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Grants:PEG/WM UK/Kick start/Report

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Report accepted
This report for a Project and Event grant approved in FY 2009-10 has been reviewed and accepted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
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Project Goal: Kick-start grant to get Wikimedia UK going. The full grant application is at [1].

The grant ran from June 2009 until June 2010. However, it resulted in a number of opportunities that were only realised after the completion of the grant (and which were funded from other sources). We have included them in this report for completeness.

Note that the grant was modified on 3 September 2009 (email correspondence between Tom Holden, WMUK, and Jennifer Riggs, WMF), as follows:

Under "Encouraging Wikipedia use in schools":
  1. "Computer" change to "Computer and peripherals" and reduce by £250 ($427.50)
  2. "Travel" change to "Travel and shipping" and reduce by £250 ($427.50)
  3. New category "statutory checks" (for the mandatory criminal records bureau checks) allocate £500 ($855)
Under Content generation projects
  1. "Advertising" change to "Advertising and travel"

Description of actual activities:

1) Charity status

The amount of funding in this grant took us over the required turnover to be considered by the Charities Commission for recognition as a charity within the UK. This gave us a great head-start into the process of applying for charity recognition compared to the timeline we would have followed had we waited for our participation in the Winter 2009/2010 fundraiser. Although we are still in discussions with the charity commission, we are hopeful that we will be recognized as a charity in the near future.

Put another way, before we received the grant, the chapter was caught in a kind of "catch 22" situation: we needed to spend money on certain things before we could expand but didn't have the money available before the expansion had happened. This kickstart grant helped to alleviate this to an extent.

2) Encouraging Wikipedia use in schools

Unfortunately, this activity did not get started during the grant period due to the time constraints of the interested volunteer. Although we are hopeful that we will be able to start a schools project in the future (and there are opportunities on the horizon that may enable this), this is very much pending the sourcing of interested volunteers.

3) Content access projects

Throughout the course of the grant, we met with a number of UK-based organisations to discuss possible partnerships to share content and experience. These included the Public Catalogue Foundation, Tate Gallery, the Courtauld Gallery, the Museums and Library Association, the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, and the National Archives.

These discussions lead on to the participation of various museums in Britain Loves Wikipedia, as well as the Wikipedian in Residence scheme at the British Museum and the GLAM-WIKI conference held at the British Museum in November 2010. It also started a number of other discussions that may lead to partnerships in the future.

4) Content generation projects

The 'Britain Loves Wikipedia' photography/scavenging hunt competition was held in 20 museums across the UK, and resulted in over 550 photographs that are now available on Wikimedia Commons. This grant enabled the production of leaflets for the event and the purchase of the britainloveswikipedia.org domain name, and covered the travel costs required for those organising the event to attend pre-event discussion meetings with the participating museums, as well as being able to be present (and helping out) at the launch event and some of the other events during the month the competition ran.

5) Attending the chapters conference

Mike Peel was able to attend the chapters conference in Berlin in 2009 as a result of this grant. Unfortunately, due to the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull (the volcano in Iceland), Andrew Turvey was unable to attend, although expenses were incurred as a result of his planned attendance. Mike participated in a large number of the discussions at the meeting, including a meeting with Sue Gardner to discuss the strategic aims of the chapter.

6) Attending free content conferences

This part of the budget covered the travel costs incurred in attending the 'Digital Treasures' conference in Birmingham (by Mike Peel and Zeyi He). It also covered one member's attendance of the Open Knowledge Conference in London in April 2010.

What lessons were learned that could help others succeed in similar projects?

1) Charity status

This is a long process that takes a lot of effort to complete. It also fundamentally requires the involvement of lawyers, particularly if there is disagreement between the original aims of an organisation and the interpretation of the appropriate governmental organisation. In hindsight, it would have been most beneficial to have asked for funds to hire lawyers from the start.

2) Schools project

We learned that it is very important to have multiple people committed to a project, such that there is not a bottleneck if one person turns out to be unavailable. Unfortunately, we were not able to experience much more with this.

3) Content access partnerships

The discussions that we participated in represent the first step in working with these organisations, but there are a lot more steps in the future to fully partner with them (this is still ongoing). In all cases, these future steps need to be anticipated and planned out as much as possible.

4) Content generation projects

Such large-scale projects require a considerable commitment from the organisation and volunteers running them. We were fortunate that we had this commitment for Britain Loves Wikipedia, however it is difficult to envision having this again for future events without the support of paid staff. A wide breadth of experience is also vital: with this event we lacked the knowledge of how best to publicise it, which lead to a smaller number of participants (and hence a smaller number of photographs) than was desired.

5) Attending the chapters conference

It is difficult to plan for the eruption of volcanoes. ;-) Aside from this: attendance of the chapters conference is very helpful (almost critical) to develop a Wikimedia chapter. The experiences of other chapters, and the discussions with interested and experienced volunteers and WMF staff, are essential to guide a chapter in its development.

6) Attending free content conferences

The difficulty here was in sourcing conferences for people to attend, and also people to attend the conferences when they were sourced - it is difficult to do this on a set timescale. As a result of this, funding to attend conferences as needed now comes out of our opportunity fund rather than a specific section of our budget.

What impact did the project have on WMF mission goals of Increased Reach, Increased Quality, Increased Credibility, Increased and Diversified Participation?

Increased Reach

It is difficult to assess increases in reach due to this project, as those increases would be indirect. Had the schools project been carried out, this would have increased reach within schools across the UK.

Increased Quality

The 539 photographs from the Britain Loves Wikipedia competition are currently used in 110 Wikipedia articles across 16 different language versions of Wikipedia. This usage will likely increase over time.

A number of Wikipedia articles were improved as a result of the Wikipedian in Residence project, whose origin can be directly linked to this grant. Details of these articles can be found at wmuk:Backstage_Pass#Results_of_the_day.

Increased Credibility

The Wikipedian in Residence project at the British Museum, as well as the GLAM-WIKI event, increased Wikipedia's credibility (as well as visibility and contactability) within the cultural sector in the UK. It also had an international impact - for example, see the New York Times article on the Wikipedian in Residence project.

Increased and Diversified Participation

Some of the photographers that participated in Britain Loves Wikipedia would otherwise have not contributed to the content of the Wikimedia projects.

The Backstage Pass event at the British Museum led to curators creating accounts and starting to edit. For example, see wikipedia:User:Sphenisciform.

Detail of expenditures:

Project Expense Value (GBP) Value (USD) Expenditure (GBP)
Encouraging Wikipedia use in schools Computer 714.87 1,202.50 0
Travel 714.87 1,202.50 0
Statutory checks 476.58 855 0
Content access projects Travel, refreshments 953.16 1,630 519.40
Content generation projects Advertising and travel 953.16 1,630 660.58
Attending the chapters conference Travel, accommodation 476.58 815 572.08
Attending free content conferences Travel 476.58 815 25.00
Total 4,765.80 8,150 1,777.06

Amount underspent in US Dollars:

Remaining funds from this grant have been returned to WMF in the amount of US$ 4600.

2,988.74 GBP, or approximately 4,600 USD at today's currency conversions. Note that the final amount of money in USD will depend on the currency conversion rate on the day of the transfer.

Will you be requesting re-allocation of remaining grant funding?


No. Due to the participation in the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 fundraisers, we now have sufficient funds to finance initiatives independently. We will return this money to the Wikimedia Foundation upon their acceptance of this report.