Hi! This annual report outlines Whose Knowledge? activities supported by the group from September 2020 to September 2021. Whose Knowledge? will be reporting on its Simple Annual Plan Grant for 2021 separately.
Summary of the Year edit
2021 was a year to build up resilience after all that 2020 brought to us and our communities. Even though we continued to face the effects of Covid-19, and of other intersecting pandemics of racism, patriarchy, and the climate crisis, we also started to get our strength back and to embrace the future with joy and hope:
- Whose Knowledge? celebrated five mighty years of its existence in Sep 2021 with a special social media campaign.
- WK? incorporated in the State of CA, as a public benefit corporation in June 2021. We have worked with our esteemed Board in the last few months as well, to move WK? in the direction of its mission.
- The #VisibleWikiWomen campaign 2021 brought over 1700 images to Wikimedia Commons, illustrating pages in 38 different Wikipedia languages.
- We have successfully designed and developed a fully tailored website that will present the State of the Internet's Languages report to our wide audience in a user-friendly manner.
- We hosted a multilingual event on Decolonising Structured Data as a pre-WikidataCon event and we did a keynote at WikidataCon itself.
Decolonizing Wikipedia edit
#VisibleWikiWomen campaign edit
- 2021 was our fourth year of organizing the #VisibleWikiWomen campaign. In the nearly three months of the campaign (March 8 - May 31) together with our partners and communities, we walked a road full of new challenges, creative ideas, collective and feminist brilliance and dazzling images of women from all over the globe.
- The Covid-19 global pandemic impacted us, our partners and communities, and #VisibleWikiWomen in so many ways. In particular, it affected mass uploads of images from GLAM institutions and some of our Wikimedia partners. It also hindered the participation of many communities, especially those from the Global South, who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
- This challenging, alarming and often exhausting reality required a lot of creativity and resilience from us and our communities. We relied on the wisdom of our feminist friends and partners from the Association for Women’s Right and Development (AWID) to choose a campaign theme that inspired and encouraged us which was “Feminist Realities: Living Our Resistance and Our Liberation”. We focused on celebrating the women/trans/non-binary people who create our feminist realities by living our resistance, dismantling systems of power and privilege and seeking liberation and justice for all.
- The #VisibleWikiWomen 2021 brought over 1700 images to Wikimedia Commons, illustrating pages in 38 different Wikipedia languages. These numbers, however, don’t tell the full story; in fact, no one better than our friends and partners who joined the campaign to share what #VisibleWikiWomen meant to them and their communities. We invite you to be inspired and learn with and from the women who created their own feminist realities even amidst a global pandemic.
- We hosted several editathons and training events online, and as a result of the campaign, over 40 new editors joined the Wiki community and we expect more will continue joining. Participants are likely to share with their communities what they have learnt.
Decolonizing the Internet’s Structured Data edit
- Together with our partners, Wiki Movimento Brasil and Wikimedia Germany, Whose Knowledge? co-led and hosted a conversation about Decolonizing the Internet’s Structured Data, centered on the expertise and experience of marginalized communities, especially those in Latin America and the Caribbean. This convening gathered over 40 “unusual allies” in a pre-conference event leading up to Wikidata Conference 2021.
- During the WikidataCon itself, we had the opportunity to pose thought-provoking questions and engage with forms of #DecolonizingStructuredData. Our co-director Anasuya Sengupta kicked off the event with a keynote on why knowledge justice matters for structured data, and took part in a Q&A and a follow-up session.
State of the Internet's Languages edit
- With the support and expertise of our team, our communities and partners, we have finalized the narrative text for the report, which brings together our qualitative data (the stories) with our quantitative insights (the numbers).
- We have successfully designed and developed a fully tailored website that will present the State of the Internet's Languages report to a wide audience in a user-friendly manner. Its information architecture helps easily navigate and connect different parts of the report, and it weaves together the visual, oral, and written pieces in a beautiful and meaningful way.
- We are currently focusing on enhancing the website accessibility by working on localization, including translations. We are also trying to make this report accessible to a wider audience by offering audio versions in multiple languages, transcripts where needed, and translations of the summary report and the qualitative data (the stories) in a total of 12 different languages.
- At the same time, we have continued to talk about the importance of a multilingual internet and led this conversation in a number of spaces, including through writing a journal article with our partner The Centre for Internet and Society in India, as well as speaking about these issues during this Mozilla webinar, and at Wikimania 2021.
- We are planning to release a language-themed podcast season soon after the publication of the State of the Internet’s Language report, with the aim of boosting conversations, sharing reflections, raising awareness and amplifying insights from our communities.
Communications and outreach edit
- Whose Knowledge? co-director Anasuya Sengupta participated in a panel held during the CDAC 2021 Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Week, and discussed how deepening digital access is transforming communication as aid. Her intervention is available here.
- Invited by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, our co-director Anasuya discussed with Sabelo Mhlambi, Andrew Zolli, and Aarathi Krishnan about how humanitarian actors can play a more intentional role in designing just and equitable digital futures.
- Anasuya also joined Joe Hildebrand, Bonface Witaba, Remy Muhire, Rebecca Ryakitimbo and moderator Solana Larsen at the first part of the UA Webinar Series “Demystifying Universal Acceptance: What does a multilingual Internet look like?”, and talked about the importance of having more languages online, and the challenges and strategies to build a more multilingual internet.
- During the SNF Nostos Conference, our co-director Anasuya Sengupta questioned matters of so-called artificial intelligence and the promises it holds, and what is worth wanting and compatible with human freedom. She took part in both the opening and the closing panel.
- We were thrilled to join Wikimania in different panels and discussions this year. Our #VisibleWikiWomen coordinator Mariana Fossatti shared decolonization strategies throughout Wikimedia projects, and presented a themed community meetup about the campaign with our communications co-lead Claudia Pozo. They analyzed how far we have come, and what future we want to build together.
- Our co-director Adele Godoy Vrana joined our friends at AfroCROWD to revisit the Juneteenth Wiki Civil Rights Conference of 2020.
- Still as part of Wikimania, our co-director Anasuya Sengupta took part in a panel about English as a lingua franca of the Wikimedia movement, discussing how we can ensure people's inclusion.
- In the context of the Wiki-Lusofonia Party, História na Wiki and other Wikimedia platform volunteers gathered for an event of editing articles on Wikipedia in Portuguese, with the main theme of ethnic and racial relations. Our co-founder and co-director Adele Godoy Vrana was the main speaker.
- Anasuya also spoke to the Deutschlandfunk Kultur about decolonizing structured, open data like Wikidata, in an interview translated to German.
- At the DecidimFest, Anasuya delivered a keynote on Decolonizing the Internet and radical democracy, and joined a panel on data decolonialism with Paola Ricaurte, moderated by Tayrine Dias.
- As part of the Salzburg Global Seminar, Anasuya participated in the “Expanding Collaboration Panel” of a series of online events held under the theme of “The Creative Power of the Arts: Reimagining Human and Planetary Flourishing”.
- Our co-director Anasuya also talked about epistemic justice, decolonization, and solidarity, in a podcast episode of Resist and Reboot, created by Global Data Justice.
Lessons learned edit
- In our second year campaigning amid Covid-19, our communities, partners and allies still felt the dire consequences of the pandemic. New outbreaks and virus variants emerged, amplifying the inequalities between the Global South and the North in terms of access to aid, vaccines, health care, economic and social support. Under these circumstances, it has been hard for many members of our networks to invest energy and time in campaign organizing at a local level. In spite of that, many participants took their first steps editing Wikimedia Commons at the #VisibleWikiWomen workshops, while others were amazed by the possibilities for production and collaboration.
- One of the main challenges that we faced while pushing forward the State of the Internet Languages report, was trying to make this report accessible to a wider audience, and to push ourselves to go beyond the boundaries of the way-too-often text-based and English-first reports. We have learned that the process towards a multilingual report is a long one and requires the commitment and participation of multiple actors. Also, we have learnt to take small steps at a time, and to focus on offering a light and fast report website that can be accessed and equally experienced across the globe - even with low bandwidth internet connections.
- “Decolonizing the Internet’s Structured Data” taught us that there is an urgent need for a collective conversation about centering those who are often marginalized from data collections and systems. By analyzing the power dynamics of structured data, we can examine whose views, whose agenda, whose ontologies, and whose decisions build and sustain these systems and how they sort out and organize data. We can then work together to build more just and equitable systems of structured data.
- Growing into a non-profit entity in June 2021 and slowly transitioning into being fully operational, Whose Knowledge? now needs to grow its team as well to support its functions. In 2022 we will expand the team capacity hiring a full time program coordinator for Decolonizing Wikipedia, part time VWW coordinators based in Africa and Asia for #VisibleWikiWomen, a part time Fundraising Lead, and a Director of Organizational Design and Practice. We will be hiring also in 2022 the State of the Internet’s Languages Coordinator and the Decolonizing Digital Archives Coordinator.
- Whose Knowledge? celebrated five mighty years of its existence in Sep 2021 and considering that our team was experiencing the pandemic in various ways, we were resilient and leaned on each other to turn our small steps into big strides for the next year. We will continue to prioritize self and collective care as a feminist practice as well as spaciousness into our ways of working, doing and being.
Celebrating 5 years of Whose Knowledge? edit
- In 2021 we celebrated our 5th anniversary as a global, multilingual campaign that challenges historical, ongoing and intersectional inequities of gender, sexuality, class, caste, region, language, ability by working with and in service of women, black and brown people, LGBTIQ+ communities, Indigenous peoples, and diasporic, Global South communities to build and represent all of our knowledges online.
- To have a glimpse of the many steps we’ve taken, large and small, on this path to knowledge justice, please visit our blog and have a look at our social media party.