Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Research Fund/VisibleWikiWomen Lab: fostering multilingual and decolonizing structured data narratives on Wikimedia Commons
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- Claudia Pozo, Mariana Fossatti and Adele Vrana
Affiliation or grant type
- Whose Knowledge?
- Claudia Pozo, Mariana Fossatti and Adele Vrana
- Claudia Pozo User:Tinaral
Adele Vrana User: Aadele
Mariana Fossatti User: Mariana Fossatti (WK?)
- VisibleWikiWomen Lab: fostering multilingual and decolonizing structured data narratives on Wikimedia Commons
Description of the proposed project, including aims and approach. Be sure to clearly state the problem, why it is important, why previous approaches (if any) have been insufficient, and your methods to address it.
Structured data is at the core of how the internet works. One important feature of SD on Commons (SDC) is multilinguality, which "allows people to easily translate content and provides labels in over 300 languages which are added automatically”. Most importantly, one of the aims of SDC is to improve image accessibility by providing "alt text, text descriptions and other information that makes content more accessible to users with specific needs".
Tackling access/accessibility issues tends to be one of the most neglected aspects of sociotechnical optimization on the internet, yet it is key to knowledge and language justice. Given that only a fraction of online public knowledge is produced on or by women, Black and Brown people, LGBTQI folks, Indigenous communities, and peoples from the Global South, in languages that are not English or mostly European colonial languages, we ask: how can we build anti-oppressive, multilingual, and decolonizing narratives for digital imagery?
To address this question, we will conduct participatory research centered in action and experimentation, while approaching SDC critically and creatively. The #VisibleWikiWomen campaign, wich brought to Wikimedia Commons more than 8000 images of women and non-binary people from all over the world in the last five years, will be our lab to experiment and better understand issues around accessibility and multilinguality in structured data.
This research project will:
- Invite the #VisibleWikiWomen community to a series of SDC workshops and hand-on sessions in which participants will add/edit SD components like alternative text and images descriptions and depictions in English and other languages, followed by reflection sessions around the narratives and points of views from where we describe and portray ourselves and other people from marginalized communities.
- Explore the possibilities, limitations, and impact of a project that centers the knowledge and experience of women, Black and Brown people, LGBTQI folks, Indigenous communities, and communities from the Global South/Global Majority as authors of their own image metadata.
- Bring together researchers, community members and key advisors, such as disability rights activists to co-lead and design this process with us. We will strive to center the embodied knowledge, experience and expertise of these activists in this process.
- We are in conversation with a community of advisors in order to create an action-research advisory group.
Approximate amount requested in USD.
- 49,192.40 USD
Briefly describe what you expect to spend money on (specific budgets and details are not necessary at this time).
Salaries, stipends and benefits: Main Research
20 hrs/mth x 12 mths x 47.25/hr x 2 researchers
Salaries, stipends and benefits: Community Advisors
8 hrs/mth x 8 mths x 47.25/hr x 4 advisors
Communications, Translation and Interpretation
15% of total budget
Total Amount Requested
Address the impact and relevance to the Wikimedia projects, including the degree to which the research will address the 2030 Wikimedia Strategic Direction and/or support the work of Wikimedia user groups, affiliates, and developer communities. If your work relates to knowledge gaps, please directly relate it to the knowledge gaps taxonomy.
Multilinguality and accessibility on SDC is where knowledge as a service and knowledge equity meet. This research-action project will enable us to understand how SDC allows for multiple marginalized communities to access and contribute to multilingual and accessible free knowledge.
Our goal with this project is to offer the movement critical inputs on how to build inclusive and diverse user experiences, foster equitable innovation in free knowledge and create a place of joy and liberation within and beyond the Wikimedia Movement.
We will create, document and widely share the best practices to create a feminist, decolonized and anti-oppressive SDC.
Plans for dissemination.
The outcomes will be publicly shared under a CC BY-SA license and will be amplified via Whose Knowledge? communications channels, including website, newsletter, Twitter and other social media, Commons, Meta, etc. For further amplification, we will reach out to our #VisibleWikiWomen, Language Justice and Whose (Digital) Archives? partners/communities. Our research partners for this project will also share the results within their own networks and communities in the Global South/Global Majority.
Prior contributions to related academic and/or research projects and/or the Wikimedia and free culture communities. If you do not have prior experience, please explain your planned contributions.
Together with WMB and Wikimedia Deutschland, Whose Knowledge? held a Decolonizing the Internet's Structured Data gathering in 2021 to discuss the challenges and opportunities of thinking about structured data from different epistemic frames, as well as plural and marginalized identities and positionalities.
Similarly, in partnership with Oxford Internet Institute and CIS India, we published the first-ever State of the Internet's Languages report in early 2022, which explores how multilingual the internet is and what we can do better to create a truly multilingual and multimodal internet. The report was a community-led research effort with nearly one hundred people involved from authors to translators and community reviewers.
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