Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Alliances Fund/Community Archives in Singapore

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Community Archives in Singapore
Objectives (See Deck) (1) Posterity (2) Accessibility (3) Community-Based (4) Sustainability

Our deliverables are: (1) Establish 1 archival website (2) Train >50 volunteers on and Wikmedia Commons (3) Garner >1000 website clicks (4) Upload >1000 documents, photographs or artefacts (5) Community engagements with an overall reach of >10,000

Through this partnership, we hope to tap on the network and expertise of Wikimedia to establish and grow community archives in Singapore.
start date2023-07-01T00:00:00Z2023-07-01
end date2024-06-30T00:00:00Z2025-06-30
budget (local currency)231081.64 SGD
budget (USD)171067.43 USD
amount recommended (USD)100000
grant typeMission-aligned organization
organization typeNon profit organisation
funding regionESEAP
decision fiscal year2022-23
funding program roundRound 2
applicant(s)• Mycommunitysg
organization (if applicable)• My Community Limited

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Applicant information[edit]

A. Organization type

Mission-aligned organization

B. Organization name

My Community Limited

E. Do you have an account on a Wikimedia project?


E1. Please provide the main Wikimedia Username (required) and Usernames of people related to this proposal.


G. Have you received grants from the Wikimedia Foundation before?

Did not apply previously

H. Have you received grants from any non-wiki organization before?

H1. Which organization(s) did you receive grants from?
Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (Singapore)
H2. Please state the size of these grants from the following options.
Between 5,000-50,000 USD
H3. What type of organization (s) did you receive grants from?
H4. What percentage of your program budget do other funders contribute to?
Less than 30%

1. Do you have a fiscal sponsor?


1a. Fiscal organization name.


2. Are you legally registered?


3. What type of organization are you?

Non profit organisation

4. What is your organization or group's mission and how does it align with the Wikimedia movement?

My Community preserves the common people story for our collective memory. We work to capture community stories, reconnect people to social networks, and deepen heritage appreciation across the country.

Our organisation aligns with the movement as we coordinate across stakeholders, provide for safety and inclusion, and improve user experience in our tours, museums and research. We do so by befriending residents, shopkeepers, and other stakeholders in every aspect of our design thinking process.

5. If you would like, please share any websites or social media accounts that your group or organization has. (optional)

Grant proposal[edit]

6. Please state the title of your proposal.

Community Archives in Singapore

9. Where will this proposal be implemented?


10. Indicate if it is a local, international, or regional proposal and if it involves several countries?


10a. If you have answered international, please write the country names and any other information that is useful for understanding your proposal.

10b. Are there any specific sub-regions or areas where your proposal will be implemented?


11. What is the challenge or problem you are addressing and why is this important?

In Singapore, the stories and memories of our everyday people are underrepresented in our national histories, school textbooks, and heritage sites. Our national archives tend to document the experiences of influential figures, giving rise to an increasingly historically disengaged younger population, who find it hard to relate to these experiences.

Over the past 15 years, there has been a growing demand for community heritage spaces, tours, and events. This trend suggests a growing interest among Singaporeans to reconnect with their heritage and history. My Community, a pioneer in leading this change, has documented the stories of everyday residents and community stakeholders over the past 15 years and celebrated them through heritage tours, community festivals, and publications. The non-profit organisation currently manages and operates a community archives in Queenstown and Tiong Bahru which collects numerous artefacts, maps, government documents and records, photographs and oral history interviews from the residents. This community archives are important to (1) document the history, culture and heritage of Queenstown and its environs, (2) celebrate and respond to the community of Queenstown, and (3) inspire learning and reflecting on place and social history.

However, as the community archives continue to grow, there are several challenges that need to be addressed. These challenges include the difficulty of using Microsoft Excel and Figshare software to manage larger collections, the inaccessibility of information presented in the current listing, the need for professional establishment of the archive to ensure the privacy of sensitive and private information, and the high cost of setting up and maintaining a community archive, including rental, conservation materials, and manpower. Addressing these challenges is important to ensure the preservation and accessibility of Singapore's community history and heritage for future generations.

Community archives are important because they are created or accumulated, described, and/or preserved by individuals and community groups who desire to document their cultural heritage based on shared experiences, interests, and/or identities, sometimes without the traditional intervention of formally trained archivists, historians, and librarians. It is important to equip everyday individuals with the opportunity and necessary skills to contribute, access, and maintain a community archives they can call their own.

Hence, My Community would like to work with the Wikimedia Movement to develop a community archives based on Wikidata and Wikibase. We believe that a partnership with the Wikimedia Movement will open a way for underrepresented communities in Singapore to grow their own collections and contribute their stories.

12. What is the main objective of your proposal? Please state why you think partnering with Wikimedia Movement helps to achieve this objective?

Objectives (See Deck) (1) Posterity (2) Accessibility (3) Community-Based (4) Sustainability

Our deliverables are: (1) Establish 1 archival website (2) Train >50 volunteers on and Wikmedia Commons (3) Garner >1000 website clicks (4) Upload >1000 documents, photographs or artefacts (5) Community engagements with an overall reach of >10,000

Through this partnership, we hope to tap on the network and expertise of Wikimedia to establish and grow community archives in Singapore.

13. Describe your main strategies to achieve this objective?

My Community will achieve this objective by working with volunteers and residents on a design-thinking process:

Phase 1 (Empathy) (1) During this phase, we encourage everyone to contribute their expertise and understand everyone's objectives for the archive. (2) Pop up engagements and door-to-door interviews will also be organised to understand resident objectives for the archives. (3) Volunteer recruitment drives will be held to equip our archives team with the necessary manpower and expertise for the project. (4) Capacity building workshops on befriending, artefact collection, and oral history interviews will be held to familiarise volunteers and residents with ou collection processes. (5) Masterclasses on data modelling, Wikicommons, OpenRefine, SPARSQL, and Wikisource could also be co-organised with Wikimedia to help with skills transfer and build ownership to the archive. (6) We will review and learn from successful case studies in the Wikimedia community.

Phase 2 (Define) (1) Noting that heritage is multifarious and every stakeholder's objectives of the archive is diverse, a focus group discussion will be held to build consensus on the proposed takeaway of the archive user experience. (2) We aim to recruit a professional archivist and community organiser to facilitate these conversations.

Phase 3 (Ideate) (1) My Community will engage a UIUX web developer to conduct initial moodboard and design clinics with our volunteers and residents to determine everyone's idea on website accessibility. We will develop a wireframe of the website's design and usability using the agreed functions, moodboard and UIUX. (2) Based on an initial 100 artefacts, we will start creating a backend using Wikibase. This includes the overarching Wiki infrastructure and its ability to sync and embed on the website. (3) We will also ideate programmes for the launch of the archives. The campaign aims to generate interest, attract contributors, and guide users around the website.

Phase 4 (Prototype) (1) Based on the earlier web design, a website containing our community archives will be developed. This website will be tested among our volunteers and residents, and further refinements will be made to ensure its usability. (2) Based on the overarching framework, our team of staff and volunteers will upload entries in batches. Each batch corresponds to a different artefact type and will require different upload methods:

  • Batch 1: Physical artefacts (Jun 2024)
  • Batch 2: Photographs (Nov 2024)
  • Batch 3: Publications (Jan 2025)
  • Batch 4: Oral history interviews (May 2025)

Phase 5 (Execute)

  • The initial phase of the website will be ready by June 2024 for residents, stakeholders and researchers to start browsing.
  • We will organise seminars and workshops to involve more in co-managing the archives.
  • The launch in June 2024 will include only Batch 1 to keep the project manageable. The remaining batches will be uploaded over the course of a second year.

14. Are you running any in-person events or activities?


15. Please state if your proposal aims to work to bridge any of the identified content knowledge gaps?

Geography, Socioeconomic Status

16. Please state if your proposal includes any of these areas or thematic focus.

Culture, heritage or GLAM , Open Technology

17. Will your work focus on involving participants from any underrepresented communities? Select all categories that apply.

Age, Digital Access

18. Please tell us more about your target participants.

Our target participants includes residents, shopkeepers, volunteers and other community stakeholders who live, work, play and/or pray in older estates like Queenstown, Tiong Bahru and Bukit Merah.

Among these older estates, many have been affected by the Selective-Enbloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS), a government policy to renew older housing estates. For example, the SERS at Tanglin Halt saw 31 HDB blocks comprising 3,480 flats and more than 200 hawker and market stalls, neighbourhood shops and eating houses in Tanglin Halt demolished and relocated to Dawson. From the middle of 2019, some 7,000 residents moved out of the neighbourhood, signalling the end of an era of the pioneer housing estate.

To keep these community networks intact, our volunteers have been befriending elderly residents and collecting numerous artefacts, photographs and oral history interviews from them. Besides using these objects for our community museum, these items are also used "as ice-breakers" for residents to remember about the past and bond with one another. The archives also provide a basis for our social programmes to help the elderly residents with dementia to remember life experiences, memories and stories of the past. According to SCIE UK, reminiscence can give people with dementia a sense of competence and confidence through using a skill they still have. We will be displaying these items in My Queenstown Museum opening in 2023.

We will engage and retain our target participants in a few ways:

(1) Artefact Collection My Community collects artefacts, photographs and objects in 4 ways: (1) Door-to-Door Befriending (2) Artefact Collection Drive (3) Emails (4) Donation.

(2) Volunteer Archivist Recruitment and Capacity Building Workshops My Community also recruits volunteers to assist with setting up the archive. The current archives are managed by residents, heritage practitioners and volunteers who are working in museums and libraries in Singapore including ISEAS, SMU Library, Home Team Library. Capacity building workshops will also be organised community to help with skills transfer and build ownership to the archive.

(3) Seminars We will organise seminars, workshops and outreach activities to involve more residents and volunteers in co-managing the archives. We hope to present our website to the Wikimedia community in 2024.

(4) Volunteer Engagement Programme My Community organises very regular volunteer engagement programmes for our volunteers and residents.

19. Do you have plans to work with other Wikimedia communities, groups or affiliates in your country, or in other countries, to implement this proposal?


19a. If yes, please tell us about these connections online and offline and how you have let Wikimedia communities know about this proposal.

My Community would like to work with the Wikimedia Foundation to develop, digitise, and expand our community archive. An alliance with the Wikimedia Movement allows us to tap on Wikimedia’s technical and organisational infrastructure to develop a digital archive with a searchable catalogue. We hope to tap on its database infrastructure (via Wikibase) and media depository (via Wikimedia Commons). We also wish to consult existing members from the Wikimedia community and learn about current best practices.

To this end, we have been connected to Dr Christos Varvantakis and Mr Alan Ang from Wikimedia Germany on developing the technical infrastructure.

We have been approached by Mr Sakti H. Pramudya from India on participating in the upcoming Wikimania where we will work with the organising committee and the local Singapore wikimenians on developing seminars and tours which utilise our data and information from Wikibase.

We also hope to work with Wikimedia to reach out to others.

19b. If no, please tell us the reasons why it has not been possible to make these connections.


20. Will you be working with other external non-Wikimedian partners to implement this proposal?


20a. If yes, please describe these partnerships.


20a. If yes, indicate sharing of resources from these partners (in kind support, grants, donations, payments).


21. Please tell us how your organization is structured.

My Community is a community organisation which is made up of 6 full-time staff, 2 interns and almost 700 volunteers serving as a volunteer guide, facilitator, researcher and archivist in different heritage performances including community tours, community archives, cultural mapping, community museum and community design.

Each team is headed by a staff and further subdivided into smaller cell groups supported by a volunteer IC and a team of dedicated team of volunteers.

22. Do you have the team that is needed to implement this proposal?

The Community Archive team who will be implementing this proposal includes two staff, Kwek Li Yong and Tan Li Qi as well as a team of volunteers and residents who work as librarians, archivists and informations scientists in the full-time day work.

(1) CV of Kwek Li Yong Li Yong, a heritage researcher and consultant, believes in adopting a participatory and community-centric approach to arts, cultural and heritage work. This principle guides My Community’s programmes, initiatives and ventures.He is now leading the 10-year-old organisation into its next phase of growth. Some of the projects he is spearheading include the group's first islandwide community heritage festival in partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board, a ground-up museum at Margaret Drive, as well as multi-year cultural mapping exercises in Tanglin Halt and Alexandra Village.

The Master’s degree holder in Heritage and Museum Studies from The University of Sydney has produced multiple independent research assessments and reports for government agencies including Tanglin Halt & Stirling, Dakota Crescent, Pulau Ubin and Jurong Lake Gardens for statutory agencies including the National Heritage Board and National Parks Board.

(2) Tan Li Qi Li Qi believes in the importance of documenting and capturing community histories - in particular, the stories of minority and displaced groups in land-scarce Singapore. Growing up surrounded by quaint 1930s Art Deco residences in the heritage-rich estate of Tiong Bahru, the history undergraduate at the National University of Singapore developed a keen interest in community heritage from a young age.

23. Please state if your organization or group has a Strategic Plan that can help us further understand your proposal. You can also upload it here.  


Learning, Sharing, and Evaluation[edit]

24. What do you hope to learn from this proposal?

We wish to create a scalable model and approach to creating a community archives based on Wikidata and Wikibase - one where residents and researchers can access archival information on our communities freely and easily. Using Queenstown, Singapore's first neighbourhood as a prototype, we hope to expand the work to other towns in the future. Depending on complexity and scale, we may appeal for sustained funding to support this endeavour.

Core Metrics[edit]

25. Enter a description of the metric and a number in the target field. If the metric does not apply to you, enter N/A for not applicable.

Core Metrics Summary
Core metrics Description Target
Number of participants Number of residents, enthusiasts and others who participate in our events or outreach programmes = 200 200
Number of editors My Community aims to train at least 50 volunteers to maintain our instance and use Wikimedia Commons and Wikisource. 50
Number of organizers The 5 organisers comprises 1 community organiser, 1 professional archivist and 3 volunteer ICs from the archival team. 5
Number of new content contributions per Wikimedia project
Wikimedia Project Description Target
Wikimedia Commons Number of Wikimedia Commons Entries = 100 100
Wikidata Number of Wikidata entries 1000
Wikidata Increase visibility of our Community Archives through one press conference, >10 guide tours and one seminar, proposed to be held during Wikimania in August 2023 N/A

25a. If for some reason your proposal will not measure these core metrics please provide an explanation. (optional)


26. What other information will you be collecting to learn about the impact of your work? (optional)

At the end of the project, we will be conducting a survey from our participants and volunteers to understand the impact of our project. This feedback helps us to understand the broader qualitative outcomes of the impact of participation in community archives in:

(1) Understanding their neighbourhood better (2) Sense of attachment or belonging towards their neighbourhood (3) Making new friends with fellow neighbours or volunteers (4) Learn a new skill (i.e. in creating digital archives, using Wikidata, befriending elderly, etc)

27. What tools would you use to measure each metric selected?

For the metrics listed on 25., we will use Events Metrics, Programmes & Events Dashboard from our event management website (Eventbrite).

For the additional information collected on 26., a survey or/and focus group discussion with the volunteers and participants will be held.

28. How do you hope to share these results so that others can learn from them?

Participate in one on one peer sharing session with other grantees, Create a training workshop to show others what we learned, Share results with our communities

Financial Proposal[edit]

29. What is the amount you are requesting from WMF? Please provide this amount in your local currency.

231081.64 SGD

30. What is this amount in US Currency (to the best of your knowledge)?

171067.43 USD

31. & 32. Please provide a budget for the amount of funding requested.

Year 1 = S$142,073.32 (US$105,175.46)

Year 2 = S$89,108.32 (US$65,966)

We have requested for funding to set up a digital community archives website, hire a community archivist to establish the archives and link up with the Wikimedia community, as well as storage space for the physical archive. Other expenses include publicity and outreach material for the workshops, press conference and events.

The difference between the budget for Year 1 and Year 2 lies mainly in the cost of setting up the website which is based on Wikibase.

33. What do you do to make sure there is a good management of funds?

My Community's main sources of income stem from donations, grants and programme receipts. In order to guarantee the tenability of the organisation, My Community's financial policies are guided by the three fundamental principles of sustainability, transparency and scalability.

My Community's activities are financially sustainable. Many of our programmes such as our cultural mapping efforts and community tours generate sufficient income to cover our operational costs. In addition, we adopt a policy of transparency by publishing our audited financial statements on our website. A copy of our audited financial statements can be obtained from our registered office. Lastly, we reduce costs by achieving scalability across our programmes. For instance, we practise buying in bulk for expendables such as batteries and earpieces. These prudent practices enable us to attain economies of scale and reduce our average expenditure.

Please refer to our annual reports for more information.

34. How will you contribute towards creating a supportive environment for participants using the UCOC and Friendly Space Policy?

Our work is guided by 5 values:

(1) Passion: We strongly believe that enthusiasm and excitement are the cornerstone of our work. We are committed to the community we serve and the work we do. (2) Inclusivity: We work with all volunteers regardless of race, age, culture, gender identity and religious affiliation. We do not tolerate any form of bullying and harassment within the organisation. (3) Community-centrism My Community adopts a collaborative and community-centred approach to the work we do. We are people-centric team players. (4) Accessibility We are committed to ensuring that community heritage is accessible to all. This means ensuring that our museum spaces, activities and events are open to one and all at no cost where possible. (5) Sustainability We ensure our programmes are sustainable by focusing on people and planning for the long term. This means that we strive to form and maintain good relationships with the community, volunteers, donors and our community partners.

35. Please use this optional space to upload any documents that you feel are important for further understanding your proposal.

Other public document(s):

Final message[edit]

By submitting your proposal/funding request you agree that you are in agreement with the Application Privacy Statement, WMF Friendly Space Policy and the Universal Code of Conduct.

36. We/I have read the Application Privacy Statement, WMF Friendly Space Policy and Universal Code of Conduct.