Art+Feminism User Group/Reporting/MidpointReport2018-2019
Welcome to the midpoint report for the Art+Feminism 2018-2019 SAPG grant.
For it’s sixth-annual Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, Art+Feminism supported almost 4,000 people at 278 events around the world. Our global effort created or improved over 25,000 articles on Wikipedia, and over 2,000 uploads to the Commons. Importantly, we expanded our focus to include non-binary folks and launched a large scale social media campaign advocating for an expansive understanding of gender. We saw significant growth in events in Asia and contributions to the Armenian language Wikipedia. Working with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, we composed and filed papers to make Art+Feminism a non-profit entity, which will help secure our long term stability.
Methods and activities
Below you will find a list of our work so far, organized by the sections we created during our grant proposal.
One of the ways we sustain our growth and lay a foundation for expanding awareness of our campaign and the gender gap on Wikipedia is through our social media platforms. Our aim is to leverage digital opportunities to engage with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of color) and LGBTQ communities that are beyond the reach of our institutional partners. We've sought to accomplish this goal through a robust communications strategy built in collaboration with our 2019 Art+Feminism fellow, Keon Dillon.
Last year, our social community doubled with a combined 200% increase in community across platforms. This year, we saw a more than 300% increase in community across Facebook (86% growth) and Instagram (311% growth). We We attribute this growth to honing a communications strategy driven by messaging specific to information activism, anti-racism, women's rights, gender equity, and trans feminism through a lens of art and feminist pedagogy.
This year, we made a major change to our communications and organizing strategy; launching the Gender and The Non-Binary campaign. The campaign facilitated greater growth and engagement among our digital communities due to the use of our hashtags #artandfeminism, #noweditingaf, and #beyondthebinary. Through the consistent use of the hashtag and our focus on engaging our online communities in conversation around their experiences related to gender equity, gender identity, women's rights, trans rights as human rights, and intersectional feminism we were able to amplify our messaging and reach.
More information about the campaign and its mission can be found in the campaign announcement written by our Director, McKensie Mack here.
In addition, this year saw the return of our Facebook Live series, Office Hours, created to help organizers and new editors understand the steps to planning and hosting Art+Feminism edit-a-thons, using the Dashboard, and finding funding for events. We presented the series in Spanish and English with our Regional Ambassador for Latin America, Melissa Tamani, leading the Spanish tutorials. The series once again (now in its second year) played a vital role in bridging some of the knowledge gaps we observed last year during the fourth cycle of our campaign.
Slack for Organizers: This year, we continued to use Slack for organizing. The private channel for organizers was created to offer them shared community and to make troubleshooting more efficient by enabling the community to answers each other's questions and to find the answers to questions previously asked in the channel via search box. We breakdown the channels in the private group in the following ways:
#general channel - troubleshoot on wiki issues with more experienced editors
#firebrigade channel - triage articles put up for deletion and assist editors with harassment (that sometimes originates within those AfD discussions) on an as needed basis during our campaign cycle
#dashboard channel -work through dashboard issues with Sage Ross of Wiki EDU
We have also used a private channel for Regional Ambassadors so they can share notes and get quick answers to their more time sensitive questions. However, with the expansion of the team of Regional Organizers this year, we found that Slack wasn't used by all of them as much as we would like to have seen. As discussed below in the Staffing and Personnel section, we got feedback that there was a steep learning curve to bringing folks on and they were overwhelmed by all the different platforms (Slack, Google Groups, Streak, and
Updated Training Materials
In the 2019 cycle there were some exciting additions to the Dashboard tool, primarily the ability o have users create their own accounts via the Dashboard. As such, Regional Organizers Linden How and Amanda Meeks worked with the lead organizers to develop an updated Dashboard Program Instruction Kit for organizers, which is also available in an Spanish language version. How to create a Dashboard page; How to create accounts are reflected in the current full training video at 01:06:44.
This year, organizers did not need to request Event Coordinator or Account Creator permissions! Instead *Dashboard* gave all permissions, via the User:OutreachDashboardBot account. The village pump discussion about Dashboard now giving permissions was concluded with consensus on 1/24/2019 with User:Ragesoss implementing and testing the account creation changes.
This meant that all account creation happened through dashboard. Our organizers no longer have to request ACC or EVC permissions. So all events now needed to create a dashboard program, and use this to create accounts. There is that situation whereby some organizers really want to use Meetup pages still; they could do this, but they also needed to have a Dashboard program.
ACTRIAL was an issue for us on en.wiki last year, but ACTPERM this year wasn't really an issue, because:
- We are increasingly directing new editors towards improving pages
- Our organizers had been through this last year
- and our materials already reflected these processes.
The A+F website was built imperfectly, inexpensively four years ago. It has been a headache ever since, but it has reached the point where it is impacting our ability to work. Specifically, when A+F organizers have all their details set and are ready to apply for funding, they complete and submit this form. A version is published to the Find an Event page event and a copy of the form is sent to our info email address. At one point, the form began to throw errors, leading organizers to submit multiple forms, creating confusion about which event to publish. Worse, a copy of the form was not being sent to our inbox, disrupting our funding process. It is critical at this point that we refresh our online platform.
More generally, we see a problem with en:API integrations. The website presently does not integrate with our CRM Streak, nor our community Slack channel, or Mailchimp. Our funding process is also separate (on a Google Sheet). None of these integrate with Dashboard. And don't get us started on the Event tool... We don't think it is realistic to achieve full integration, but we do think that we could achieve some progress in this area.
We will need to rebuild the website next year and have funds to maintain it.
Actions to counteract uncivil actions
Members of our organization have had to deal with uncivil interactions by other Wikipedia editors. During this year, we have recorded incidents on Spanish Wikipedia. These interactions include edits on user pages, toxic comments on discussion pages, edits made without appealing to consensus, wiki stalking/follow-up of other users' edits, and arbitrary use of templates. This affects the morale of our regional organizers and ambassadors. To counteract this, we have designed an internal protocol for handling these types of complaints, along with an incident registration form for our community of organizers. Similarly, we have noticed the need to generate training materials about the mechanisms and instances of processing reports of violations of the code of conduct within the Wikimedia community.
This year, we focused intently on expanding our global team of ambassadors; welcoming 10 new ambassadors to our team. This meant the expansion of ambassador led events in new regions including Armenia, the Ivory Coast, Brazil, and Chandigarh. This growth could not have been possible without the addition of our 2019 Community Fellow, Nina Yeboah.
- Much of our outreach this year built on our previous year's work
- Here are just a few highlights from local media coverage of global events:
We believe that speaking to our community in their primary language is extremely important. In that sense, thanks to our network of regional ambassadors, we have once again been able to have key materials translated into Spanish, French and, for the first time, Portuguese.
Some of the translated materials are:
- Updated Quick Guide for Organizers - Spanish
- Updated Quick Guide for Editors - Spanish
- New Training Slides - Portuguese
- Letter from our Director Mckensie Mack about this year's focus on gender non-binary stories - Spanish
- Safe Space/Brave Space Policy- Spanish and Catalan
- Call for 2019 participation- Spanish and French
March 2019 Edit-a-thons (The Event!)
Programs and Events Goals: goals to expand the 2018 Art+Feminism Edit-a-thon by:
- Continue to organize the international Art+Feminism Editathons
- Continue to build community as we train new editors, facilitators, and event organizers, and to support their increasing independence
- Continue to improve organizational capacity
- Continue to increase participant diversity
Work completed so far
- Quick Guides
- Train the Trainers: Facebook Live and video conferencing
- We once again held trainings on Facebook for our public at large and via videoconference for our organizers
- MoMA Event
- Panel discussion moderated by Danielle A. Jackson, a curatorial assistant in MoMA’s Department of Media and Performance, featuring writer and archivist Che Gossett, performance artist, writer, and educator Alok Vaid-Menon, and Simone Browne, an associate professor in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
- There were three very popular break-out sessions in the afternoon: "Boundary Work: How to take care of yourself when dealing with racism and genderphobia on the internet," led by McKensie Mack; "The Deletion Process: Challenging and Defending Articles on Wikipedia," led by Michael Mandiberg; and "Mining the Feminist Archive: Tracing MoMA’s Hidden Histories of Women Teaching Artists," led by Sara Torres (63% of MoMA's survey respondents claimed they attended one or both of the breakout sessions).
- We also held a Gallery Session "Who Were the Modern Women Artists?" Led by Tamara Kostianovsky.
- There were two communal editing tables, hosted by AFROcrowd and POWarts
- This, due to uncertainty about MoMA's capacity to host this Spring, we also approached New York Public Library's 53rd Street Branch about hosting. In the end we ended up hosting the primary event at MoMA but also hosting additional programming at NYPL. This had mixed success -- the partnership could be productive but would need better communication between us and the two venues, as well as more targeted outreach. Events held at NYPL:
- Dashboard page: 81 registered attendees, and we estimate 200 folks came through the event overall. 10 Articles/drafts created. 113 Articles improved. 1 Commons upload. Participation was noticeably lower this year than in previous years, which may have been due to a number of factors: poor weather conditions in New York, a focus on institution-building within the Art+Feminism core team lead to a gap in outreach and engagement focus for the MoMA event, and the aforementioned confusion regarding whether or not MoMA would be able to host, which lead to a late start in planning.
Stated Global Metrics GOALS
- 4200 participants
- 1400 newly registered users
- 41,250 content pages created or improved, across all Wikimedia projects. We are basing this off of:
- 18,000 articles forecast by the models
- 3,250 Commons images, based off of past trends
- 10,000 Wikidata items -- this is reduced because it will be a maintenance effort, rather than a heavy lift like this year.
- 10,000 contingent on another successful competition
Stated Project Metrics GOALS
- 340 Events
- Greater than 50 percent repeat organizers
Final metrics will be tracked in the shared google doc.
Overall we are on track to meet or exceed all of our metrics predictions with at least 278 events, 3998 participants, and 27470 content pages created or improved across all Wikimedia projects. As collected on our Dashboard campaign and the two Women In Red meetups (March, April), as of May 4th, we have:
- 276 Events on Dashboard + 2 WiR meetups
- 3963 Editors + 35 WiR
- 20.3K Articles Edited + 217 WiR
- 4.86K Articles Created + 40 WiR
- 2.31K Commons uploads + 172 WiR
Additionally, as part of our Wikidata efforts (see below) we edited 106 Wikidata items, as logged on Dashboard. We expect this work to commence in full later in the grant cycle, when we run end of cycle metrics.
Similarly, we will calculate the newly registered users, and the percentage of repeat organizers at the time of the final report, so as to avoid duplicating labor.
We are currently working on statistics of our presence throughout the various regions around the world where Art+Feminism has taken place. However, given that events are still taking place, we hope to have an accurate balance for our final report. However, at this point, we know that we have significantly increased the number of events in Asia.
Building on the groundwork from our 17-18 cycle, as documented in this previous report and this Wikidata Work Plan, we continued this work. During the fall we completed coding all articles edited at A+F events using the Wikidata QuickSheets tool we built: https://github.com/danaras/wikidata-quicksheets. We sorted all the items based on P106 data, adding the items which we get were in scope (artists, writers, etc) and excluding those that were out of scope (politicians, athletes, business people, etc). The resulting dataset currently includes 5578 items.
We then used this dataset of items to revamp our Task list. We used Petscan to create a list of articles that were created or edited at previous Art+Feminism edit-a-thons, which also have key article improvement alert templates. We encouraged our organizers to share these with their participants, to offer different options for the type of editing they might want to do, from adding wiki-links to orphan articles to adding citations, and more. Right now we have one for English Wikipedia and one for Spanish wiki.
Current Status: At the end of our cycle in July/August we will run the Wikidata Quicksheets process on the 25K items from this year. At that time we will add P106 and P5008 data to these new items. We expect our Wikidata edit numbers to increase at that time.
This year, we radically expanded our organizing team by adding a lead co-organizer, Melissa Tamani Becerra (Peru), and growing our Regional Ambassador team to include 13 regional ambassadors: Walaa Abdel Manaem (Egypt), Dominique Eliane (Ivory Coast), Amanda Meeks (United States), Juliana Monteiro (Brazil), Linden How (United States), Jessie Mi (Taiwan), Taryn Tomasello (United States), Medhavi Gandh (India), Amber Berson (Canada), Daniela Brugger (Switzerland), Mohammed Sadat Abdulai (Ghana), Stacey Allan (United States), and Marta Delatte (Spain).
Melissa was an incredible addition to our lead organizing team. She provided fresh perspectives and also helped distribute the labor of organizing. However, the expansion of our Regional Ambassador team was less successful. Feedback from our ambassadors highlighted that there was a steep learning curve, especially in navigating our CRM (Streak). Further, the Regional Ambassadors who were less familiar with the Wikipedia community and with us did little to expand our outreach in the United States. We were not entirely prepared for how much management the new RAs would require and didn't adequately set them up for success. Also, with such a small core team and the Director already managing two additional Fellows, we didn't have adequate staffing to manage the new positions.
This cycle, we established the Art+Feminism Fellowship. We did an open call for the fellowship positions on our Facebook page and our website in October. We led two rounds of interviews before selecting successful candidates and hired two fellows to focus on internal community and one fellow to develop digital communications. All three fellows were managed and trained by our Director, McKensie. One of our community fellows was unable to fulfill their fellowship duties so we will have two fellows: Nina Yeboah and Keon Dillon who will complete their six-month commitment with us in June/July. Both fellows are currently working on guides for future Art+Feminism fellows so that we ensure the knowledge they obtained during the fellowship is not siloed and can be shared with future hires/used for training purposes.
In May 2019, we achieved our goal of establishing Art+Feminism as a standalone 501c3 non-profit organization.
To do so, we took the following steps:
- We secured the services of Creative Business Inc, an accounting firm that works with artists and cultural non-profits. CBI will be establishing and managing our accounting for this year and will be helping us transition accounting, payments, and contractor/payroll reporting for our standalone entity.
- We completed our filing with the state for Art+Feminism, Inc
- We completed registration with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and our case was picked up by Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.
- McKensie and Michael led the drafting of bylaws and 1023 form submission process with consensus from the leadership collective. This process required us to draft both bylaws and organizational board resolutions.
- We applied for IRS tax exemption and responded to clarifying questions about our global grants processes posed by the IRS.
- We requested that the IRS expedite the review of our application.
Overall, the process was more intensive and took longer than we expected. When we began this process some people suggested we could just copypasta someone else's bylaws and 1023 and submit it ourselves, while others urged us to work with a lawyer. While working with the lawyers took longer, as we had to wait for our Pro Bono case to be chosen, and then sometimes wait when our lawyers were on other deadlines, we have come to realize that our case really required the lawyers, because:
- The lawyers were able to draft language enshrining consensus based decision making into the bylaws
- The lawyers were able to include a "Sunset Clause" into the bylaws.
- The lawyers were able to guide us through the questions about our international activities
Please find the full midpoint report of our spending here.
Director line item
It's important to note here that the hours allocated to the Director line item were once again fully spent by the end of May/beginning of June. This includes the Director's full month vacation in December. We will need both an increase in hours and increase in wages for the Director role for next year, as the wage and hours are currently based off of the old coordinator position.
Tote Bag Fundraiser
We have worked with Sam Walton of the WMF to prepare a fundraising campaign using the tote bags we made at the very end of the last cycle. We have waited to launch this fundraiser until after the main effort of the editing campaign is complete. We expect to launch it in June. We have found Sam's expertise to be incredibly valuable, and it highlights the fact that if we want to diversify our funding sources, we will need to bring in someone with experience like his, as no one on our team has such experience.
Next steps and opportunities
- Refreshing our internal communication and workflow processes
- Refreshing our online platform and distribution of materials
- Producing collectively authored organizational mission, vision, and values
- Producing collectively authored internal work values document
- Producing oral history of the project
- Nurturing our communities in Latin America, West Africa, and Asia
- Working with our long term partners in North America to foster innovative approaches to the project
- Continuing our translation of our training materials, presentations, and templated organizer communications for the 2020 A+F cycle.
- Continuing on the path to becoming a non-profit organization
We were really excited about our output this year, especially as our work continues to build on our successes over the past six years. This year we were able to make use of resources created in previous years, such as quick guides and training presentations. Since 2014, over 14,000 people at more than 1,100 events around the world have participated in our edit-a-thons, resulting in the creation and improvement of more than 58,000 articles on Wikipedia.
We have identified some areas for improvement, as well as needs:
- We believe that at this point it is necessary to redesign the system of regional ambassadors to make it more efficient in terms of workflow. Some of the options we are evaluating are to have fewer ambassadors, pay higher salaries or/and professionalize this role.
- Our website has been a huge barrier in the current cycle, as lack of a functioning website is interfering with our ability to do the campaign. A contractor is needed to rebuild and then maintain the website.
- As we are working to become a non-profit, we will need paid contractors in several areas to support the organization's transition. These contractors would include an administrative staff person to free up the Director's time to focus on strategy and higher level issues, someone with communications expertise and someone with expertise in institutional fundraising.
- Having a single general mail account, to which several people access simultaneously continues to be a challenge, due to the overwhelming amount emails received. It is necessary to have a person in charge of managing our email account so that all communications are answered promptly and Streak is updated regularly.