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Grants:APG/Proposals/2019-2020 round 1/Wikimedia UK/Progress report form

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Purpose of the report[edit]

This form is for organizations receiving Annual Plan Grants to report on their progress after completing the first 6 months of their grants. The time period covered in this form will be the first 6 months of each grant (e.g. 1 January - 30 June of the current year). This form includes four sections, addressing grant metrics, program stories, financial information, and compliance. Please contact APG/FDC staff if you have questions about this form, or concerns submitting it by the deadline. After submitting the form, organizations will also meet with APG staff to discuss their progress.

High level summary[edit]

  • Our new programme year kicked off on 1st February. We were delighted by the success of our Education Summit, in partnership with (and hosted by) the Disruptive Media Lab at Coventry University later that month. We were also looking forward to our upcoming events as part of Art+Feminism, the launch of our education case studies booklet at OER20, and a range of other exciting programmes and initiatives.
  • As we entered March, it became increasingly clear that the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic was going to be strongly felt in the UK. As part of a national lockdown, our London office closed on 18th March and all staff remain working from home.
  • Our programmes have been significantly impacted by the shutdown, however the organisation has supported and delivered a wide range of online activities. Whilst some events and activities had to be cancelled or postponed, others have been reimagined, and new partnerships and projects have been developed in direct response to the pandemic.
  • Whilst our in person advocacy activities have by necessity been curtailed, the chapter has nonetheless been involved in a range of policy and advocacy initiatives relating to open access, licensing, misinformation and information literacy.
  • Nearly six months after the UK went into lockdown, many organisations are making tentative moves to re-open, and are keen to reconnect with their audiences. At the same time, we are mindful of the likely longer term impact of the pandemic and the accompanying recession, as well as the UK’s looming exit from the EU, on the cultural and education sectors - and by extension our own programmes.

Strategic context for Wikimedia UK[edit]

Key links:

Metrics and results overview - all programs[edit]

The table below shows our results for all programmes. Later in this report, we report on our achievements against the grant metric targets for each individual programme.

Metric End of the Year Targets Achieved outcome at half year mark Explanation / examples of activities
Participants GM1 7,000 4,537 People attending our events: Wikipedia in classroom courses, conferences, workshops,grants, training, editathons, webinars, and community and WIR meetups.
Newly registered editors GM2 1,500 349 New editors were involved through spring semester education courses and workshops and editathons organised by WMUK and WIRs across the UK. We normally gain most users in Q3; we are monitoring how the pandemic is affecting this.
Articles added/improved GM3 250,000 377,742 The sum of Wikipedia articles and Wikidata items created and edited during our editathons, students' works, grant programs, and WIR and volunteer programs. Of the 370K, approx. 25K new wikipedia articles, 23K wikipedia article edits, 6K wikidata items were created and 300K wikidata items were edited.

(The number of edits in Wikidata may be substantially higher, since eventmetrics only measures up to 50,000 edited items.)

Volunteer hours 25,000 16,333 2080 hours come from Wikipedia in Classroom courses, the rest are made up of wiki training, workshops, editathons, the AGM, grant programs, volunteer programs, meetups and other events like the Celtic Knot.
Total audience and reach (online or in person engagement with Wikimedia UK) 75,000 48,603 Includes 43,891 social media subscribers, 4,537 attendees, and 169 leading volunteers.

Achieved Target has been achieved or exceeded
On track On track to achieve the target
Opportunity for improvement Good progress has been made towards achieving the target, but the target has not been reached
Attention required Little or no progress has been made towards achieving the target

All metrics totals for all programmes[edit]

For metrics disaggregated by programmes, see individual sections per programme below, for example programme 1. Numbering on the left is consistent throughout the report.

We have introduced several new metrics in the 2019-22 strategy, for further explanation and context see our 2019-20 impact report.

Metric 2020-21 half year results
1 Total audience and reach (direct engagement) (grant metric) 48,603 (Includes ‘total participants’ (GM1) plus leading volunteers)
2 Digital media reach 43,891
3 Total participants  (grant metric, GM1) 4,537
4 Number of newly registered users (grant metric, GM2) 349
5 Number of leading volunteers 175
6 % of leading volunteers who are women 49.16%
7 Estimated number of volunteer hours (grant metric) 16,333
8 Volunteers would recommend WMUK (annual) Annual Metric
9 Volunteers feel valued by WMUK (annual) Annual Metric
10 Volunteers have developed new skills (annual) Annual Metric
11 Images/media added to WM Commons 3741
12 Images/media added to WM article pages (and %) 604 (16.15%)
13 Content pages created or improved, across all WM projects excl. Commons (grant metric, GM3) 377,742
14 Number of articles created 29,025
15 Reach of content - image/article views 723,295,971
16 Content diversity - % of events where the focus is on underrepresented content Annual Metric
17 Language diversity - how many languages have we worked across (annual) Articles created: 9

Articles edited: in 43 languages Wikipedia and simple wiki

Common uploads between Feb-July 2020 re-used: on 21 wikis

All Commons uploads in Category Supported by Wikimedia UK were re-used in articles in 350 sites including 75 language Wikipedias

18 Geographical reach - % of events outside of London (NEW) 72.73%  
19 # education courses we work with (annual) Annual Metric
20 Digital skills - Improved skills and confidence (annual) Annual Metric
21 New inclusion in courses and curricula (annual) Annual Metric
22 Responses to consultations (this will become ‘Policy touchpoints’ in 2020) 14
23 Policy change 2

Telling your program stories - all programs[edit]

Programme 1: Creating Knowledge Equity[edit]

Strategic goal: Increase the representation of marginalised people and subjects on Wikimedia

Theory of change

With incomplete information online, we would struggle to create an informed society. A society without access to the information about ‘the other’ can’t become more tolerant. By uncovering and sharing knowledge about marginalised people and subjects, we try to create a more informed society. By engaging with marginalised people and enabling them to create knowledge relevant to them, we empower them and make our society more diverse.

Long term outcome:

Wikimedia reflects our diverse society and is free from systemic bias.

Full logic model

Context / background

The drive towards knowledge equity in the global strategic direction resonates with an increasing awareness amongst UK content holders of the need to represent diverse stories and histories. This programme strand relates to our long term outcome of ensuring that the Wikimedia projects reflect our diverse society and are free from systemic bias, as well as our strategic aim for the period 2019 to 2022 to increase the engagement and representation of marginalised people and subjects on Wikimedia. Wikimedia UK has been focused on areas of underrepresented knowledge for the past four years, with this work coalescing around the key themes of underrepresented cultural heritage, minority languages, the gender gap and diverse contributors. Over the past year, we have also been developing a particular thematic focus on decolonisation, both as this affects cultural institutions (decolonising collections) and the education sector (decolonising curricula).

For broader context: Arts Council England (ACE) is the national funding and development agency for creativity and culture in England, and recently launched its new 10 year strategy. ACE has stated its intention to ask content-holding organisations to use a ‘decolonisation’ checklist, and face financial repercussions if they don’t implement changes. (see Arts Council England asks for help in returning looted artefacts held in UK museums)


We did not set targets for the ‘non’-grant metric’ indicators; instead drawing on a comparison with previous years to assess progress.

Indicator 2018/19 half year achieved 2019/20 half year achieved 2020/21 half year achieved
3. Participants (GM1) 1,019 546 1,687
4. Newly registered editors (GM2) 312 203 275
13. Articles added/improved (GM3) 688,643 +

6,685 files uploaded to Commons

127,823 377,418
7. Volunteer hours 5,620 3,212 9,545
1. Total audience and reach 1,101 672 1,755
5. Leading volunteers 82 126 103
11. Images/media added to Commons 6,685 2,905 3,741
12. Images/media added to Wikimedia pages 5,460 980 604
12. % uploaded media used in content pages 81.6% 29.64% 16.14%
14. New articles added 18,919 6,546 28,993 (mostly a database upload)
15. Reach of content - image/article views N/A (new metric) N/A (new metric) 723,295,971
16. Content diversity - # and % of events where the focus is on underrepresented content N/A (new metric) N/A (new metric) Annual Metric, tbc for impact report
17. Language diversity - how many languages have we worked across (annual) N/A (new metric) N/A (new metric) See note below
18. Geographical reach - % of events outside of London (annual) N/A (new metric) N/A (new metric) 72.73%  (101 out of 137 events, supposing that COVID-19 would not influenced this metric)

Notes on key metrics results:

13. Articles added/improved (GM3) - Wikipedia articles added:  21,374 new articles added automated from Wikidata on the geography of selected towns in Welsh. 1,406 new articles and 16,000 articles improved on fungi by WiciWelsh Trainees. 277,007 Wikidata items edited in Wales by NLW Wikidata Scholar and WIR, adding references and properties to images by the NLW collections, and 23,500 items edited by uploading c.40,000 properties using QuickStatements on the automated Wikipedia articles described above.

15. Reach of content - image/article views -

  • Accumulated views of articles created during the period:  14,407,648 (eventmetrics)
  • Accumulated views in this period of articles containing images: 698,649,994 from the Commons categories connected to activities supported by Wikimedia UK (e.g.  Khalili Collections)

17. Language diversity - how many languages have we worked across (annual) -

  • Articles created: 9 (CY, EN, ZH, AR, DE, ES, TR, MT, KW) *from eventmetrics
  • Articles edited: (in 43 languages Wikipedia and simple wiki) *from eventmetrics
  • Common uploads between Feb-July 2020 re-used: on 21 language Wikipedias and Wikidata, Wikisource, EN wikivoyage, simplewiki and outreach wiki.*from PetScan
  • All Commons uploads in Category Supported by Wikimedia UK were re-used in articles in 350 sites (*from Baglama2), including 75 language Wikipedia and language versions of other sites (275): wikibooks, Wikidata, Wikimedia, Wikinews, Wikisource, Wikiquote, Wikiversity, Wikivoyage, Wiktionary.
  • We used different tools to measure the number of languages our activities involved; including article creation and improvement, the number of language version Wikipedias where articles re-use images from our uploads in the reporting period (21), and the cumulative number of language version Wikipedias in which images in the 'supported by Wikimedia UK' category were re-used.

Delivery at this point looks consistent in terms of outputs compared to previous years - which is reassuring, bearing in mind how much our programmes have needed to flex in the context of the pandemic and accompanying shutdown. Our new metrics around content, language, and geographical diversity are numerical, but what’s important for us is that they demonstrate that we’re working outside of the usual, dominant spaces and groups. With this they point to our emerging potential for impact within the knowledge equity space.

Highlights of programme activity[edit]

Minority and indigenous languages (with a focus on the Celtic Knot)

  • We delivered the Celtic Knot Conference 2020 in partnership with Wikimedia Ireland - case study below.
  • Activities within the Cornish Wikipedia grew, which was a welcome outcome from the Celtic Knot 2019 conference. This has included wiki training events and community building activities.
  • Staff at the National Library of Scotland continued to digitise and OCR-correct the Scottish Chapbooks. By the end of Q2 all 2997 chapbooks were uploaded, with  979 (32%) transcluded. We have been supporting the Library with additional staff training, and have also helped to document the workflow of the project so it can be replicated by other teams and institutions.

Technology for diversity

  • We supported the Aberdeen Code The City hackathon on 11-12 April, which very rapidly pivoted from an in-person to an online event. This project uses tech to generate and share information about the Scottish city - for example, using Quickstatements on Wikidata to add/edit Aberdeen Provosts.
  • We are in discussions with the Archaeology Data Service based at the University of York around sharing some of the information about authors in their database. This work would help identify missing biographies on Wikipedia - a great example of using Wikidata for highlighting gaps in content on Wikipedia.
  • Edinburgh University’s Map of Accused Witches Wikidata project continues to deliver impact. The resident, who was involved in the project, attended the Mapping the Scottish Reformation seminar at the University of Edinburgh Library, where he discussed with the project team how Wikidata may suit the project for storing and querying their data. The project leader has now made 2,346 edits to Wikidata and has secured funding to second a postgraduate student to help import biographical data and citation data on Scotland's clergy from 1560 to 1689.

Gender Gap & Diverse contributors

March is normally our key activity month for Art+Feminism and International Women’s Day; however this year these planned activities were particularly badly affected by the pandemic, with not enough time to translate them to online activities given the sudden shutdown. Community building and creating open and inviting spaces for diverse contributors is harder, we find, to do online. We have been able to deliver on activities that had been planned with communities that we’ve already built, but are monitoring the ongoing challenge of bringing new people into our community during Covid-19 restrictions. Examples of activities that we were able to facilitate or support under this thematic strand include:

Wikimedia Women in Red intern at the University of Edinburgh {image from February 2020)
  • Women’s Engineering Society Editathon, Leeds Art Gallery BAME editathon for their staff and volunteers
  • At Edinburgh University, the Women in Red programme continued to serve as an anchor for gender gap editing and community building, with their regular monthly editathons moving online from March. The intern who has been supporting this work (promoting events, researching pages to write, creating scaffolded resources, delivering training, community building) completed her project at the end of June. Her work included capacity building for the future, with the creation of a new blogsite resource for how to take part and run Women in Red editing workshops, and she also researched pages to create and improve for upcoming events.
  • Other activities delivered at Edinburgh were an LGBT+ Edinburgh Pride Wikipedia editing event in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh Staff Pride Network. As an illustration of community development, the event was proposed and organised by Lisa Heyward, one of our Ada Lovelace Day editors and a science student at University of Edinburgh.

Underrepresented cultural heritage

In this period we were able to explore deeply the collections held by some of our long-standing partners, and reflect on how the content they hold could enrich gaps in representation on Wikimedia. To highlight the key engagements:

A wall-hanging dated c.1900 from the Khalili Collections, now Featured Picture on Commons
  • The Women's Classical Committee, who have been engaged in Wikimedia editing for several years, ran an event in July to highlight their achievements. With our support, they delivered a Colloquium that included presentations exploring how historical information and knowledge could be presented on Wikimedia without replicating existing imbalances. Their mindful exploration can serve as an inspiration for others on how to implement knowledge equity on Wikimedia. Working with a group like WCC is key in developing knowledge equity practice at Wikimedia, since these sort of groups have been grappling with knowledge representation for much longer than us.
  • Collaborating with the Science Museum, we built on existing activities to recruit a Wikimedian in Residence. This residency will have a strong focus on underrepresented knowledge, combining Wikimedia’s view on what the knowledge gaps are, and understanding of underrepresentation teased out by the ongoing work on Science Museum’s collections database. We have discussed a working methodology for determining areas of focus and also the language, descriptions and ownership of underrepresented content.
  • In April we resumed discussions with the British Library (BL), to discuss a Wikimedian in Residence project, with a view to focus on underrepresented heritage. The BL is a large organisation that has had many Wikimedia activities within various departments for years now, instigated by the Wikimedian in Residence back in 2012. This new residency represents a chance to consolidate some of these strands of work whilst exploring innovative approaches to digital repatriation and decolonisation, within one of the UK's most significant cultural institutions.
  • Khalili Collections partnership, which started in 2019, entered a second phase in February 2020, focused on sharing and promoting further content relating to Japanese art and artists. In terms of added content the volume of this work is not high (e.g. about 90 images so far), but the curated, mindful approach means that the additions are much needed and well received within the Wikimedia projects. The images added are receiving around 750,000 views per month and one of them, a Featured Picture, was the Commons Picture of the Day on 11 July (with an estimated reach of 900,000 people during that day). A number of non-English Wikipedias use the Commons Picture of the Day as their own front page Picture of the Day, and so on 11 July the image appeared on 26 different language versions of Wikipedia, plus Spanish Wikinews. Editors translated the image description into their own languages, with fourteen different languages added. The partnership’s second Featured Picture on Commons is a Meiji era artwork combining textiles with a painted background. At 149 megapixels, this is a hugely detailed digitisation of a complex artwork which contains multiple scenes of people, in traditional Japanese dress, at work cultivating tea, rice and silk. The resident has cropped out, and categorised, some figures and scenes so they can be used separately. Additionally, so far nine articles from this project have passed Did You Know review, placing links to articles on the top page of English Wikipedia.
    • It’s interesting to note that Khalili Collections is also sharing content with Google Arts and Culture at the same time as with Wikimedia, and this project is an illustration of the different interfaces and functionality offered by Google and Wikimedia. Compare a Google online exhibit with a Commons gallery. Google has a much cleaner and pleasant interface, but Wikimedia provides more links back to the institution's catalogue, has more data fields about each item, and allows users to contribute, for instance by annotating large images.
Potential relevance and resonance for the global movement: Innovate in Free Knowledge

Our work to support minority and indigenous language communities, illustrated (and to an extent underpinned) by the annual Celtic Knot Conference.

Engaging deeply with content holding organisations around decolonising collections, and, by extension, knowledge representation.

Challenges of the pandemic context

Initially we experienced a wave of event cancellations, as our partner and host organisations reacted quickly to the growing threat of epidemic in the UK. A lot of our gender gap events suffered because of the timing of the shutdown in the UK, which started in March (e.g. Art + Feminism @ St Andrews). Other events were postponed while host organisations took much needed time to explore online alternatives (e.g. Scottish Open Data Unconference). This was difficult as events underpin much of our delivery within this programme strand.

Reviewing the impact of Covid-19 on our current and potential partner organisations does give us pause.  Some projects have been put on hold as our partner institutions reprioritise, put non-essential projects on hold, or take time to adapt to the new context. Our delivery is very connected to partner institutions, and we have experienced a range of responses to the shutdown of national life, from increased online activity to a significant decrease in output as large numbers of staff have been furloughed (supported by a generous government job protection scheme which meant any staff on furlough were strictly prohibited from working). A number of our projects have been put on hold because of key people, or in some cases most of the organisation, going on furlough - including one of our Wikimedians in Residence.

Larger content-holding organisations are now wanting to resume operating and connecting to audiences, but are being very cautious in their approach. For example the British Library put hiring freeze restrictions in place, delaying plans to hire a Wikimedian in Residence (although we are hopeful that this will happen in the latter half of the year). A series of training events for a large umbrella body was postponed due to financial and other pressures on the sector; although we hope that this may be planned for a future time as we had already developed the plans and materials for these events.

Progress towards the plan, adapting to the new world[edit]

Compare to our proposal

After the initial wave of cancellations in March/April, we noticed an uptick in partners’ interest in holding online events and exploring new projects and collaborations. This is something that by then we were in a much better place to deliver as well.  Wikimedia UK’s team has been lucky in being able to continue to deliver our work, but some of our external colleagues have been affected much more, for example by not having the right conditions for working from home. We have been supporting those of our partners who are able to continue working, and are open to flexing delivery to the current context. For example, Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities Intern needed to return home to Italy as the pandemic hit, which disrupted the original plans for taking photos of memorials in Scotland. In her words: “Instead of mapping memorials physically, I started to learn how to navigate the digital space of Wikidata, a relational database. Wikidata was totally unknown for me, but became a place where I could remotely create, map and increase new data about women in Scotland.”

Within our ‘minority and indigenous languages’ programme strand we have been able to continue the majority of content upload/data projects, specially where these were led by a very small number of experts (e.g. NLW, Llen Natur). Similarly, projects focusing on the use of technology for underrepresented knowledge proved to be agile and able to adapt or continue to deliver. The graduate internship programme using data uploads to find gaps in images is an example.

Thinking about future programmes and how this situation may affect us longer term has involved some reflection on building partnership pipelines and working with diverse communities while being fully remote. We are conscious that while many of our existing partnerships have been able to go ahead in some form, many of these collaborative projects started as a result of a connection made at an in person event - such as conversations at conferences etc. Similarly, working with diverse communities tends to work better in-person, where we can build trust and understanding more quickly. We may see the impact of our current lack of in-person contact in our future programme, and are considering ideas for maintaining our activity pipeline.

Case study[edit]

Celtic Knot 2020 and its communities
The conference sessions are available on YouTube: Day 1, Day 2, pre-recorded talks

Celtic Knot conference is an annual conference supporting Wikimedia communities' work with diverse languages. We support it and run the conference in partnership with a partner host at a different location every year, making it accessible to different communities. The first conference was held in Scotland, with subsequent events in Wales and Cornwall, and the intention was to host the 2020 edition in Limerick, Ireland, in July 2020, for the first time in collaboration with another affiliate (Wikimedia Community Ireland). Due to the Covid-19 global health crisis and travel restrictions, an in-person event would have been impractical and unsafe, so we decided early on to keep the date and turn the conference into an online event. Over 100 people registered for the conference, and most of the live streamed talks over the two days of the event had 50 - 60 live participants (in addition to people watching the recordings at a later point). We offered a mix of information/overview talks to inspire and update attendees, and workshops/troubleshooting spaces to help attendees work through barriers they experience on their language wikis. This latter element was key for us to maintain the spirit of the conference, which has always been a capacity building, solutions-oriented space.

As an illustration of the community building force of the conference, in Spring this year we were able to build activities within the Cornish Wikipedia. The Cornish Language Lead from the Cornwall Government, with whom we organised the 2019 conference, got in touch with us with a Wiki training plan in early Q2. This was somewhat inspired by the lockdown and the opportunity it gave for people to develop their Cornish language skills. It also took advantage of the Speak Cornish Week 20 -28 June. We run a series of workshops helping people to get editing on the Cornish Wikipedia, while also facilitating a community discussion around planning a way forward. Celtic Knot 2020 created an opportunity for the Cornish contributors to connect further and continue their wiki efforts; some people learned about the conference via the training we delivered. Further, the statistics of Content Translation usage in Cornish went from almost zero published translations per month for quite some time, to 13 in July - we believe this is linked to Celtic Knot.

In running this event, we involved a member of the Cornish Wikipedia community who shared their experiences of editing and how they got involved. We discovered that Wikipedia had played a role in making Minecraft available in Cornish. The Minecraft community can submit translations of the playing interface; this volunteer took part in the process and when stuck on how to translate a word would look up the English version on Wikipedia and seek out its Cornish counterpart. This shows how having an active Wikipedia can be beneficial to the larger language community in making other resources more accessible.

There’s a lot more that could be said about the Celtic Knot conference 2020, and we welcome people to explore our documentation page which captures our learning - we would be delighted to talk to anyone about this if they want to learn more.

Programme 2: Developing Digital Literacy[edit]

Strategic goal: Work with the Wikimedia projects to develop digital, data and information literacy

Theory of change

Access to high quality, neutral information based on reliable sources helps to create a shared understanding of the world, and is important to the creation of a tolerant and democratic society. However, this is being undermined by increasingly widespread misinformation and disinformation. To counter this, Wikimedia UK works with educators and other partners to develop digital literacy skills, with a focus on information, media and data literacy.

Long term outcome:

People in the UK are able to understand and effectively engage with open knowledge, creating high levels of information literacy which underpins civil society and democratic processes.

Full logic model

Context / background

Wikimedia UK believes that engaging with the Wikimedia projects – particularly through becoming a contributor – enables learners to understand, navigate and critically evaluate information as well as develop an appreciation for the role and importance of open education. Using Wikimedia in the curriculum can teach students key skills in information literacy, collaboration, writing, editing, information synthesis, source evaluation and data science.

In the UK on the whole, societal fragmentation is increasing, driven by media polarisation, and fuelled by  misinformation and disinformation. Wikimedia can play an important role in combating these issues, and in developing the information and media literacy skills that are fundamental to a well functioning civil society.

For broader context:


We didn’t set targets for the ‘non’-grant metric’ indicators; instead drawing on a comparison with previous years to assess progress.

Indicator 2018/19 half year achieved 2019/20 half year achieved 2020/21 half year achieved
3. Participants (GM1) 819 1,734 2,127 (education courses participants)
4. Newly registered editors (GM2) 297 103 74
13. Articles added/improved (GM3) 1,003 2,069 324
7. Volunteer hours 4,832 8,427 5,217.5
1. Total audience and reach 858 1,801 2,155
5.Leading volunteers 39 67 28 (Course leaders, education organisers)
14.Articles added 142 285 32 (Articles written as a part of Wikimedia education courses)
19. Number of courses we work with (annual) N/A (new) N/A (new) Annual Metric
20. Improved digital skills (Computer and Internet Skill Improvement) 84.62% 86% Annual Metric
21. Inclusion in courses and curricula N/A (new) N/A (new) Annual Metric

With this programme being fairly uniform in activity (primarily Wikimedia in the Classroom courses), metrics are a useful tool in monitoring performance. During the period February to July our courses were not significantly affected by the pandemic. They were still going ahead and students were putting time into delivering their spring term assignments. In terms of the low result on 13. Articles added/improved (GM3) - the nature of courses were such in this period that did not necessarily focused on Wikipedia article writing or edits, e.g. they worked collaboratively on Wikibooks, revised each other's articles in workshops, or focused on information literacy.

Highlights of programme activity[edit]

Higher education’s engagement with Wikimedia as a digital literacy tool

Summary video of the Wikimedia in Education summit at the Disruptive Media Learning Lab, Coventry University in February 2020

In February, Wikimedia UK organised a successful and well received Wikimedia in Education Summit in partnership with the Disruptive Media Learning Lab, Coventry University, with many inspiring sessions from educationalists and Wikimedians throughout the day. The event was designed as a satellite event for the OER20 conference, which lent additional credibility to the event and exposed us to new audiences and potential partners. It also had a positive effect in terms of internal advocacy at Coventry University, at a point where we were struggling to implement substantial programmes through our residency. For example, we are now working with their ‘Curriculum 2025’ team, to refocus the residency around their ‘Decolonising the Curriculum’ agenda. The Summit also led to a trial project with the London College of Communication. We adopted a model which split the content of a typical three-hour training workshop across three separate events a week apart. This approach has helped shape our understanding of delivering training remotely, and we are exploring options of building on this trial with LCC.

In general, with around 25 Wikimedia in the classroom courses supported across the UK, the delivery picture has been mixed. In a typical year, May to July would be a quieter period with courses having concluded teaching and assignments. This year, the period was characterised by a focus on exams but also the continuing shift towards teaching online bringing new challenges. For courses already using Wikimedia in the classroom the transition has been smoother as there was already a strong digital element to teaching - though it has not been without challenges. For the upcoming academic year, we know of two Wikimedia modules are no longer running as a direct result of Covid-19 with changes in staff leading to changes in approaches to teaching. For both, the course leaders remain interested in working with Wikimedia, and would like to reintegrate its use in the future. Running a course with a Wikimedia aspect can be resource-intensive - not least because it can involve acquiring new skills for staff and students; therefore, with other demands, the Wikimedia aspect can unfortunately be squeezed out. Most of the courses we support are hoping to run as planned in the next academic year, although there is some uncertainty for Masters modules about how many people may sign up.

The Edinburgh University Wikimedian in Residence has been incredibly busy supporting and confirming the courses for the Autumn 2020 semester - this is amongst all the uncertainty and changes inflicted by Covid. In Q2 students on the Translation Studies MSc ALL successfully published a new high quality translation of 1,500 words or more from one language Wikipedia to another and peer reviewed each other's work. This is non-trivial: students were merely asked to do a template feedback form, but they have gone way beyond this, providing extensive feedback on each other’s work.

Wikimedia in schools

We are continuing with the Welsh Government/National Library of Wales/MenterMon collaboration (Wici-Addysg). We consulted with teachers and other education professionals to find out what Wikipedia articles students are most likely to use. To help generate content, we collaborated with WJEC (the national curriculum body in Wales) and Hwb (the Welsh government's website for digital learning in schools) to release their resources. Amidst schools closing in Wales, 50 educational articles have been written for Welsh Wikipedia and were professionally checked. In collaboration with MenterMon, short videos for Welsh Wikipedia articles were created, together with a Welsh language podcast. In the meantime another education project has received funding - Wicipics - which will involve a series of school and community events to improve content on local history. Wikidata will be created for historic local sites and used to identify, photograph and document them on Welsh Wikipedia. In preparation, we organised for the Wikishootme interface to be translated into Welsh.

We have made a connection with the information literacy organisation Shout Out UK, and are working on a joint funding proposal for an educational programme in secondary schools in England, to take place (subject to funding) from Spring 2021.

Potential relevance and resonance for the global movement - Identify topics for Impact (indirectly):

Our work within digital, data, information and media literacy - in terms of understanding impact across various literacies, connections to fighting misinformation, building WIR partnership models with universities.

Challenges of the pandemic context

Our education programme is operating within a challenging landscape, with the higher education sector adapting to the lockdown and the implications of the pandemic on operations, student numbers and finances; all with Brexit looming on the horizon. This has arguably been compounded by a lack of clarity, both in the secondary sector and within higher education, about the likely regulatory and legislative context in the autumn.

After the shift to online teaching in Q1 caused by lockdown, May to July was another challenging period for the whole higher education sector. The courses active in Q1 concluded their teaching, and Q2 was a period of reflection and adapting to the challenges presented by Covid-19. The sector is undergoing significant change, with uncertainty around funding from both research and teaching; disrupted pedagogical models; and staff shortages. The challenges of adapting teaching methods, learning new platforms and supporting students, and the uncertainty around the higher education sector are placing a significant burden on lecturers.

Progress towards the plan, adapting to the new world[edit]

Compare to our proposal

Over the May to July period there have been two key approaches: raising the prominence of Wikimedia as a teaching tool and contacting current course leaders to offer support. In particular, the Wikimedian in Residence at the University of Edinburgh organised a series of introductory sessions about the use of Wikimedia in the classroom. As a result of the Wikimedia in Education Summit in February, we also began working more closely with the London College of Communication, trialling new approaches to editathons and student training with a particular focus on decolonisation. Checking in with course leaders further illustrated the changing nature of the landscape in higher education. Some courses are continuing as planned, while others will be changing. Many of the courses for the academic year beginning in September 2020 are expected to go ahead, and where there is continuity in personnel, courses are more likely to remain active. However, some universities experiencing staff shortages are redeploying staff, with the side-effect that the use of Wikipedia in teaching has been temporarily dropped. The complexity of running a course with a Wikimedia element has led at least one course to drop Wikimedia editing. The resilience, determination, and dedication of course leaders in supporting their students is impressive.

The schools programme in Wales is also continuing, but within the challenging context of schools functioning online.

Our Q2 is a traditionally quiet period for us in terms of university courses, and so the real test of pandemic impact will be Q3, during which we would normally be starting autumn courses with current and new higher education partners.

Case study[edit]

Edinburgh University - scaling up and continuous improvement of the programme

The Wikimedian at the University of Edinburgh is continually reviewing the programme and finding ways to scale and amplify his activities. After the Women in Red paid internship ended, the next position that he pitched for internally was a ‘Wikimedia Trainer Intern’ - a 12 week full-time position over the summer, with the aim of developing professional looking and scaffolded training resources that can take someone from beginner to advanced in Wikipedia and Wikidata. This work started in July, and the intern has already started creating new screencapture videos.

The Wikimedia in Education booklet was produced by the University of Edinburgh and Wikimedia UK.

Furthermore, the resident responded to people’s increased capacity to attend online webinars during the lockdown by designing new 'how to teach with Wikipedia' workshops, which proved to be incredibly popular. The resident has been running a variety of “getting started with Wikipedia editing”, “Train the Trainer sessions” and “getting started with Wikipedia assignment” sessions over the years but there was a noticeable falloff in signups for these intro sessions. The theory was that changing “Introduction to Wikipedia editing” to the more empowering and purposeful “Teaching with Wikipedia” might generate more engagement at the university - particularly given that we had worked with over a dozen course programmes and built up enough best practice over the years, as well as a new booklet of case studies of Wikimedia in UK education, to make such sessions really scaffolded, meaningful and motivating for any attendee.

The catalyst for running these sessions was the launch of the case studies booklet in early April coinciding with the coronavirus lockdowns around the world. Wikipedia was clearly experiencing a surge of readership and an important source of information as more people worked from home and home schooled while the need for universities and schools to deliver more innovative online education assignments had never had greater impetus.

The sessions have all been well attended (oversubscribed, in fact) and well received. Originally intended for Edinburgh University audience, they were designed to be open and so there have been attendees from universities throughout the UK (lecturers, learning technologists, librarians), the British Library and other GLAM institutions, universities abroad in Singapore and beyond, digital VLE providers and more.

The University will continue to run more of these sessions over the course of the new academic semester and look to provide more forums for designing and implementing such assignments and pointing interested colleagues towards the online resources and people that will help them support such assignments. We are supportive of this great outreach activity and are in contact to see how the potential new contacts could feed into our own partnership pipeline.

Programme 3: Changing Policy and Practice[edit]

Create changes in policy and practice that enable open knowledge to flourish

Theory of change

Open access to information is a fundamental right and a prerequisite to building understanding. Political and market forces in the UK strive towards keeping information closed and inaccessible. Advocacy work is needed to create change and generate wider access.

Long term outcome:

Our work has significantly increased free, online access to knowledge and information.

Full logic model

Context / background

This programme is focused on the changes that we are trying to create at an institutional, sector wide and public policy level to enable open knowledge to flourish. We focus on building relationships that could benefit the organisation and wider Wikimedia movement in the long term. However in order to promote and facilitate the sustainable development and use of open knowledge, we must be able to deliver concrete examples of how this is achieved, through pilot projects, case studies and business cases. This interplay between direct project delivery and more of a platform role can be seen within this programme.

Within the broader context, the picture in the UK is mixed. After a period of a steady move towards openness, we are instead seeing increased censorship and the re-enclosure of information from both government and market forces in the UK and world-wide. For example, a new regulatory framework – proposed in a joint White Paper from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Home Office, and including Wikipedia in its scope – could potentially impact on the way in which Wikimedia is able to operate in the UK. We are constantly horizon scanning to support positive initiatives while building coalitions against the damaging ones, for example:


We didn’t set targets for the ‘non’-grant metric’ indicators; instead drawing on a comparison with previous years to assess progress.

Indicator 2018/19 half year achieved 2019/20 half year achieved 2020/21 half year achieved
3. Participants (GM1) 1,806 1,422 489 (Audiences at our talks, raising awareness or generating calls to action)
7. Volunteer hours (GM2) 4,258 1,769 1,570
5. Leading volunteers 66 43 25 (Community leaders delivering advocacy work or awareness raising talks)
22. Responses to consultations 2 1 14
23. Policy change affected 1 1 2 (policy change at S4C; delivery change at the Coventry University)

Our results in terms of metrics for this programme tell us that the 'on the ground' activity - networking, conference talks, in person lobbying - has been reduced because of the pandemic. This may have an impact longer term in terms of how much we are able to affect change in the UK policy and legislative arena. At the same time, perhaps connected to working purely online, we’ve had more access to online policy consultations and have made a number of new connections during this period that we anticipate will have a positive effect:

22. Responses to consultations and other policy touchpoints:

  • Liaison with the UK Government Cabinet Office regarding our work to combat online misinformation and disinformation about Covid-19
  • Liaison with Health Education England regarding our work to combat online misinformation and disinformation about Covid-19
  • Participation in Open GLAM and Open Education Tweetchat focused on the intersection of open education and culture
  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) consultation on their new open access policy. UKRI brings together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England, with a combined budget of more than £8 billion.
  • OSCR (the Scottish charity regulator) survey on the impact of Covid-19 on charities operating in Scotland.
  • Presentation at the Westminster Media Forum policy event on arts and culture, particularly in the light of Covid-19
  • National Library of Wales consultation on their draft five year strategy for 2021 - 2026
  • Participation in the National Lottery Heritage Fund licensing review group
  • Presentation at the Westminster Media Forum policy event on the future of copyright in the UK
  • Contribution to a webinar about the Science Museum's Heritage Connector project
  • Participation in a webinar for potential contributors to the Arts and Humanities Research Council's 'Towards a National Collection' programme

Highlights of programme activity[edit]

Organisational change towards openness

Most of our programmes were able to creatively adapt to the reality of lockdown. We have found, however, that it’s been harder to deliver on our advocacy aims. Lack of in-person contact makes it more challenging to build rapport with a particular organisation, or to create a coalition on a given issue. To counterbalance this, it’s our hope that the AHRC-funded Towards a National Collection project will ignite the interest of content holding organisations in working with Wikimedia. We are already building a good relationship and a case study by working with the Science Museum on a Wikidata project, and believe that this could open doors to other large scale partnerships. As an example, a webinar about the Science Museum’s AHRC-funded Heritage Connector project, which included mostly Wikidata case studies from our community, was attended by 280 people.

A few internal shifts worth highlighting:

  • S4C, a key television channel in Wales, now keen to Change photograph licences to open, change press release licencing to open, and work more closely with Wikimedia on disseminating their content.
  • At Coventry University, hosting of the Education summit in February has had a positive effect on internal advocacy. Not having had Wikipedia in Classroom courses in place thus far, after the summit the Resident’s proposal for an ‘Add+Vantage’ module about Wikipedia was accepted; this will run from September, and again from January.
The Map of Accused Witches Wikidata project continues to inspire engagement with Wikidata (image from December 2019)

Sector-wide advocacy

Our residents still had opportunities to promote their work within their sectors, although this was scaled back in comparison to last year. The National Library of Wales’ resident spoke at several events, including the Science Museum’s hosted Heritage Connector Webinar to speak about Wikidata at NLW - The Edinburgh University was also present to highlight their Map of Accused Witches Wikidata project. They also filmed an interview with The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions with Simon Cobb about being an early adopter of Wikidata. Also, as mentioned, Ewan’s Teaching with Wikipedia webinars have also been very popular and attended by teaching professionals from across the country.

We have finally completed and published a booklet of Wikimedia in Education case studies (in collaboration with the Edinburgh University). This 36 page publication of 14 case studies demonstrates best practice in how the Wikimedia projects are being used in teaching and learning. We were planning a launch event for this at the key open education conference, OER 2020, at a high profile evening social event. This event was brought online and as much as we have promoted the booklet within the online conference, we believe that it would have made a bigger impact if we did this at a physical event.

UK and International Policy and Advocacy

The first half of the 2020 - 21 year has been unexpectedly fruitful in terms of policy and advocacy activities, in spite of the lack of in person events and conferences. Some of these relate directly to the pandemic - for example, meetings with Health Education England regarding access to information about Covid-19 - while others relate to our ongoing priorities. A summary list of policy touchpoints, including consultation responses, is included above.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is the NGO that directs research and innovation funding, funded through the science budget of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. They bring together seven research councils including AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council). In April, Creative Commons got in touch about UKRI’s Open Access Review, to ensure that there was high level alignment across responses from different organisations within the open movement. We responded to UKRI’s extensive consultation document in May and we are now awaiting publication of their findings and how this will impact upon their policies going forward.

Also in May, the UN launched a campaign to tackle misinformation during the pandemic, particularly relating to vaccines. As part of this wider campaign, we worked with the social impact agency Purpose to help promote the UN's PAUSE campaign on 30th June. We brokered introductions between Purpose and other organisations working in the field of media and information literacy, and were delighted by the response of these allies, which included:

  • Ofcom (the UK’s communications regulator) created a social media plan specifically for the PAUSE campaign, drawing on their own research and statistics regarding misinformation about the pandemic and linking to their fact checking/resource guide.

Staying on the theme of information literacy, Wikimedia UK has joined an informal alliance of stakeholders interested in working to make information literacy one of the key pillars of the education systems across the four nations of the UK, in particular through seeking to influence public policy.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is working on updating their licensing policy and requirements, which will affect the funding requirements they apply to future projects. Following ongoing and very long standing advocacy efforts with this key funder for UK heritage, our CEO was invited to join the licensing advisory group. This group played a significant role in the development of the new policy, which will be launched in September.

Following her presentation at a Westminster Media Forum seminar on the future of arts and culture, our CEO was approached by the Chair of the Panel - an MP - to contribute ideas on how to support the cultural sector during the current crisis. Our CEO also spoke at a subsequent Westminster Media Forum policy conference on The future for the UK’s copyright framework, following the UK government’s decision not to adopt the new EU copyright directive.

Potential relevance and resonance for the global movement - Innovate in Free Knowledge (partnerships):

Expertise around Wikimedian in Residence model as a key way of impactful partnering with external organisations. Wikimedia has spearheaded the Wikimedian in Residence programme since the very first residency took place in a pilot project at the British Library in 2012. We continue to lead the way in the development, delivery and evaluation of Wikimedians in Residence with a wide range of past and current partners, many of them institutions of international significance.

Challenges of the pandemic context

Large, international events also got cancelled, even those many months into the future. For example, just for the National Library of Wales, the following advocacy activities were cancelled: Video Presentation for Wikidata Days in Lisbon in July; Guest Lecture on linked open data for DIS students at Aberystwyth University; talk on Wikidata at NLW to Cilip Scotland CIG Group; Talk at Wiki-Cite event in Cologne in May. This continues to interfere with our usual open knowledge advocacy activities.

Delaying/complicating projects has been another aspect that affected our programmes. We’re finding that meeting people in person to explain/collaborate on wiki projects brings a lot of value and is sometimes hard to replace, especially with partner institutions that are very much used to in-person negotiation and advocacy. In this vein, for example, our Khalili Collections WIR project is being affected. It was only weeks into the project when the lockdown hit, and this influenced the internal advocacy plans. The original intent was that the Resident would visit Khalili Foundation properties at least monthly to talk to staff and examine/ inform attitudes towards Wikimedia. That has not been possible, and the institution strongly prefers to have these discussions face-to-face, thus this limits the ability of the project to effect cultural change. So we are preparing a report/ presentation to deliver remotely if necessary, using the impressive statistics of what the project has achieved to convince people that Wikimedia is crucially relevant to their work.

On the other hand, for some of our existing relationships though the move online has been positive - for example we delivered talks about open knowledge as a webinar at the British Library, rather than an in-person event, which increased its reach significantly.

Progress towards the plan, adapting to the new world[edit]

Compare to our proposal

Rising importance of Wikidata remains a trend and is now also present in our advocacy work; the Map of Accused Witches project has done very well in the media and is attracting interest of other organisations in working with open data, although we are yet to build projects out of this.

Public policy work has been more difficult with less capacity, and stakeholders being focused on the pandemic. On the other hand, as organisations think more creatively about their context during the lockdown, we were able to connect to networks we’re not normally in or don’t usually consider. We were also able to put more focus into responding to consultations and building deeper connections with existing advocacy partners. We fed into key policy consultations run by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, or UK Research and Innovation Open Access policies - both would have a huge impact on our work.

Case study[edit]

Editing Wikisource: how the National Library of Scotland responded to the Coronavirus crisis

A particular collaboration to highlight here is the National Library of Scotland and their Wikisource work. Gavin Willshaw (former University of Edinburgh employee where he was involved in the WIR project, now working at NLS) has been interested in working on Wikisource for a while. The OCR tool used by NLS often produces a number of errors. They also don't have the facility to be able to correct these errors. Wikisource offers a better OCR tool, the ability to correct errors, and also to release content openly. However, time and capacity has been a barrier for Gavin to engage with the project.

When lockdown / shutdown happened, Gavin was able to offer WikiSource transcription as a lockdown activity for staff, particularly within the digitisation and other teams. A combination of Covid & lockdown gave them the staff and the opportunity to do this work. This is within the context of Wikimedia UK having worked with NLS in the past, and the organisation being in general wiki-friendly.

A chapbook from the National Library of Scotland's collection

They chose the Scottish Chapbook collection - around 3k chapbooks published in the 17th-19th centuries in Scotland.

They upload approximately 40 books per day to Wikisource. This involves identifying the items they want to upload, preparing a metadata spreadsheet and then uploading to Wikimedia Commons through Pattypan. The books are then moved across to Wikisource from Wikimedia Commons and added to our internal tracking spreadsheet, where they are then distributed to staff members for editing.

Some members of the team are responsible for the initial proofreading of the books. This stage contains some mandatory steps such as ensuring spelling and punctuation are correct, correct use of line breaks, and adopting a consistent approach to illegible text, blank pages and blurry pages. Staff who are more confident in the Wikisource platform can pick up some of the optional steps including alignment, formatting, special characters and generating tables or columns (any of these optional steps that are missed are then picked up at the Validating stage).

There is a separate group of more advanced users who undertake the validation stage. This stage involves checking that the book has been proofread correctly and adding in tags and additional formatting to ensure the book better reflects the look of the original item.

Transclusion involves the publication of the item on Wikisource. This involves adding a header template, linking author details through to Wikidata, adding copyright templates and updating the item's status to "Transcluded". Once an item had been transcluded we are able to export the completed OCR.

Around 65 members of staff are involved in this project, including ~10 "power users", with the bulk of staff working on proofreading. Good connections have been made to the Wikisource community, and internal workflows have been created. A number of staff have now engaged with Wikimedia projects who would not have previously done so.

This is all despite the fact that Wikisource interface is not user friendly, and that many staff are new to wiki work. We are intending on using this case study in advocating for Wikisource usability improvements. Further, the Library's developer team are currently testing the process for exporting the completed OCR and reimporting into the Library's Digital Gallery.

Programme 4: Developing Wikimedia UK’s capacity and profile[edit]

Develop our capacity and profile as a leading organisation for open knowledge

Theory of change

To successfully deliver our strategic goals above, we need to have a solid recognition and stature within the UK, international Wikimedia movement, and the global open knowledge movement. Otherwise our programmes will lack leverage, and, as a small organisation, we will lack impact. Further, we need volunteer capacity and financial sustainability to be able to plan impactful programmes long term.

Long term outcome:

Wikimedia UK is recognised as a leading organisation for open knowledge.

Full logic model

Context / background

Our fourth strategic aim is focused on developing Wikimedia UK’s capacity and profile, as this underpins the success of all of our other work. Some of the activities that fall under this programme strand are largely externally focused - such as volunteer development and international working - while others are more internally focused, such as fundraising and organisational development.

It’s fair to say that the context of the pandemic has been ‘stress-testing’ both us as an organisation, and the various sectors we work with and are reliant on. Organisationally, our resilience and capacity was put to the test.

Within the broader context, we were already concerned with the economic fallout from Brexit, affecting the higher education sector deeply, but also having a negative impact on the cultural sector. Now the pandemic is introducing existential challenges to the sectors we work with. To illustrate:


We didn’t set targets for the ‘non’-grant metric’ indicators; instead drawing on a comparison with previous years to assess progress.

Indicator 2018/19 half year achieved 2019/20 half year achieved 2020/21 half year achieved
1. Total audience and reach 59,449 51,005 44,658 (social media as below +  participants at profile raising events)
2. Digital media reach 57,577 48,798 43,891
6. Female % of lead volunteers 58.82% 43% 49.16%
8. Volunteers would recommend WMUK

9. Volunteers feel valued by WMUK

10. Volunteers have developed new skills

N/A N/A Annual Metric
In-depth diversity stats for lead volunteers (annual) (narrative) N/A N/A Annual Metric

Highlights of programme activity[edit]

Organisational resilience has been a key theme, after an initial period of rapid adaptation and navigation. We have trialled new approaches, invested in supporting our community, and shared extensively with the Wikimedia movement.

General outreach (increasing awareness and understanding of open knowledge and Wikimedia UK)

We have been very active on social media, engaging with current events through tweets about Wikipedia content, for example regarding the Black Lives Matter protests or the oil spill in the Arctic Circle. Tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn posts about the AGM and Celtic Knot were posted, along with coverage of our programmes and partners activity. This included helping to amplify the launch of the Verified campaign to tackle misinformation about Covid-19. We’ve also been increasing our LinkedIn content - building our followers there. Blogs have included entries from our interns, on the AGM, the announcement of our new Chair, and overall programmes that have been adapted for online.

Contributing to the global Wikimedia movement

Initially, the global pandemic pulled the chapter to be more inward focus, working out our response to the crisis. Since then we have strived to engage more with the movement. Working from home by default has enabled us to be more open, for example we have also taken the lead in exchanging programme ideas between various EDs - we organised an online gathering where various affiliates shared how they changed their programmes in response to the lockdown.  

A crucial contribution to the global movement from us was running the Celtic Knot conference. Because of the movement-wide in-person events ‘ban’, many of the usual international gathering spaces (Wikimedia Summit, Wikimania, other topical conferences) disappeared and were not replaced by online events. This made Celtic Knot conference both poignant and important, offering a gathering space for languages and Wikidata enthusiasts to connect and support each other online. Further, moving this conference online allowed us to extend the reach of the event (we usually host it in places that can be challenging to reach in terms of international travel) - participants ranged from our usual ‘celtic knot’ attendees, to people who have been working in the underrepresented languages sphere but have never been able to attend in person.

Developing the volunteer community

Investing in resilience of our volunteer community has been a strong focus in this period. Within the challenging context, we wanted to maintain the connection with our community leaders, while also helping them build skills necessary to adapt to the lockdown reality. Some examples of this work include:

A 'Protests & Suffragettes' 'artwalk' in 2019
  • Continuing to work with the new Train the Trainers (November ‘19 cohort) - e.g. providing support for learning design of an event one trainer is leading
  • Delivering online Train the Trainer, with trainer co-design - case study below
  • We’re working with a volunteer trainer who’s developing a tool for collaborative online editing. The goal is to introduce new technologies and practices, including real-time collaborative writing activities, for those who want to learn how to write Wikipedia articles in groups, taking advantage of the extensive research of group dynamics around Wiki technology in an educational context. We’re excited to see what emerges from this work.
  • Celtic Knot conference wouldn't have been possible without the support of volunteers who put hundreds of hours into making the event a success.  
  • Strong Women of the Clydeside / Protests  & Suffragettes - it’s a ‘social editing group’ model that we’ve been supporting, aiming for the group members can be supported to become self-sustaining. This particular group delivered editathons in June, which prompted them to set up a wiki project page. Having a dedicated project page has been a huge boost to the group, giving them a place online to gather around, and somewhere permanent to organise their work.
  • UK Wikimedians of the Year 2020 - despite a disrupted year, we held these annual awards at our AGM to recognise the continuing efforts of our community and partners. Responses to Covid-19 were a common theme amongst the nominations on both an institutional and personal level. Caroline Ball won the UK Wikimedian of the Year Award for her efforts championing Wikimedia in higher education, with an honourable mention for Ian Watt, recognising his work with Covid-19 data in Scotland. The Up and Coming Award was jointly awarded to Emma Carroll and Laura Wood Rose for their respective work at the University of Edinburgh, integral to the Witchidata project and Women in Red editathons. The partnership award was given to the National Library of Scotland for their ground-breaking WikiSource work during lockdown, with the University of Edinburgh getting an honourable mention for their outstanding work in education.
Potential relevance and resonance for the global movement - Increase the Sustainability of Our Movement; Evaluate, Iterate, and Adapt:

Community building, for example via our Train the Trainer programme. It has supported the development of a strong cohort of volunteers who can deliver high quality Wikimedia training for partners and the public in the UK, and we are increasingly seeing other affiliates wish to benefit from our established work in this area.

General approaches to building internal resilience and capacity.

Challenges of the pandemic context

General profile raising was made more difficult by the lockdown (key conferences being cancelled, events moving online -where we’re finding they are having less impact, organisations being preoccupied with internal discussions, and media focusing on reporting on covid related issues). We remain very active on social media.

Some of our volunteer support or training takes place in person, especially in Wales where our Coordinator meets with the local community in person and delivers Wikidata training to people 1-1. This has moved online but it’s felt that the personal element is sorely missing.

Overall, however, the lockdown has given us many opportunities for adaptation, experimentation, and new connections - we’re outlining these below.

Progress towards the plan, adapting to the new world[edit]

Compare to our proposal

Pivoting to online delivery and adapting to the context of our partner institutions hasn’t been trivial, however we have been creative and quick in our response. To support the people in our networks with sense-making, and organising a programmatic response to the crisis, we have spent considerably more time than we would usually do supporting our trainers and Wikimedians in Residence and facilitating peer learning, particularly through online gatherings to share information, programme ideas and skills. By and large our Wikimedians in Residence have been incredibly flexible, with their services in demand from host organisations and their wider networks.

We have really invested in organisational resilience, both internally and within our communities. As a team we continue to learn from delivering online events, experimenting with the design, tools, and approaches used (e.g. splitting events into multiple sessions; rapid learning curve around experimenting with various teleconferencing tools to deliver events of various formats). This meant clearer and better planned events for partner organisations, and a lot of skills development for the team. We coupled that with an increase in training opportunities for the team, which was helped by online webinars, conferences and training events becoming more accessible (and accessibly priced) during the lockdown. We’ve been developing our skills in Wikidata, and putting time into learning even more about the sectors we work with (e.g. via Jisc training series on metrics and impact).  

It’s also important for us to maintain reflective practice as we keep working in a changing context, and so we take time to reflect on what’s happening and how we could adapt - e.g. we’ve been discussing how we’d feel about running events in-person and what things should we be taking into consideration - this is so that we’re ready when the time is right to start delivering such events.

We’ve been supporting our communities by creating online meeting spaces for them, e.g. for the Wikimedians in Residence, and our volunteer editing community (and in fact noted that meetups are now better attended, perhaps being more accessible online). Designing and delivering online Train the Trainers was a key step in developing the skills and resilience of our volunteer training community, which now feels more confident to deliver editathons online (something we’d have rarely done in the past!). We took a role in fostering connections within our communities by providing spaces for online meetups.

Working from home has involved lots of videoconferencing, and the Celtic Knot Conference was delivered entirely online.

Working from home by default has enabled us to be more open, for example the Celtic Knot 2020 conference we organised was more accessible to international audiences than previously because delegates didn't need to travel. The lockdown gave us an opportunity for new connections with the global Wikimedia movement. We have taken the lead in exchanging programme ideas between various EDs, and facilitated meetings between the EDs and Wikimedia Foundation staff. Organising and delivering the Celtic Knot conference offered a huge learning opportunity in hosting an online conference, and ensuring it’s a safe and friendly space for the participants. This is something that we can now share with the movement, but also draw on in future activities.

It’s also worth highlighting our adaptability within finance and operations. Before lockdown WMUK already operated in a substantially online manner. We were familiar with video meetings involving others not in the London office, so the extension of this to all staff was straightforward. Board and board sub-committee meetings have been held successfully on Zoom from the start of lockdown as have all staff meetings, Senior Management Team meetings, and weekly one-to-ones between line managers and their reports. Our AGM was held virtually on 18th July and was smooth running and well attended, with very positive feedback from participants. Finance operations are now performed remotely with budget holder approval provided by email for electronic versions of invoices. Bank payment authorisations were already wholly online. The Director of Finance and Operations visits the office once a week to deal with the small amount of actual post received and to ensure office security is intact.

Case study[edit]

Online Training for Online Trainers: a response to COVID lockdown

At the beginning of the lockdown period in the UK, as has been documented elsewhere, WMUK did a great deal of work in liaising with partners to explore how we could continue to support their work. Part of our initial assessment was that engagement with the Wikimedia projects could be a viable alternative to on-site work for some partners, and that even in the event of a swift end to the crisis, that remote working would be an increasing part of everyday life. Connected to this was - and still is - our belief that online training provision, as either a replacement for or supplement to in-person training, will likely become a more widespread practice. And although the shift to the provision of online training frees up some staff to be able to provide training at distances they would otherwise not be able to cover, the fact remains that requests for trainers far outstrips staff capacity. To that end, and in line with our existing programme of engagement with volunteer trainers, we decided to examine the appetite for and feasibility of training our existing volunteer training pool to deliver training online.

Back in November we had engaged a new trainer, Bhav Patel, to deliver our Train the Trainer course in Glasgow, Scotland. In light of the success of this training, we decided to speak to him again and held a scoping meeting. We held two brainstorming sessions, inviting all of our existing trainers to attend. Turnout for these was encouraging, and we were happy to see some familiar faces as well as some individuals whom we had not seen for a while - the lockdown inspired some people to reengage with Wikimedia volunteering. These sessions were intended to capture both appetite for training, and training needs. We anticipated that as we were approaching existing trainers that there may be less demand for content which pertained to design, however this was not wholly the case. We were also conscious that the high standard of Bhav’s training in the past concerning training design might be beneficial for our existing volunteers. There was significant interest in how to convert existing training methods to the online format, the “tips & tricks” of using specific tools, and liaison with partners in advance to properly assess training needs. There was also some trepidation around approaching giving individual support, and adapting to feedback in-session in the context of no physical feedback in the room.

Following these sessions, and further discussions with Bhav, we held two sets of three sessions, delivered at varying times of day to accommodate the existing commitments of volunteers. The first of these sessions was titled “Going Online”, and focussed on the move from onsite to online design and delivery of events, in a platform-agnostic way. This session was led by Bhav Patel. The second was “Tools, Tech & Event Management”, focussing on tips, tricks & a variety of online conferencing and supporting tools, as well as overall event management. This was led by Dr Sara Thomas, and drew on all the online events experience that WMUK developed to date. The third session was a practice session, offered to all participants as a way to test out particular sections of training. In total, 14 trainers attended across the six sessions, with positive feedback. The two training sessions were recorded for future use, and a pool of accompanying resources created. These were sent to all participants, to the wider volunteer trainer pool (including some who could not attend the training courses), and are being kept as a resource for partner organisations, Wikimedians in Residence, and future volunteers.

Reflecting on this process, we noted a few things. Firstly, that just because we deal with an online resource does not mean that we are automatically prepared to deliver online. Secondly, that the online space opens up opportunities as well as presenting barriers - trainers’ geographic location matters less, for example. Thirdly, that we were able to engage volunteers with a variety of time commitments, from a wider demographic, and that the pressures on their time likely reflect those of our various audiences. Lastly, that ongoing investment in existing volunteers helps to reignite engagement.

Feedback from training available.

Revenues received during this six-month period[edit]

Please use the exchange rate in your APG proposal.

  • Important note
    • the anticipated column may list revenues anticipated for the whole year instead of only the 6 months. Please make sure that this the time period clear in the table.
    • In the explanation column, always mention relevant information about the numbers: what period they refer to etc.

Table 2 Please report all spending in the currency of your grant unless US$ is requested.

  • Please also include any in-kind contributions or resources that you have received in this revenues table. This might include donated office space, services, prizes, food, etc. If you are to provide a monetary equivalent (e.g. $500 for food from Organization X for service Y), please include it in this table. Otherwise, please highlight the contribution, as well as the name of the partner, in the notes section.
Revenue source Currency Anticipated Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Cumulative Anticipated ($US)* Cumulative ($US)* Explanation of variances from plan
Annual Plan Grant GBP 167500 83750 83750 167500 205985 205985 N/A
FDC Other Grant GBP 0 0 0 0 0 0 N/A
Donations GBP 97613 48919 50807 99727 120041 122640 See below
Gift Aid Claims GBP 8249 4374 4249 8623 10145 10604 See below
Gifts in kind and miscellaneous

and other income

GBP 64505 36821 35856 72677 79326 89375 See below
TOTAL GBP 337867 173864 174662 348526 415496 428603 See below

* Provide estimates in US Dollars

Spending during this six-month period[edit]

Please use the exchange rate in your APG proposal.

  • Important note
    • Budget can be the budget for the whole year (and thus the percentage will reflect the half year and should be around 50%, or the half year, in which case the % should be around 100%. Please make that clear in the table.
    • In the explanation column, always mention relevant information about the numbers: what period they refer to.

Table 3 Please report all spending in the currency of your grant unless US$ is requested.

(The "budgeted" amount is the total planned for the year as submitted in your proposal form or your revised plan, and the "cumulative" column refers to the total spent to date this year. The "percentage spent to date" is the ratio of the cumulative amount spent over the budgeted amount.)
Expense Currency Budgeted Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Cumulative Budgeted ($US)* Cumulative ($US)* Percentage spent to date Explanation of variances from plan
SG1 GBP 31631 17951 16256 34207 38898 42066 108.14%
SG2 GBP 28312 15966 14484 30450 34817 37446 107.55%
SG3 GBP 11370 6047 5592 11639 13982 14313 102.37%
SG4 GBP 3993 504 1437 1941 4911 2387 48.61%
Fundraising GBP 7295 3193 3135 6328 8971 7781 86.74%
Staff GBP 188595 94191 90210 184401 231927 226769 97.78%
Overheads GBP 56137 28992 22274 51266 69035 63045 91.32%
TOTAL GBP 327332 166843 153388 320231 402541 393807 97.83%

* Provide estimates in US Dollars

INCOME Q2 cumulative Q1 Q2 alone Q3 cumulative Q3 alone Q4 cumulative Q4 alone
Annual Plan Grant 167,500 83,750 83,750 83,750 83,750 -167500 -167500 0 0
Donations Received 93,227 47,419 45,807 -93227 0
Major Donors 6,500 1,500 48,919 5,000 50,807 -93,227 0
Gift Aid Claims 8,623 4,374 4,374 4,249 4,249 -8623 -8623 0 0
FDC other grant - - 0
Gifts in Kind 71,601 36,257 35,344 -71601 0
0 0
Bank Interest Received 74 74 0 0 -74 0
Other Miscellaneous Income 1,002 490 36,821 512 35,856 -1002 -72,677 0 0
348,526 173,864 173,864 174,662 174,662 0 -342,026 -342,026 0 0 0

Variance Narrative – Agreed Budget vs Actuals[edit]

Overall Position

Wikimedia UK’s financial year ends on 31st January and its Q2 end date is 31st July 2020. Wikimedia UK became subject to the compulsory closure of offices in March and closed on 17th March.  The office remains closed and all staff are working remotely. When it became clear that the Covid-19 epidemic could be a serious threat to charities’ incomes we reforecast our income and expenses based on scenarios.  The most likely of these is now our reforecast position and used in place of our original budget for comparison.  The figures presented above are yet to be reviewed by our Audit & Risk Committee but are not expected to change. The result at the end of quarter 2 is a surplus of £28,296 against reforecast surplus of £10,534, a variance of £17,762. Including gifts-in-kind, this variance comprises an underspend on costs of £15,212, and a surplus in income over reforecast of £3,563. The major components of the income surplus were gifts-in-kind and donations.

Income Variances

  • Donations income is very slightly over budget at 2% above reforecast. While the fundraising environment in the UK remains challenging, we have achieved a slowing of the attrition rate of regular donors and a focus on securing funds from larger donors has helped to mitigate any shortfall.
  • Gift aid income is marginally ahead of forecast, which follows the small surplus in donations
  • Gifts in Kind (GiK) income is almost entirely comprised of salaries and expenses relating to our Wikimedians in Residence programme and is ahead of reforecast with a small surplus of £1.4k. GiK income is matched to an equivalent expenditure as detailed below.

Expenditure Variances

  • SG1, SG2 and SG3 all show overspends. These strategic goals are heavily influenced by expenditure on our programmes budget which includes the costs associated with our Wikimedians in Residence programme GiK. As highlighted above, the income surplus for GiK is matched by an associated expenditure increase which has had the effect of creating an overspend in these two strategic areas.
  • SG4 shows an underspend of 49% against reforecast but this is only £1.9k. This can be entirely attributed to timing differences, that is expenses will be paid later in the year
  • Overheads show an underspend of £9k. The majority of this, £4.2k, staff costs, arising due to the logistical difficulty of recruitment during the lockdown. The remainder is a combination of small underspends on Governance and IT and office costs.  

The Senior Management Team at Wikimedia UK produce a Quarterly Financial Monitoring Report and an accompanying narrative commentary on a quarterly basis. These include much more detailed breakdowns of variances against income and expenditure along with a summary of current financial prospects, and are available upon request for anyone who would like more insight into the organisation’s finances.

Variance Narrative – FDC Proposal Budget vs Actual budget

As stated in our proposal document for 2020/21, our internal planning cycle means that the budget provided at proposal stage is a draft. The final 2020/21 budget as agreed by the board contains some differences to this and as discussed above our reforecast during Q1 adds further differences, a summary of which can be found below:

Budget 2020/21 FDC Reforecast
Proposal Budget Change
INCOME £ £ £
Annual Plan Grant 335,000 335,000 -
WMF Additional Funding - 20,000 20,000
Small donations 190,000 180,000 (10,000)
Gift Aid 17,000 16,000 (1,000)
Gifts in Kind 151,000 121,000 (30,000)
Major gifts/grants (core funding) 30,000 15,000 (15,000)
Major gifts/grants (project funding) 50,000 - (50,000)
Other income 200 - (200)
TOTAL PROJECTED INCOME 773,200 687,000 (86,200)
Volunteer and Community Support 14,250 5,350 (8,900)
Partnership programmes 14,000 12,000 (2,000)
Gifts in Kind 151,000 121,000 (30,000)
Projects (subject to additional external funding) 50,000 - (50,000)
External Relations and Advocacy 10,750 10,200 (550)
International 2,000 - (2,000)
Fundraising costs (processing fees) 16,500 15,500 (1,000)
Premises 51,740 52,822 1,082
IT & Telephony 26,410 22,360 (4,050)
Other Office Costs 10,000 13,544 3,544
Governance 10,525 4,800 (5,725)
Membership 1,000 - (1,000)
Audit & Accountancy 10,100 10,100 -
Staff salary and on costs 436,580 420,844 (15,736)
Staff Other Costs 6,200 6,800 600
TOTAL BUDGETED EXPENDITURE 811,055 695,320 (115,735)
Surplus / (Deficit) (37,855) (8,320) 29,535


Is your organization compliant with the terms outlined in the grant agreement?[edit]

As required in the grant agreement, please report any deviations from your grant proposal here. Note that, among other things, any changes must be consistent with our WMF mission, must be for charitable purposes as defined in the grant agreement, and must otherwise comply with the grant agreement.

  • none apart from what's highlighted throughout the report in the "Progress towards the plan, adapting to the new world" for each strategic programme.

Are you in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations as outlined in the grant agreement? Please answer "Yes" or "No".

  • yes

Are you in compliance with provisions of the United States Internal Revenue Code (“Code”), and with relevant tax laws and regulations restricting the use of the Grant funds as outlined in the grant agreement? Please answer "Yes" or "No".

  • yes


Once complete, please sign below with the usual four tildes.