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Conference Support Grants

Would you like to join the committee? Add yourself to the list of candidates below!

Applications for Conference Support Grants are reviewed by a committee of volunteers. Please be sure to review the membership criteria before you sign up.

Candidates, we'd like to get to know you! Please include a brief statement about yourself (like these), and answer the following 2 questions:

  1. What experience from Wikimedia conferences and/or other related projects can you bring to help this committee?
  2. Why do you think conferences are valuable to our movement? OR What three factors are most important for planning an effective conference?

Please review the guidelines for engagement on the committee orientation page.

Candidate: Paulina Lordméndez[edit]

  • I’m Paulina Lordméndez, current secretary of Wikimedia Mexico and member of the Communications Comittee. I’ve been editing Wikipedia since 2014 and volunteered for Wikimania 2015 in Mexico City. Since then I’ve atended to several conferences such WikiWomen Camp 2017 in Mexico City, WikiConference North America 2018 in Columbus, Ohio and Wikimedia Summit 2019 in Berlin.
    I think conferences for Wikimedia are important for sharing knowledge about our projects but also because you get to know the people that are actually making things happen and this is one of the most important things for our movement, this is the moment when we really build our community. This is when we connect face to face as human beings and apart from a screen, when we get to know the person behind the username.
    This being said, it’s extremely important to continue in this path being aware of what is important and necessary for our community, prioritize matters and analize how are we covering them. This is why we need a very diverse comittee that help us get sure the community is well represented and the movement is getting close to support equally each of our chapters, user groups, volunteers, editors, and so on.
    I would like to be in this comittee because I’m part of a chapter that is actively organizing events to grow mexican community, we work close to other latin chapters and got lucky enough to get to know the people behind the movement. What I can bring to this comitte is that knowledge I’ve gain as volunteer, but also my professional skills in managing budgets, strategic planning, events planning, communications, marketing, content and media. Paulina Lordméndez (talk) 01:20, 15 September 2020 (UTC)

Candidate: Celestinesucess[edit]

  • I became a member of the Wikimedia volunteer community in 2015 since then, I have been very active, contributing content as an editor and recruiting new volunteers through my organization of projects. I have led and been part of the organising team of several Wikimedia Foundation projects including Wiki Loves Monuments, Wiki Loves Africa, Wiki Loves Folkore, Art and Feminism, Wiki Indaba 2017 Conference, Twi Wikipedia Translatathon, Wiki Tours the North of Ghana and many more. I am currently leading a one year project funded by the Wikimedia Foundation which seeks to create awareness about Wikidata and establish partnerships with GLAM institutions in Ghana with the goal of training them to share their collections on Wikidata, Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons. I currently serve as the Executive Director of the Global Open Initiative, the Regional Anglophone ambassador of Artandfeminism and a member of the Wikimedia Foundation Project Grants Committee. An opportunity to serve on the Conference Grants Committee will not only give me a chance to learn more but it will also serve as a platform for me to share and put to use my experiences. Also, adding my voice to advance equity and diversity in the evaluation of Conference & Event Grants will mean so much to me and at the same time inspire other young females from my community whom I mentor.
    In the book, Think and Grow Rich, it was said that Napolleon Hill analyzed hundreds of successful men and discovered that all of them had a habit in common, which was to exchange ideas through conferences. It was said that, whenever these successful men had problems to solve, they sat together and talked freely till they discovered a solution. I believe this is true and it works because I have witnessed this through the non Wikimedia and the few Wikimedia conferences I have attended so far. Conferences create a space for Wikimedians to sit together, learn from each other, discuss the challenges we face in our communities and then try to come up with effective solutions which can solve our problems.
    Another reason why I believe conferences are so important is that, again through the few times I participated in Wikimedia conferences I had the chance to meet and network with diverse people who were either WMF staff or volunteers and for some, we ended up collaborating on projects together.
    Again for me, every time I attend Wikimedia conferences I return to my home country very inspired, motivated and gingered to continue to do more for my community. Celestinesucess (talk) 13:46, 13 August 2020 (UTC)

Candidate: Smirkybec[edit]

  • I am Rebecca O'Neill, the Project Coordinator for Wikimedia Community Ireland and an active member of the Wikimedia movement since 2014. I have been involved in all the activities of WCI since its inception, from Wiki Loves Monuments, editathons, workshops, teaching Wikipedia editing in education, partnering with GLAMs, helping in the organisation of a conference focused on Wikipedia in university education in Maynooth University in 2018, and more recently the first virtual edition of the Celtic Knot Conference 2020. I have attended two Wikimanias (London and Mexico), several Wikimedia Conference/Summits in Berlin, the Celtic Knot conference since 2017, the Wikimedia Diversity conference in Stockholm, as well as a number of smaller GLAM meetups in Europe.
    Having been involved in the more traditional conference organisation in Maynooth and a completely virtual and remote Celtic Knot, I have had first hand experience of the benefits and challenges each of these formats presents. While there can be very positive effects from the communal experience of a physical conference, with the recent pandemic as well as increased awareness of the negative effects of air travel, moving to more virtual access or virtually hosted conferences and events may be the way to overcome a number of issues with accessibility to our wide range of Wikimedia conferences.
    Having been involved in one of the working groups in the Movement Strategy, I have become aware of the many barriers many people face when wanting to engage with the Wikimedia movement meaningfully through conferences. These barriers can be visas, lack of spare time or other capacity, or disabilities for which no provision has been made. For me, designing events (in-person or virtual) needs to reflect and take action on how it can be the most welcoming and inclusive event or space possible. Ideally this should be pro-active and not reactive, and not place the onus on those wanting to attend to raise any potential barriers, but instead be designed to be as open and inclusive as possible from the outset while also being aware of needing to flexible if not all barriers were identified. Smirkybec (talk) 14:52, 19 August 2020 (UTC)

Candidate: Discott[edit]

  • Douglas Scott, president of Wikimedia South Africa, lead organiser of Wikimania 2018 in Cape Town and co-organiser of the first Wiki Indaba conference in 2014. I have been an active editor on English Wikipedia since 2006. Currently I am deeply involved in trying to get South African copyright law amended to include Freedom of Panorama and Fair Use. Legal conventions and terms that will making editing Wikipedia much easier in the country. In my day job I am a criminologist.
    My involvement in conference hosting have given me considerable experience in many aspects of conference organisation. Ranging from scheduling, catering, accommodation, to securing visas (a particular issue for participants from African countries) and accessibility as well as inclusivity. As a volunteer community leader in Wikimedia South Africa I have organised, hosted and lead many community events. Both face-to-face and digital. Ranging from editathons to GLAM events, partnership building, hosting meetups, to photographic competitions (I was the lead organiser of Wiki Loves Monuments South Africa in 2013, 2014, and 2015). As lead organiser for Wikimania 2018 I worked hard to increase the inclusivity of the event for people generally and people from Africa especially. The focus on Africa for Wikimania 2018 was due to the lack of access to community events experienced by most African community members due to cost, visa and other reasons; thereby resulting in the unintentional geographic based exclusion of this community. This dovetaled with the theme of Wikimania 2018 that sought to increase diversity within the community by encouraging a greater diversity of community members and how that benefits the movement.
    I am a strong believer in community building events like Wikimania and our regional conferences. I believe that the free knowledge project (such as Wikipedia, Commons, etc.) can only be successful if our community is strong. The community building and knowledge sharing aspects of our conferences is a vital tool to build and strengthen our community. I feel that both my experience and commitment makes me a good candidate to serve in on this committee.--Discott (talk) 10:34, 11 September 2020 (UTC)

Candidate: T Cells[edit]

I have been actively involved in the Wikimedia movement for more than 6 years with experience in project management, volunteer recruitment and retention. I am a sysop on the Yoruba language Wikipedia and I have lead over 35 Wikimedia trainings/workshops and mentored at least 10 editors who are not only active in Wikimedia projects but also drive the Wikimedia movements in Africa. I am one of the two founders of Wikimedia User Group Nigeria (now Wikimedia Nigeria Foundation Inc.) and I am currently the Board Secretary of Wikimedia Nigeria Foundation Inc. In addition, I am a cofounder and executive member of Yoruba Wikimedians User Group.

I am the founder and coordinator of the WPWP Campaign, an international campaign to promote the use of images hosted in Commons on Wikipedia articles.

I have the relevant experience to serve on the Conference Grant Committee as a serving member of the Project Grant Committee and a former member of the Individual Engagement Grant Committee. In addition, I cochaired the Wiki Indaba 2019 and served as the Chair of the Scholarship Review Committee (SRC). I have also been recently elected as a member of the Wiki Indaba Steering Committee (WISCOM).

Conferences are valuable to the Wikimedia movement as it provide a platform for learning, capacity building and sharing of experiences and ideas by volunteers and staff members. Conferences also provide opportunities for face-to-face rapport-building, connections between existing Wikimedia volunteers and community members to strengthening personal relationships between the participants and to improve the community health of the Wikimedia movement.

As someone who has co-organized a regional conference, I am very familiar with the key factors that are most important for planning an effective conference. These factors include but not limited to understanding the goals of the conference, the safety of attendees, good venue (it's size, accessibility, internet), timeline and good program design to mention a few.

I believe I have the relevant experience and knowledge to serve on the committee. T CellsTalk 22:35, 21 September 2020 (UTC)

Archived candidate statements from previous rounds can be found here.