Wikimedia Foundation GLAM team/Office Hours/May 2021

May 2021 meeting: A hopeful conversation about the next GLAM-Wiki conferenceEdit

Wiki Movimento Brasil User Group joined our office hours to start a hopeful conversation about a 2022 GLAM-Wiki conference. The last conference was in Israel in 2018 and the one before was in the Netherlands in 2015.

Our first office hours meeting was on Thursday 27 May at 3pm UTC, followed by another on Tuesday 1 June at 10am UTC. On the first day, João Peschanski of the Wikimedia Movimento Brasil user group shared his vision for the next GLAM-Wiki conference. He repeated this presentation on the second day, and was joined by Chen Almog, the Foundation's Senior Program Officer for Conference & Events Grants, and Tas Elias, the Foundation's Brand Collaborations Lead.


Collective notes in Etherpad


João Peschanski proposed a global onsite conference with online access in 2022, to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Brazilian Independence. He stressed the importance of accessibility, with meaningful attendance from home, and distributed local gatherings. He also acknowledged the uncertainty around in-person organizing, due to the impacts of Covid-19, but wanted to "balance utopia and realism."

João proposed that the conference be co-organized by Wikimedia Movimento Brasil and their museum partner, Museu do Ipiranga, in São Paulo. João shared the video "Um Museu Paratodas, todes e todos - part. esp. Chico Buarque" ("A Museum For All"). In this clip, with world famous singer Chico Buarque (grandson of a former director of the museum, one of the most important critical intellectuals in Brazil, Sérgio Buarque), Commons-uploaded images by Militão Augusto de Azevedo (who produced 12,000 portraits, including some of the first images of African Brazilian, in the late 19th century) are remixed with images from musicians from the University of São Paulo and of the Museu do Ipiranga. The song is about hope and Brazilian culture; it is called "Paratodos" (for all).

A major goal for the conference is to "onboard more people from the Global South to Open GLAM and increase the diversity of the community and knowledge on Wikimedia." João wants to "re-imagine Culture & GLAM-Wiki from the margins."

The two office hours sessions were attended by representatives from more than 20 affiliates and user groups, from the Middle East, the Pacific, Latin America, the United States, Northern and Western Europe, and Central and Eastern Europe. João was commended for starting the conversation and there was strong support for Wikimedia Movimento Brasil as an organizer. The attendees also endorsed the emphasis on a Global South perspective on culture. Building on João's ideas, other participants suggested that the conference invite participants from aligned organizations and create space for communal problem-solving.

The Foundation's Senior Program Officer for Conference & Events Grants, Chen Almog, noted that there is no authorization for international travel right now. She also shared that, during Covid-19, event organizers have been having smaller, local gatherings to tackle local and regional questions, followed by an international remote gathering to bring this together in a wider perspective. Chen has noticed that, at a time when we have lost in-person connection with our communities, organizers are focusing more internally, finding local partners and working with new target audiences. There has also been more experimentation with aspects like professional facilitation, simultaneous translation, pre-recorded sessions, and new platforms for socializing. She encouraged everyone to embrace the flexibility and experiment. The attendees were interested in more advice about remote organizing and Chen shared the following resources:

Attendees also discussed the challenges of remote organizing, particularly in parts of the Global South, where there is a disproportionately high cost for digital access. While remote organizing can work well for established groups, it is more challenging to invite new people into the movement.

Susanna Ånäs, from AvoinGLAM in Helsinki, shared the good news that Hack4OpenGLAM 2021 has been funded by the Foundation and will take place at the Creative Commons Summit, 20–24 September, 2021. She was interested in collaboratively planning the two conferences.

Tas Elias, the Foundation's Brand Collaborations Lead, shared an idea for pre-recorded museum walkthroughs for the entertainment track of Wikimania.