we continue to grow a task list of notable Black artists who either have no Wikipedia page or their page is in need of improvement. The list is currently just shy of 1400 artists. Creating a document that enumerates and names the knowledge gap that is Black artists on Wikipedia is an incredibly important part of our drive to raise importance about this work.

We provide space, time, and support for new and experienced editors to work together on this knowledge gap. We encourage and motivate new editors to return to editing beyond their first edit-a-thon. We promote literacy on other platforms like Wikidata and Wikicommons as they are integral parts of creating structurally complete articles.

Currently, the demographic of editors has a direct relation to the content produced. Our project and proposal is focused on making a greater appeal to connect a diverse editorship with an awareness of this knowledge and their agency to edit on Wikimedia broadly. In turn we hope that the entire editorship contributes to the (art) historical record.

In what ways do you think your proposal most contributes to the Movement Strategy 2030 recommendations. Select a maximum of three options that most apply.

Improve User Experience, Ensure Equity in Decision-making, Identify Topics for Impact, Innovate in Free Knowledge

Where will this proposal be implemented?

United States of America

Do you want to apply for multi-year funding?


Project ProposalEdit

Describe your main strategies to achieve the objective and the activities you will be developing as part of these strategies.

BLT’s programs are the vehicle we use to move our community towards our goals. As we continue to contend with the pandemic our programming remains largely online with some lower risk in-person activities.

We have five programmatic categories:

  • BLT:Live (online)
  • BLT: Topic Focus and Edit-a-thons (online)
  • BLT Contests (online)
  • BLT Photobooth (in-person)
  • BLT Proxy engagements (online)

Edit-a-thons are a core activity of BLT. They allow us to increase the information and participation about and by our community and invite all editors to focus on this particular knowledge gap. Topic Focus has featured experts on WikiEDU, Wikidata, and Spanish language editing.

Regional proxies are Wikimedians outside our home areas of New York and Chicago who establish and expand editorship in their own community. These engagements have taken our work to Houston, TX, Ilorin, NG, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, and Seattle, WA.

Wikipedia is not the only platform with knowledge gaps. The BLT Photobooth increases images of Black artists on Wikicommons. We hire photographers and invite local artists to have their portraits taken. These photos are then uploaded to Commons increasing the actual visibility of Black artists on Wiki.

BLT Bingo is a contest that we run every month, encouraging editing as well as spreading information about that month’s artists through a social media campaign: BLT Bingo Tips. Posted throughout the month, the tips support editors who need a nudge and increase awareness about Black artists on and off the platform.

An adaptation we made during the pandemic was for artists to share their work and be compensated for their time through one hour artist talks on IG Live. There is no active editing during this event but it does highlight the project in general and especially outside of Wikimedia. It is an opportunity to educate the public about what we do so that when invitations are made they are more readily accepted.

We are excited to begin a new and important partnership in 2022 with PACE Gallery. After partnering to host a photobooth over the summer we are hopeful about our first Wikimedian in residence at PACE. As we educate individuals about the knowledge gap it follows that institutions should also be a part of amending the record of marginalization. Our fellow will work within the vast PACE library, with catalogs and otherwise out of print and inaccessible texts, to contribute to important artist articles on Wiki.

What is your organization or group's mission?

BLT is a vernacular history archiving project. Our mission is to build a comprehensive understanding of cultural history by illuminating stories of Black people. We envision a future in which all of our histories are recorded and valued. We will continue the work of disrupting the dominant historical narrative and the systemic othering of Black voices. We will continue addressing historical omissions by empowering marginalized voices to record, transcribe, archive, and publish their stories.

Indicate if it is a local, international, or regional proposal and if it involves several countries?


Please state if you will be carrying out any of these activities within your programs? Select all that apply.

Organizing Meet-up online, Workshops, Edit-A-Thons, Contest, Wikimedian-in-Residence, Photo/Media campaign, Conference/Event Organizing, Other

Are you running any in-person events or activities?


Please state if your proposal aims to work to bridge any of the identified content knowledge gaps?

Content Gender gap, Geography, Language, Important Topics (topics considered to be of impact or important in the specific context), Cultural background, ethnicity, religion, racial

Will your work focus on involving participants from any underrepresented communities? Select all categories that apply.

Geographic, Ethnic/racial/religious or cultural background, Linguistic / Language

Please state if your proposal includes any of these areas or thematic focus.

Education, Culture, heritage or GLAM, Open Technology, Diversity

Please tell us more about your target participants.

Our programs were constructed with a series of objectives in mind. Some do more of one than another but in concert lead us to our goals. BLT’s program objectives are:
  • Provide an accessible inroad to the Wiki universe for anyone interested in participating
  • Increase and teach skills/techniques that support editing fluency on the Wiki platforms
  • Introduce and encourage editors to create “structurally complete” articles
  • Provide opportunities for tech/topic shares
  • Engage new editors and offer returning editors continued opportunities for support, especially women and people of color
  • Maintain engagement and expand our editorship
  • Increase information about the lives of Black Artists on Wiki platforms
  • Increase the quality and diversify images of Black artists on Wikicommons
  • Provide opportunities and strategies for EDU/classroom support
  • Compensate workers and artists for their time
  • Develop a more thoughtful approach to translating pages and multilingual presence on Wiki, centering interpretation and self-awareness.

In general, our audience is anyone who wants to work toward these objectives with us. We want to work with folks who are passionate about the lives and works of Black artists and getting those stories documented and included in the canon.

More specifically, our target audience and communities include: the artists and citizens offering testimony and contributing their lived histories; institutions who host our events; (art) historians interested in a particular movement, person, issue; students and researchers; curators seeking a deeper understanding of a particular artist, issue or location; friends, neighbors, and web users; all those parties collaborating in the writing of contemporary cultural history.

Many of the events we host and the communities with whom we have ongoing engagements are in our hometowns of Chicago and Brooklyn but we describe our project as “nomadic.” In order to democratize the authoring of cultural history, we need to bring our project to the people and we need to address access to and the unequal distribution of cultural resources. With that goal in mind we have hosted events at dozens of communities (inter)nationally.

Black Lunch Table is an act of radical archiving, because we the people are writing the record. By providing a medium for various communities to participate in the production of discourse surrounding their lives and their experiences, BLT reframes the power dynamic between subjecthood and authorship.

Do you have plans to work with other Wikimedia communities, groups or affiliates in your country, or in other countries, to implement this proposal?


Please tell us about these connections online and offline and how you have let Wikimedia communities know about this proposal.

Will you be working with other external, non-Wikimedian partners to implement this proposal? Please describe these partnerships.

Individual artists and experts- TBD, hosted as part of our BLT: Live and BLT: Topic Focus programs, no support.

PACE Gallery, inaugural year, Wikimedian in residence. Paid year long engagement based in NYC connecting the work of BLT and PACE Gallery’s holdings to update and create articles about Black artists. Shared cost of resident stipend and on-site support.

Institutional and community partnerships, recurring and new, to host a variety of edit-a-thons, talks, workshops. Many are paid engagements, not all. 2022 expected as of submission:

  • MoMA
  • UPENN Fisher Libraries
  • CAA
  • Albright Knox Gallery
  • WaNaWari
  • School of the Art Institute Libraries
  • 21c Museum + Hotels

How do you hope to sustain or expand the work carried out in this proposal after the grant?

Black Lunch Table as a project is sixteen years old and our Wiki initiative is really just starting to get its feet. We have expanded the scope of our work and ability to carry out goals. We are in an exciting moment of growth. This work is not limited to annual grant cycles, instead it is a long-term ongoing effort that will remain responsive to systems that make a project like this necessary.

2021 allowed us to hire and compensate our first two full time employees and it has made a difference with continuity and the flow of the project as a whole. Part of our sustainability goals actually require more growth in the near term. For our staff, especially executive level staff, to focus on their role as written, we need more folks to support in all levels.

Programmatically we will focus on improving training. We see Wikidata as a crucial literacy tool for new editors. Wikidata has been imperative to creating our task list and region-specific focus lists for events. Retention and returning partners are also important to sustainability over the long term. We want our efforts in both geographic regions and with institutions to be foundational and ones we are building on year over year. This strategy naturally builds a community of editors who are more experienced with new ones and creates peers online and in physical proximity. This additional level of support in addition to what BLT can offer is something we find critical to editor retention.

Have you received grants from the Wikimedia Foundation before?

Applied previously and did receive a grant

Have you received grants from any non-wiki organization before?


Do you have the team that is needed to implement this proposal?

BLT continues to work to develop a more efficient and effective team. Establishing, hiring, training and retaining a team that can manage day to day operations, so the executive team may better focus on near and long term strategy and fundraising, is important.

Last year we were able to formalize a few positions, create an entirely new one and increase pay rates. Largely, BLT worked to retain those already on board, build momentum for the project, and increase cohesion and functionality across the team.

These increases and the need to fill vacant but necessary positions reflect an initial substantial increase in grant funding to account for an increase in personnel costs across the entire team.

We have listed here those that are included in our ask for WMF funding.

  • Heather hart(co-founder and co-executive director)@Heathart
  • Jina Valentine(co-founder and co-executive director)@Fishantena
  • Viva Yeboah (Finance + Operations Managing Director)
  • Eliza Myrie (Wikimedia Director) @Raggachampiongirl
  • Kearra Gopee (Wikimedia Assistant) @Nikitag94
  • Marlo Longley (Digital Specialist) @Marlorbit
  • Brooke Richie-Babbage (Nonprofit Consultant)
  • Regional Proxies:
  • Kearra Gopee (Regional Proxy for Los Angeles and Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago) @Nikitag94
  • Sam Oyeyele (Regional proxy, Ilorin, Nigeria) @Jamie_Tubers
  • Jaison Oliver (Regional proxy, Houston, TX) @Jgo1906
  • Nichole Hart (Regional proxy, Seattle, WA) @Halimahart
  • (3 vacant)
  • Vacant: Programs Director
  • Vacant(Nov 2021 hire): Comms Specialist
  • Vacant (Nov 2021 hire): Executive Assistant
  • Vacant: Wikimedian in Residence at Pace Gallery, NY
  • Vacant: 2022 Guest Speakers
  • Vacant: 2022 Photographers
  • Vacant: 2022 Childcare
  • (accountant)
  • (lawyer)

Please state if your organization or group has a Strategic Plan that can help us further understand your proposal. You can also upload it here. (optional)


Learning, Sharing, and EvaluationEdit

What do you hope to learn from your work in this fund proposal?

Practically, we can and will look at our metrics, evaluate where there may have been missteps or where we could improve to yield better quantitative results. To ask what we would like to learn is more complex.

We return to our core motivations for the work and the importance of BLT as an artist project. Why is it important that Black Lunch Table is an artist project? What does it mean that we are asking artists to write our own art history? We are challenging the status quo. BLT is engaged in radical archiving and institutional critique. We are pushing the structures of cultural, historical, and social institutions to change.

As Wikipedians, we are invested in the mythic and utopian ideals of open-source knowledge creation and open access to information. Our investment in this myth of democratic authorship is cautious and critically aware of the inherent flaws of crowd-sourced content. As we edit what we are interested in or find affinity with, that diversity should be reflected on Wikipedia.

These particular motivations remind us why we are engaged in this work. Holding these up against the programs we realize and work we do day-to-day, and asking whether or not it is in touch with those original goals is the way we evaluate what and how we learn from this project, without expectations.

Core MetricsEdit

Enter a description of the metric and a number in the target field. If the metric does not apply to you, enter N/A for not applicable.

Core Metrics Summary
Core metrics Description Target
Number of participants
  • BLT: Branded Digital Events 200 this includes live and asynchronous viewing of recordings
  • Black Lunch Table Edit-a-thons and Photobooths 150
  • Black Lunch Table Regional Proxy Engagements 100
  • BLT contests: 50
Number of editors BLT digital events are not necessarily editing events, so we have zeroed out that number here, and while our participants in the photbooths are contributing to Wikimedia platforms, they themselves are not editing.
  • BLT: Branded Digital Events 0
  • Black Lunch Table Edit-a-thons and Photobooths new 75 returning 25
  • Black Lunch Table Regional Proxy Engagements new 50 returning 50
  • BLT contests: 50 new and returning is not applicable here as it is not a training/edit-a-thon session, and is likely more appealing to returning editors.
Number of organizers N/A The work that BLT does is organized by our team. There are four staff members who possibly contribute to the realization of events, though it is largely the responsibility of the Wikimedia Director and Wikipedia Assistant.

Please advise if this should be written as those that we partner with to realize institutional or community engagements.

  • BLT: Branded Digital Events 0
  • Black Lunch Table Edit-a-thons: 100
  • Black Lunch Table Regional Proxy Engagements: 200
  • BLT contests: 80

We are defining this metric as completely new articles created

Wikimedia Commons
  • BLT Branded Digital Events 0
  • Black Lunch Table Edit-a-thons and Photobooths: 200
  • Black Lunch Table Regional Proxy Engagements: 100
  • BLT contests: 50

We are defining this metric as new commons uploads.

  • BLT Branded Digital Events 0
  • Black Lunch Table Edit-a-thons and Photobooths: 50
  • Black Lunch Table Regional Proxy Engagements: 75
  • BLT contests: 50

We are defining this metric as total number of new Items added


If for some reason your proposal will not measure these core metrics please provide an explanation.

Additional MetricsEdit

Enter a description of the metric and a number in the target field. If the metric does not apply to you, enter N/A for not applicable.

Additional Metrics Description Target
Number of editors that continue to participate/retained after activities
Number of organizers that continue to participate/retained after activities
Number of strategic partnerships that contribute to longer term growth, diversity and sustainability BLT brings artists and Institutions to the platform in unconventional ways, including through artist residencies, lectures, strong social media awareness, and published works. Our ability to engage these kind of partners positively impacts the project as a whole.
  • BLT: Branded Digital Events 45
  • Black Lunch Table Edit-a-thons and Photobooths 25
  • Black Lunch Table Regional Proxy Engagements 10
  • BLT contests: 2

This tally can be tabulated by looking at our event archive/join us calendar

Feedback from participants on effective strategies for attracting and retaining contributors
Diversity of participants brought in by grantees
Number of people reached through social media publications
  • BLT: Branded Digital Events 1500
  • Black Lunch Table Edit-a-thons and Photobooths 0
  • Black Lunch Table Regional Proxy Engagements 0
  • BLT contests: 100
  • For BLT Live we would measure the total number of views of IGTV videos or Vimeo videos
  • For BLT contests we would measure the number of likes and shares/retweets on our BLT Bingo Tip campaign
Number of activities developed
Number of volunteer hours

What other information will you be collecting to learn about the impacts of your activities? (optional)

We have planned for some time to implement a survey structure for our edit-a-thon and event attendees. It has been waylaid without a consistent method of aggregating the usernames and emails of participants. Often we only have one or the other and participants have not linked their emails. We are hopeful about the developments of on-wiki event registration that is being developed by the campaigns product team. We have spoken with them about the needs we see on Wiki and follow the development of the project.

What tools would you use to measure each metric selected?

Unless otherwise noted we will use outreach dashboard to track our metrics.

How do you hope to share these results so that others can learn from them?

Share results with our communities, Share it on Meta-Wiki, Other

Financial ProposalEdit

What is the amount you are requesting from WMF? Please provide this amount in your local currency. If you are thinking about a multi-year fund, please provide the amount for the first year.

301793.1 USD

What is this amount in US Currency (to the best of your knowledge)?

301793.1 USD

Please share your budget for this proposal.

See attached
Google Sheet of proposed budget

By submitting your proposal/funding request you agree that you are in agreement with the Application Privacy Statement, WMF Friendly Space Policy and the Universal Code of Conduct.

I have read the Application Privacy Statement, WMF Friend Space Policy and Universal Code of Conduct.