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Grants:Conference/WMNO/Arctic Knot: A Wikimedia Languages conference/Report

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Report accepted
This report for a Conference Grant approved in FY 2020-21 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.

Guidelines on how to fill out this grant report

  • If you wish to write your report in your native language, you are free to do so. Please indicate (in English) what language are you using.
  • If you prefer to submit the narrative report in a video format, you can. The video should be in English. Please upload the video to Wikimedia Commons and share the link in your report page. Make sure to answer all the required questions. All Financial documentation will still need to be submitted in a written form.
  • If you struggle with some of the questions, or wish to have a debrief meeting with your Program Officer before submitting your report, we are very happy to meet and walk you through the report template. This can be especially helpful if you want our help in identifying and reflecting on lessons learned. Please get in touch with your Program Officer.
  • If you have other ideas, preferred methods on how to submit your Conference Grant Report or concerns - please reach out to us.

Outcomes and Impact


Thanks for bringing value back to the Wikimedia movement by sharing in this report. Everything you learned during your project is useful knowledge to offer future Wikimedians planning similar work.

In this first section you are asked to reflect on your initial goals and the impact the event had on your community. Remember there is no right or wrong answer. Even if your goals have changed over time, or the impact was different than what you expected. Feel free to share your long or short answer - we are happy to hear whatever you have to share.

Here is a list of blog post that hopefully gives further insights to the questions in this report and how we have worked with the conference:

  • Did your event have any impact that you did not expect, positive or negative?

Participant reach: We reached a bigger and more international audience than we expected and planned for. Our aim was 50–70 participants as listed in the Conference Grant Application, and we had 182 registered. The shift to a fully digital conference of course affected the number of registered participants. Online conference can be both more inclusive and more exclusive than in-person events. Having a (reliable) internet connection makes the difference. We did our best to make the conference a social space with multiple ways to interact. Having many conference participants from outside Europe joining made the conference program and discussions interesting and diverse, bringing new perspective to the table. Amongst them, the participants spoke a total of 58 different languages.

Gender balance: Regarding gender balance among presenters and participants, we worked by the assumption that a gender balanced program would impact the gender balance among participants. In design of the conference program, we aimed at a 50/50 gender balance. From the participants who filled out the second part of the registration form (146 out of 182) where we asked additional questions on gender identity, time zones etc the answers were Male: 84, Female: 59, Other: 1, Prefer not to say: 2. So this was not an unexpected impact, but we were not sure if our assumption would turn out to be correct. We are glad we achieved to reach a diverse crowd and in future events we will continue to expect the group of participants to mirror the presenters in many ways.

  • Please tell us about the top 2-3 innovative (new to you and your community) or things you tried this conference.

This was Wikimedia Norge’s first international conference, but we have done several small and big events with national partners over the years. 2 things we tried out this conference was working on making a brand for the conference and thinking about a “participants journey”. Both of these things taught us a lot that we can build on in future events and conferences.

Branding of a conference: For the Arctic Knot Wikimedia Language Conference, we wanted to work with a designer with a good understanding of the Sámi history and culture and try to find a way to reflect this in the conference logo. You can read more about the logo in this blog post. Building a community is also about building a frame for the community and give people some images and colours to associate with an event. We spent time putting as much Arctic into the conference design it as we could through design and image use; on the conference pages, social media posts, conference videos, Telegram channels and during the conference days. We used the logo and the name actively in all our communication to enforce this sensation of an Arctic Knot community. The logo we can continue using simply by removing the text in it.

Participant journey: To make it easier to design the conference program, we started thinking about the idea of taking the participants on a journey, from an overview of Sápmi and gradually diving deeper into specifics of the Wikimedia projects. Thinking about designing the conference program like a journey within the framing of the conference helped us a lot in choosing the submissions and designing the program. The framing of the conference we did in April with a lot of help and input from the conference team and especially our colleagues from Wikimedia UK and Wikimedia Deutschland. This was an important step for the planning and success of the conference. Knowing that most participants would only follow the parts of the conference they found most interesting, we tried to group similar topics together in sessions as well.

  • Were there any significant changes from the initial grant proposal?

The conference had to be fully remote and not a hybrid conference because of the pandemic. We did not have simultaneous translations but focused instead of using the translation budget on getting subtitles on the conference videos that were not in English. Since we knew many participants would not follow the live program, we thought the right priority was to ensure the videos had subtitles. The number of participants and the number of received submissions turned out to be more than twice as many as we expected. This made our workload bigger than what we planned for in the budget.

  • What do you think will be the long term impact of this conference?

The long term effect will be the new international collaborations and networks established during the planning of, during and after the conference on a possible Wikimedia Language Diversity hub that can support indigenous and underrepresented languages on the Wikimedia projects. For Wikimedia Norge, the conference was a very important starting point for the work we are preparing for the UNESCO Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022–2032. On a national level the impact of having both the President of the Sámi Parliament and the Minister of Education in Norway giving opening speeches and highlighting the importance of indigenous languages and their use in daily life, public life and digital spaces will play a huge role for our future partnerships and funding opportunities. The conference video pool will help us keep the momentum of the conference when we use them in wiki meetups, in events and partnerships or as topics to dive into in more details in blog posts. Already we have had requests about reuse of the conference design, about assisting other conferences in brainstorming on program design or practical help. Working with representatives from other chapters and user groups in the conference team made our network on an international level bigger and will be helpful in future collaborations.

  • Do your best to estimate the number of attendees in your event that have never attended any Wikimedia event before. How were you able to support and engage this group?

40 of total 182.
We used Telegram as a communication channel before, during and after the conference. Our impression was that Telegram was easy to use for newcomers. The Telegram group Wikimedia Language Diversity was very important for us in our communication efforts, as it has members from around the world. When we designed the conference pages on Meta we kept in mind that our target group was not only people already involved in the Wikimedia movement. This is easy to forget and to use a language and terms that are not inclusive. We also tried to make the design of the pages inviting and easy to navigate. We got some nice feedback on the design and some comments that others want to reuse it / parts of it. For it to be easy to reach us we also did most of the communication from the email address arcticknot@wikimedia.no and secured the domain name arcticknot.wiki which redirected to the conference page on Meta. For many of the speakers this was their first Wikimedia event. We contacted many of them via email and had conversations online and offline conversations about their conference contributions. Offering technical tests the week before the conference was also helpful for preparations. We were happy that our efforts to involve and invite Wikimedians we already collaborate with from outside Europe worked. They again spread the word about the conference in their networks.

  • Do your best to estimate the number of participants who have been involved in Wikimedia activities for more than 5 years. How were you able to support and engage this group?

70 of total 182.
We were very lucky to get help from WMUK and WMDE as previous Celtic Knot organizers to reach conference participants from previous years via email, email lists and various Telegram groups. In the Celtic / Arctic Knot crowd, we knew there would be many experienced Wikimedians and Wikipedians. For us it was important to create a space where it felt comfortable and easy to reconnect with old friends and to build a network with new people. Sticking to a select few communications platform (Telegram and YouTube chat), and being constantly present, and an active part also in the more informal conversations was important and rewarding. For both groups (new and experienced attendees) we used our social media accounts and the Wikimedia.no blog and the Diff blog to share information about the Arctic Knot Conference, call for submissions and outcomes and learnings. For social media posts we had a set design.

Learning and next steps


Conferences and events do not always go according to plan! Please use this section considering the perspective of what future event organizers within our movement organizing a similar style conference can learn. Make sure to include lessons around work with external/ internal partners; your communication efforts; your work with the community and volunteers etc.

  • What would you do differently next time and why? Please share with us if there's anything you wouldn't do or something future organizers should avoid.

During the internal evaluation of the conference with the conference team, we made a list of things we would do differently next time. The main reason why we would do these things differently would be to save time or make the conference experience better for the participants.

  • Consider using a submission platform. That would have made it easier with all the follow-up communication and keeping track of the status of each submission. Ask for permission to share video submissions in the submissions process, not after the conference is done.
  • Make a detailed communication plan and make sure to use a project management tool where it’s easy to make a timeline. Phabricator didn’t quite work for us in regards to the communication tasks.
  • There was a drop in participants from day 1 to day 2. We made a last-minute change in not having several parallel sessions as the group of participants joining in real time was not big enough in the afternoon the second day. Also, the group photo should be made the first day when you probably will have the highest number of participants present live.
  • Was there any non-financial support that the Wikimedia Foundation could have provided that would have better supported you in achieving your goals?

The non-financial support we needed from WMF, we got. The two Grant Managers we worked with helped us a lot and we could have a very open and effective communication with them. They both contributed a lot to our conference organization with help and input on relevant questions. We had help from the WMF Communication team that was great and very helpful. Part of the reason for us having participants from all over the world was because WMF shared blog posts and announcements in their social media channels. We also had help with facilitating a panel discussion.

  • What would you recommend on a local and/or regional level as the best next step to leverage your success and momentum? (Please consider potential new allies and partners; internal wiki collaborations; future projects etc. We don't expect you to necessarily do those, we are only looking for more ideas from your own perspective.)

These are some of our recommendations:

  • Use the video pool as a resource in your work: have a watch along at wiki meetups, share videos with partners to illustrate your work or what possible future collaborations could be about.
  • Make snippets of conference videos and share them in social media highlighting your work.
  • Send follow-up/thank you emails with links (video and blog posts) to partners and presenters.
  • Publish conference videos outside Wikimedia Commons and YouTube. As part of our collaboration with UiT The Arctic University of Norway, the conference videos are published on Septentrio.
  • Make sure you find the time to assist other conference teams if you are asked.

  • Does your organizing team / affiliate / user group have any plans to follow up with your attendees in the future or support efforts related to the outcomes of this conference within your community?

We will continue the conversation with participants to investigate a possible future Wikimedia Language Diversity Hub. A group of Arctic Knot participants have formed an ad hoc steering committee for this. The first meeting will be 1 October 2021. We will keep the conversation going on Telegram (or the communication channels you chose) also after the conference. We used the post conference survey to ask for continued interest in collaboration and permission to save contact info and we will share blog posts with takeaways from the conference.

  • Please add any 3 operational recommendations for future events organizers.

These are our top 3 operational recommendations for future events organizers:

  • Use a submission platform if you expect to have about 20 submissions or more.
  • Plan the communication work in detail: what is the framing of the conference, what answers do you want the submissions to answer, communicate this in the call for submission and design the program according to the set framing.
  • Make sure the conference team members have a clear division of task; who oversees what, include conference team members that have more experience than you if you are doing a conference for the first time. Make a plan B in case some conference team members get sick, or you have no shows among presenters. Make sure the executing of the conference doesn’t rely on only one person.

Financial documentation


This section describes the grant's use of funds

Budget table

Please list all project expenses in a table here, with descriptions. Review the instructions here. These expenses should be listed in the same format as the budget table in your approved submission so that anyone reading this report may be able to easily compare budgeted vs. actual expenses.

Nr. Category Item description Budget Final cost Currency Notes
1 Conference venue The physical part of the conference was planned to part at the UiT The Arctic University of Norway 210,000 0 NOK The conference was fully remote
2 Administration Planning, executing and documenting the conference 125,000 185,503.13 NOK
3 Accounting and auditing Done by Wikimedia Norge's external accountant, cost are based on the accountants hourly rate 28,000 31,715 NOK
4 Food and beverages For the physical part of the conference 7,500 0 NOK
5 Scholarships, reallocated 20 scholarships for volunteers in Norway. The scholarships will cover accommodation and travels. 100,000 120,000 NOK The conference was fully remote, and no scholarships awarded. The amount for scholarships was reallocated, see the Conference Grant Application Talk Page for approval of reallocation.
6 Facilitation One facilitator 100,000 67,175 NOK
7 10 % Unforseen costs 47,450 43,572 NOK Travels for the conference team + payment for design of Arctic Knot-logo
8 Translations and subtitles Transalations of conference webpages and presentations 45,000 45,706.25 NOK
9 Simultaneous translation and transcription costs Simultaneous translations of presentations 150,000 85,000 NOK
10 Merch to participants and shipping costs Gym bags with Arctic Knot Wikimedia Language conference logo 14,000 15,476.50 NOK
Inkind donations 235,000 150,000 NOK
Total costs 826,950 744,147.88 NOK

If you have any tips or insights on creating a budget or allocating funds, please feel welcome to share!

Summary of funding

Total project budget (from your approved grant submission): 826,950

Total amount requested from WMF (from your approved grant submission): 591,950

Total amount spent on this project (this total should be the total calculated from the table above): 744,147.88

Total amount of WMF grant funds spent on this project: 591,950 + 100,000 see comment bellow.

Are there additional sources of revenue that funded any part of this project? 100,000 NOK from our Wikimedia Foundation APG was spent on this project for staff costs. Wikimedia Norge’s APG program plan and WMNO’s strategy have many of the same objectives as the Arctic Knot Conference had, please find details about our APG program plan here. With approval from the Wikimedia Norge board, we allocated 100,000 NOK from our APG budget to cover follow-up work for the Arctic Knot Conference after it took place in June 2021. In the period July-September 2021 we have worked on making sure we can build on the momentum from Arctic Knot while preparing for the UNESCO International Decade of Indigenous Languages starting in 2022. We have done so by documenting outcomes from the conference in blog posts and sharing all conference videos on different platforms, including Septentrio at The Arctic University of Norway.

Remaining funds

Are there any grant funds remaining?


Please list the total amount (specify currency) remaining here. (This is the amount you did not use, or the amount you still have after completing your grant.)



Optional - Event Evaluation Toolkit - In this page you can find a list of basic questions that the Wikimedia Foundation uses to evaluate large movement events like Wikimania and other regional and thematic events. Feel free to use any part of these questionnaires to evaluate your own event. You will find: Registration Questions; Post-event questions for participants and Follow-up questions for participants.

Here is the link to the Community Engagement survey we did for the conference grant application.

Here is the link to the post conference survey. A summary of the post conference survey can be shared on request.

We have so far written two blog posts that evaluate the conference:
To celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on August 9 2021 the WMF Conference team invited us to write a blog post about 3 takeways from the Arctic Knot Wikimedia Language Conference. Link to blog post.

We have summarized the top 6 lessons learned that we think can be helpful for other first time conference organizers. Link to blog post.

Anything else


Is there anything else you want to share about the conference or event?