District mayor Veronika Mickel with WMAT staff at our new office
2017 started with a big move for WMAT: Our current, one-room studio became increasingly limited for the joint use as an office space, meeting and event venue, and community space. Although we have many organizations supporting us with in-kind venues, the availability of these spaces has been restricting us more and more in our planning and flexibility. Basically, every community meeting with more than 10 people needed to be held in an external location, leading to considerable overhead around searching and organizing these event spaces. Meetings and telephone conferences during the day also frequently affected staff who needed to work in the same room. Hence, we seized the opportunity when we found an affordable, three room location which is also well located in the city for frequent visits by volunteers and partners. The new office provides an office room for staff, a meeting space, and a community event room that can be directly accessed from the street, which gives us more opportunities to interact with our immediate neighbourhood (e.g. open house events, Wikipedia office hours). The ideas of local community work also resonated well with the local press and district administration who visited us in the new premises weeks after our arrival. The move took place in early January as a joint effort of staff and volunteers.
The moving day was organized by the three staff members and the Wikimedian 80686 who set up our new technical infrastructure. 6 other Wikimedians helped us supported us with full commitment.
In January 2017 the Executive Directors of the Wikimedia chpaters meet for two days in Lausanne, Switzerland to meet with the WMF team in charge of the Wikimedia movement strategy and give their input to the process. This involved sharing their perspective as members of and professionals in the movement as well as their feedback on the process design. The fact that this meeting happened so early in the year also helped to incorporate the local activities (community events and consultations etc.) around the strategy process into the yearly planning of the respective organisations in the next steps.
Professors Andrea Brait and Christian Wagner held a course about New Media in History and History Education at the University of Vienna. It was that third time after 2015/2016 and 2016 that Wikimedia supported this course with advice by a WMAT staff member. All of the 14 students were new users, 8 of them were female and 6 male.
At the beginning of the semester the students created a short "practice" Wikipedia article together:
University of Vienna: War and Propaganda until WWIEdit
Students and professor of the War and Propaganda until WWI course
For the third time, Wikimedia was again part of a University of Vienna course by Prof. Friedrich Schipper on war and propaganda until the World War I. This course lasted from October 2016 to January 2017. 25 (74 %) of the 34 students were female and 9 (26 %) male, all of them were new users. After an edit-a-thon in October 2016 introducing them to wiki-editing, they wrote their term papers as Wikipedia-style articles on Wikiversity. The articles El Dschihad and Österreichischer Kino-Wochenbericht vom nördlichen und südlichen Kriegsschauplatz were transferred to the German-language Wikipedia. The students also uploaded 70 files to Wikimedia Commons and published analyses of existing Wikipedia about controversial topics on Wikiversity. The course was supported by WMAT board members Agruwie und Regiomontanus and by the Wikipedians Hubertl and K@rl.
LEARNTEC, which took place at the Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre (Germany) from 24 to 26 January 2017, is one of the most important platforms for digital learning in Europe. Together with our partner simpleshow we managed to get a session in the conference track of the fair, where we presented the technical and social aspects of our collaboration: the community-sourced creation of educational explainer videos for Wikipedia and its sister projects.
The audience consisted of 200 people, half of them were female.
The annual Wiki Loves Monuments and Wiki Loves Earth award ceremony at the Federal Monuments Office has become a family gathering of the Austrian community. Due to scheduling diffculties before Christmas, the 2016 ceremony could only be held in January 2017. As in previous years, photographers and monument enthusiasts from all over the country came together to celebrate and exchange and we used the opportunity to introduce the many new contributors to our existing community on a more personal level. The feedback once more showed that apart from the actual prices and winner's certificates, the ceremony in a special and exclusive venue is an important aspect of appreciation for our volunteers.
The absolute highlight of this year's event was the inspirational and moving speech of one of the winners, about his involvement with Wiki Loves Monuments, which we translated and shared in our 2016 Impact Report.
The event was organized by Wikimedian Regiomontanus and WMAT and BDA staff. An additional 45 people attended the ceremony, among them the winners.
Wiki Loves Parliaments presentation @ Landtag NiederösterreichEdit
Presentation by ED Claudia Garád
The federal state government of Lower Austria hosted a stratetic meeting of digitization managers of Austrian and German federal state governments and invited Wikimedia Österreich to present Wikimedia's perspective on the issue. One part of the presentation was of course dedicated to the Wiki Loves Parliaments projects that volunteers from Austria and Germany do in both countries, but WMAT's Executive Director also focused on the broader challenges democracies are facing currently - from fake news to hate speech - and offered insights from 16 years of Wikipedia work and community building. Networking around the event also facilitated to launch new Wiki Loves Parliaments projects such as the Federal Council of Austria in March. 25 people were present during the presentation.